Pepsi, Coca-Cola Criticized For Supporting Health Organizations In US
They may be able to call upon pop icons such as Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry to promote their products, but Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been criticized for offering support to health organizations, according to a report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
According to the study by Boston University, the two beverage firms supported a total of 96 national health organizations in the US between 2011 and 2015, in a move that the Journal states is not that dissimilar to the approach taken by tobacco companies in years past.
These organizations included Feeding America, the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association and many others.
'These soda companies use relationships with health organizations to develop positive associations for their brand, which is important for their bottom line', the report reads. 'Rather than supporting public health, organizations may become unwitting partners that contribute to corporate marketing strategy.'
It recommends that health organizations 'reject' sponsorship offers from soda firms going forward, stating that those that accept funding 'generate a conflict of interest, which introduces a subconscious bias in favor of the donor company. Lessons can be learned from the history of tobacco companies, which have long given money to sympathetic organizations that deal with domestic abuse, hunger, and minority advancement. Now, most organizations refuse tobacco money. Perhaps soda companies should be treated similarly'.
In response, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association told Bloomberg that the ties with said organizations have been in place for some time, and are part of a long-lasting support by the industry.
“We believe our actions in communities and the marketplace are contributing to addressing the complex challenge of obesity," he said.
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