Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Canadian Cancer Society Wants You To Drink Sugar And Eat At Chipotle

A few years ago I pointed out the hypocrisy of the Canadian Cancer Society encouraging people to eat Domino's pizza in the name of fundraising.

I noted that sure, fast food pizza here and there isn't going to kill you or give you cancer, but that there's little doubt that one of the major drivers of our society's struggles with diet and weight related illnesses is the normalization of fast and junky foods as regular, everyday parts of our lives.

My belief is that this normalized culture of convenience is in part encouraged by the cause-washed use of candy and junk food for fundraising - a practice which may have been inconsequential (and rare) 60 years ago, but superimposed on our health issues today, is just plain wrong (and constant). And it's especially wrong when adopted by health organizations whose cause, like that of the the Canadian Cancer Society, is itself impacted by low quality diets.

So this year's Canadian Cancer Society junk food partners are Chipotle, PepsiCo, and the Dole Food Company.

The Canadian Cancer Society's partnership with Chipotle sees them encouraging a trip to the giant fast food burrito maker in the name of 50% of a single day's sales, while their partnership with PepsiCo and Dole come from one of their flagship events - the Run For The Cure - where PepsiCo and Dole serve as the Run's, "National Official Suppliers". As such, at the finish line of the short 5km fundraising run (which of course isn't of a distance long enough to worry about any fuel or hydration needs), PepsiCo and Dole will be there to market hand out the beverages that the Run For The Cure website notes provide participants, year after year, with "delicious refreshment".

Of course they'll also provide participants with piles of sugar given that Dole Sparklers, a "real fruit beverage", pack 4 teaspoons of free sugar per can, while Real Tea's offerings can pack up to a whopping 12 per bottle depending on flavour.

It's a good thing then I guess that the Run For The Cure is on October 1st rather than September 30th given that in September the Canadian Cancer Society's fundraising effort is a much more appropriate Sugar Free September initiative

And as the Canadian Cancer Society is explicitly aware, fruit drinks and sweetened tea, are common sources of free and added sugars in our diets.

One of the other reasons why these partnerships are so unwise is the way they're utilized by the junk food partner. For instance Dole's gone ahead and leveraged their partnership for in store sales of their sugar water by using it to cause-wash their products directly.

Given that the last time around the Canadian Cancer Society reported they were incredibly proud of their partnership with Dominos, I imagine this time will be no different.

Not sure pride is the emotion I'd recommend when reflecting on their comfort with junk food fundraising.