In her latest op-ed for Beyond Chron, school food advocate Dana Woldow explains how Big Food sponsorship has tainted the School Nutrition Association (SNA), much like how it has infiltrated the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and denigrated its reputation in the process).
- “It would be comforting to think that SNA members are making those decisions based on what is most nutritious and healthy for growing kids, but unfortunately they are just as likely to be influenced by the recommendations of Big Food companies peddling processed crap.”
- “How did the food industry get such a grip on the agenda of the School Nutrition Association? In a word: sponsorship.”
- Sponsorship opportunities at the School Nutrition Industry Conference (at prices ranging from $2,500-$6,000 a pop) include the right to “offer product samples and place one giveaway on every seat in the room” at conference sessions; “your targeted marketing message to all attendees” printed on hotel key cards for the conference; “the right to provide product for all breaks throughout the conference”; and “the opportunity to drop a gift or collateral piece in the rooms of all school nutrition operator attendees”, in addition to various breakfast and lunch sponsorship opportunities.”
- “How could SNA replace that funding stream? Health advocate Nancy Huehnergarth offers a variety of options, explaining that more than one would likely be needed. “Charge a bit more in membership dues, draft a new sponsorship policy that allows only non food and drink industry sponsorships, increase the cost of conference admission, hold fewer national conferences (right now there are four every year) and approach foundations working in food reform for dollars that can be used to pay for Food Service Director training and technical assistance or other SNA expenses.”