The majority usually does, yet is appears as if only the minority actually does anything about it. Take the advocacy group, As You Sow, for example. Since early March, they have been on the receiving end of publicity in the food world as a result of their appeal to Dunkin’ Donuts concerning titanium dioxide. This is a whitening agent in the company’s powdered sugar that is sprinkled on various baked goods. Representatives from As You Sow took action against Dunkin’ Donuts usage of titanium dioxide because they feel as though it is a “nanomaterial” that is damaging to the health of humans who ingest it (Horovitz).
We see the back and forth that occurs between advocacy groups and major companies quite frequently. However, what I think makes this particular campaign stand out from others similar of its kind is that the announcement that Dunkin’ Donuts will remove titanium dioxide from future products was not made by the company itself. Instead, As You Sow released a comment about how Dunkin’ Donuts has complied with the objectives that the advocacy group had outlined. Do you think that Dunkin’ Donuts missed out on a publicity opportunity and a possible platform for health in not being the first to announce this news? Of course, the Dunkin’ Brands chief communications officer, Karen Raskopf, did mention the following (to USA Today) after the As You Sow announcement, stating: “The ingredient used in our powdered doughnuts does not meet the definition of ‘nanoparticle’ as outlined under FDA guidance. Nevertheless, we began testing alternative formulations for this product in 2014, and we are in the process of rolling out a solution to the system that does not contain titanium dioxide” (Horovitz).
Later on in the exchange between USA Today and Dunkin’ Donuts, Karen Raskopf went on to affirm that “Dunkin’ Brands understands that investors are increasingly interested in the sustainability of the companies in which they invest. As part of our ongoing stakeholder engagement process, we recognize the importance of engaging in productive, ongoing dialogues with our investors to understand and address their concerns, as appropriate” (Horovitz).
Do you believe that the only way for businesses and brands to survive the current of knowledge that is being driven in waves towards consumers and advocacy groups is to comply with them? How do you think that advertising and public statements will play a role in the level of leadership that these companies project in the future? Please let me know!
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Horovitz, Bruce. “Dunkin’ to stop using whitening agent.” USA Today Mar. 2015: Gannett Co. Incorporated, Web. 14 April 2015. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/03/06/dunkin-donuts-fast-food-restaurant-food-safety/24524875/>