Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Greenwashing Moms

Apparently Chef Boyardee and its parent company, ConAgra, think I’m not too savvy. After, all I’m a mom. And I want my kids to eat healthy, meaning I prefer to feed them whole grains and vegetables. So, as a healthy-minded mom, I will easily be persuaded by Norman Rockwell-esque ads showing illustrated children hugging wheat or broccoli, revealing how much my children will love their whole grains, a la Chef Boyardee’s Whole Grain Beefaroni.

And because I’m a mom, I clearly do not understand the nutritional value of whole grains that have been stripped and processed into a food-like product, combined with numerous unidentifiable preservatives and flavorings, and packed into a BPA-lined can, which I can quickly irradiate in my microwave and serve to my hungry children. Then, I can feel proud that I am a good mom, feeding my kids real, wholesome food. Clearly, they don’t know me. Or thousands of other healthy, holistic-minded moms who actually know a thing or two about food. Real food. Whole grains that are not processed in a factory and rendered into unidentifiable food-like substances. Moms who know that real vegetables grow from the ground. And – gasp – moms who understand toxins like BPA and the pesticides used to produce the wheat and vegetables we are likely to find in something as endearing as a Rockwellian Beefaroni.

And to further endear me to their company and products, they’ll soon have an online “community” where I can chat and share advice with other “mums”. Certain to be ensconced in Chef Boyardee ads, no less. Sadly, they won’t be the first corporation to create or buy out a “green”, “eco” or “natural” moms club. That seems to be the trend right now – create a meeting place (online and/or in person) for moms who want to live green and build focus groups to test your products, hand out samples, and push your products. Forget support and building relationships. Forget about real, face-to-face community. Let’s get product out there and sell, using moms to test and sample under the guise of friendship and support. Push “natural” and “green” products or not so much.

Fortunately, I know a few thousand moms who are pretty darn smart. We’re not buying “wholesome” from Chef Boyardee. We’re not buying “eco” sales strategies targeting moms. We want to find credible, authentic people and companies who are passionate about truly natural products. Companies and people who understand sustainability and practice it. We want to gather with moms and learn about great products – not straight from people who are protecting their bottom line, but from people who have used them and adore them. We want to buy from people who “get it” and who share our passion for health and sustainability. We may not have degrees in nutrition (although some of us hold them), but we are resourceful and smart. We’re holistic moms. And we’re not buying any of it.


  1. absolutely. nutritionism strikes again. *shakes fist in the air!*

  2. YES!!!! I saw an ad for the whole grain beefaroni in a magazine last night and was AGHAST! So happy to have the HMN to remind me I'm not alone!!

  3. Just when I think that they aren't fooling anyone, I meet people that totally buy into it. I understand that ConAgra is a business just as local farms are businesses but I would appreciate some honesty. They would do better to work on delivering on promises rather than coming up with new ways to dupe customers.

  4. I agree - it is frustrating when you see people who are buying into it. and many are.

    Integrity and truth in advertising just don't exist in corporate America.

  5. As parents we all want our children to eat healthy and live happy. Therefore its easy to get attracted by products like these. But as parents and specially a mother, it your duty to check these products before buying them ie. you want too see their certifications whether its and ISO certified or not.
    Also food and beverages packed in to BPA cans are highly toxic so do not buy them
    Green washing


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