Double Dare

Recently, KFC announced that they’re going to donate a bunch of “unneeded” rolls and funds to food banks across the U.S. These rolls are surplus because their new sandwich, the Double Down, substitutes chicken for bread.

Now this is just silly. There’s no surplus of rolls. The company has known it would be introducing this sandwich for months. It’s a publicity play, and an effective one (I’m writing about it). But let’s not pretend there’s any pile of rolls somewhere on the Colonel’s mansion.

What does exist is a glut of baked goods every day throughout our food chain. This means the last thing food banks need are buns or rolls. 

I know that KFC’s parent company, YUM Brands, is pretty good about donating. But the question is–what are they donating here?

A food bank employee named Jon nailed it with his comment on Food Politics. In his words:

Double sigh from me. I work at a food bank (such is the sleeping with the enemy relationship between hunger relief organizations, agri-business, and restaurant/food providers that I won’t name the food bank and I’ll go even further and state that the opinions I express are my own and not those of my employer). The last thing we (or most food banks) need is more highly perishable, over processed bread product. In most areas bread product (of this sort at least – which should be categorize as a ’sweet”) is generally abundant as every local grocery store and bakery looks to unload the days unsold product on someone. Now, if we’re talking about bread products low in sugar and high in whole grains . . . that is a different story. The point is that this is just the latest in a long line of marketing driven, as opposed to need driven, donations by YUM Brands and their brethren that could easily fall under the category of “when helping hurts.”

To be fair, I noticed that the press release says that they will donate both “buns and funds” (there is a good rap song in there somewhere . . .) and I assume the bulk of the donations to food banks will be funds with the buns showing up in quantities sufficient enough for a good photo op and another press release.

One solution here is to have food banks and relief agencies not rely on handouts from fast food operators. Instead, they can grown their own food or help communities do so, like my homies at the Inter-Faith Shuttle.

Back to KFC, I’m a bit skeptical that they’ll actually follow through on this announcement. Yes, that it was more a publicity seeker (mission accomplished, I guess) than a true statement.

That the chicken slinger is merely announcing intentions to do something and that said announcement coincides with the launch of their new “sandwich” makes me question whether they will follow through. I dare you to prove me wrong, Colonel! (And I hope you do–with something nutritious.)

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