It’s that time of year for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics membership renewals.
Strangely — and very tellingly — a “member benefits” brochure (included in the many documents the Academy sent out in its renewal materials) lists corporate sponsorship as a benefit:
“Through structured, Academy-directed relationships, the objectives of the Academy’s corporate sponsorship program are to work with industry to build awareness of the Academy and its members; to share science-based information, new research and industry trends in food and nutrition with members; and to enable the Academy to reach millions of consumers with healthy eating messages.”
It appears the Academy has drawn a line in the sand and made it clear it firmly stands with industry.
So, this is where we stand at the moment:
1) The incoming chair of the Academy Foundation is the current president of the National Dairy Council (NOTE: our belief is that Foundation leaders should not have ties to any food company or trade group, whether it’s dairy, walnuts, or PepsiCo);
2) The Academy considers corporate sponsorship a “member benefit”;
3) The sponsorship “fact sheet” the Academy drafted for the upcoming House of Delegates meeting is in full support of corporate sponsorship and does not acknowledge any concerns or possible pitfalls.
The dialogue on corporate sponsorship, at least from the Academy’s side, is stacked in favor of industry. Sad.