Corporations spend hundreds of millions each year trying to shape the narrative about food. When we expose their spin, we reclaim our food—and our stories.
Chemical giants Monsanto and DowDuPont are among the industry players behind the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Big Food honchos Kraft and Hershey and Big Soda behemoth Coca-Cola back the International Food and Information Council. These are just two examples of food industry “front groups,” organizations that are presented as if they work in the public interest, but are actually just marketing arms of industry.
Every year, the food industry-spanning agribusiness, food and beverage companies, chemical conglomerates and more-spends hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing. This includes stealth tactics like funding front groups like these or “astroturf” campaigns that pose as grassroots or community-based initiatives as well as pouring resources into industry trade groups that lobby on their behalf.
This is spin. And we think it’s just as important to be savvy about the story of our food as it is to be smart about the story that corporations tell us about food: Who is influencing what we hear about food, what’s supposed to be good for us, what we should grow, and how we should grow it?
In our work on corporate spin, we investigate and expose the multi-million dollar spin machine that is trying to craft a collective narrative about food—a narrative that in turn shapes the political landscape and consumer demand while attacking and discrediting proponents of healthy food, corporate regulation, and sustainable food and farming.
Corporations are masterful storytellers, especially targeting youth and communities of color with their marketing campaigns. They use celebrity spokespersons, fund community charities, and pay scientists to produce research that supports their claims. But while corporations use stories to manipulate us and expand their market share, we believe our communities have even more powerful stories to tell. It’s by exposing spin and sharing our own diverse and authentic stories that we can build a movement to take down even the most well-funded corporate juggernauts.