It’s fine to make fun of vegetables if you’re a child, a teenager, or a group of adults who run a food website. It is not okay to make fun of vegetables if you’re a multibillion-dollar food conglomerate trying to sell bowlfuls of cheese to children, but that’s exactly what Kraft Heinz has been doing with some of its recent advertisements. And unfortunately for Kraft, the Center for Science in the Public Interest with BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU, for short) remains ever vigilant, like an army of Broccoli Batmen, ready to defend our children from anti-veggie messaging such as this:
According to a formal complaint filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and CARU, Kraft Heinz ran this and similar ads during children’s programming on Disney XD, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network in 2019, thus violating the strict advertising standards set forth by the industry-funded self-regulatory group. According to those standards, telling kids that healthy foods suck is a big no-no.
Kraft Heinz has been using more than macaroni and cheese to slander healthy food; an ad campaign for its Ore-Ida brand was built around the concept of using French fries to bribe kids to eat healthy foods (a carrot is rewarded with one fry, mushrooms get three, etc.), and a print ad for Kraft shredded cheese told consumers to make broccoli taste “less broccoli-ey” by covering it with copious amounts of melted cheese.
The organization contacted Kraft Heinz about these offensive campaigns last November; the company responded that it found nothing wrong with them, and since the campaigns are due to end in the second half of 2021, everyone can just wait it out.