Yesterday, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics president Dr. Evelyn Crayton announced newly revised sponsorship guidelines.
These guidelines were approved by the Board of Directors and encompasses some of the recommendations laid out in a report by AND’s Sponsorship Advisory Task Force (SATF; one DFPI co-founder, Matt Ruscigno, is a member).
The final guidelines are:
1. “The sponsor’s vision and mission align with the Academy’s Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals.”
2. “The sponsor’s product portfolio is broadly aligned with the Academy’s Vision: Optimizing health through food and nutrition.”
3. “The sponsor relationship and sponsor product portfolio are broadly aligned with official Academy positions.”
4. “All aspects of the sponsorship (such as research, consumer messaging or professional education for members) align with the Academy’s Scientific Integrity Principles.”
5. “The Academy does not endorse any company, brand or company products, nor does the Academy’s name or logo appear on any product. Such endorsement is neither actual nor implied.”
6. “The Academy maintains final editorial control and approval of all content in materials bearing the Academy name or logo.”
7. “There is clear separation of Academy messages and content from brand information or promotion.”
Our feedback and analysis:
- We perceived the creation of the SATF in 2014 as good news, since it demonstrated movement on the issue of sponsorship, which had largely gone untouched by AND leadership.
- Dialogue on this issue is always a welcomed effort. After the Kraft Singles debacle from last year, we are happy to see specific language about AND’s name or logo not appearing on any products.
- Some of these guidelines (i.e.: “the sponsor’s mission and vision align with AND’s”) already exist in the current policy — the same policy that considered PepsiCo (and former sponsors Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and General Mills) an appropriate sponsor.
- We would like more clarification on what “broad alignment” means, and how that is evaluated.
- These guidelines focus on product portfolios. We wonder if AND will — and strongly recommend that AND does — also evaluate corporate behavior, lobbying history, and media statements as a measure of whether a company is an appropriate sponsor.
- Are existing sponsors going to go through this review process? If so, how is PepsiCo an example of a company that “optimizes health through food and nutrition?”
Since our inception in February of 2013, we have always been open to ongoing dialogue with AND leadership on this issue, specifically around more explicit guidelines. Of course, our offer still stands.