got corporations? *UPDATED*

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve heard me talk about how I dislike and mistrust corporations. One day it will be abundantly clear why when I share more about my life, but for now you will just have to trust me: it is a strongly held opinion based on something that happened. Many of you have commented that not all corporations are bad and maybe I need to back off a little. Well, life went ahead and proved you right.

I went to BlogHer Food, which was made possible by contributions by corporations. At first I was a little uncomfortable about that relationship and I wondered privately if it was really on the “up and up” for me to attend. I decided to withhold judgment until I got to the conference. That proved to be wise of me.

Anyone at the conference could attend any session. So there were employees of sponsoring corporations and PR people attending different talks and a couple representatives sat in during our session on the Values track. The way that BlogHer manages the crowd is smart: people who are watching are able to comment while the chat is underway.

The very last person to make a comment was the representative from Nature’s Path Organic. She stated it exquisitely, “I’m mad! I’m mad that more people aren’t upset about school food! You know, I work for an organic company and even during a recession our sales are up. Why can’t more companies do the right thing for people?” I was stunned.
After the talk I found her to chat. It was refreshing to hear about Nature’s Path and to hear about all of the amazing things that they are doing for people (school gardens too!) while also putting out a fantastic product for adults and children.
She mentioned a further detail as it related to school lunch. She told me that she had met people in control of buying food for school breakfast programs (if you look at their product mix, it’s geared toward breakfast). I don’t remember if the people were part of a school food company or directly from a school district. Nature’s Path displayed their product selection and were endeavoring to get some of their heritage grains onto the lunch trays of students. Well, the buyer did agree to purchase something for their school breakfast program, but it wasn’t a cereal grain. The company or district purchased Nature’s Path’s wholegrain toaster pastry… The Nature’s Path representative told me that they were thrilled to get the sale of that product, but they felt some disappointment that their other products were passed on.
I don’t know about you, but if my school district bought heritage grains for breakfast and actively promoted the offering to the parents of the students, participation in the breakfast program would increase dramatically. In fact if my son was attending that school, I would send my child to school hungry and with money to buy breakfast and feel confident that he was getting a solid start in the morning. To me it seems short-sighted to choose only the toaster pastry. Certainly it could be a money issue, but if this company or school district is able to purchase the whole grain toaster pastry, they must have some money. Not to mention offering higher quality school food options would bring in extra dollars.
(On a side note, I think districts need to start sending out surveys to parents and finding out if they would be willing to pay for higher quality lunches and offer examples of the kind of food that could be available with a funding shot in the arm)
Anyway, I hit it off with the representative from Nature’s Path. She offered to give me a tour of their production facility if I ever visited their factories (in the Canada/Washington state area). I told her about our Twitter/Blog party in August and that #lunchrevolution became a trending topic on Twitter in Canada. Notes from a Cookie Jar and I want to do another Twitter/Blog party in January and it looks like Nature’s Path is in!
I feel great that corporations are out there who are doing right by people and it’s very encouraging that they can turn a profit too.
Another giveaway!
Towards the end of the conference I passed by Nature’s Path’s booth and they had some extra bags that they didn’t want to haul back with them. I took as many as I thought I could fit into my suitcase. I’m giving away SEVEN reusable grocery bags exactly like what you see above! To enter, please comment on this post.
Later at a BlogHer Food party, I got two very interesting kid-friendly samples from two other companies:
Full Bloom — Delicious snack for kids!

Dairy-free chocolate oat drink!
The company is so brand new that its website isn’t working yet!
*UPDATED: Here is a working website for the Oat Grow drink: http://www.livesimpli.com/
I also forgot to say that it was delicious!*
No samples to share with you of those products, but just knowing that they are out there is comforting. Developing connections with amazing companies doing good things made me feel better about corporations in general. It’s nice to feel inspired by organizations instead of feeling let down.
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67 Responses to got corporations? *UPDATED*

  1. K October 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Our school district offers free lunch to every student, funded by the federal government, even though our school has a very low free/reduced lunch population. It looks like a subsidy buffet; it's all carbs/fats/fatty protein, and I ask my kids to eat a healthy breakfast at home. If they offered an alternative from Nature's Path, that might become a "once-in-a-while" opportunity, because a toaster pastry is still a treat, not a breakfast.

  2. talkingtots October 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I LOVE reusable bags too! I am happy to hear about the Nature's Path representative. We love their products. I also wanted to tell you I love your blog. I started receiving your e-mails about a month ago and find it very interesting. I pack my child's lunch everyday. He doesn't want to eat at school because he says its gross which is fine with me! Thanks for all your great information

  3. Mrs. Q October 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Here's the website for the Oat Grow Drink. http://www.livesimpli.com/ — I just found it!

  4. Shelly October 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    It's good to hear that some companies do care and aren't just protecting their bottom line. Cheers to Nature's Path!!

  5. Jessica October 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    I really love Nature's Path too! And, I wish you would keep posting about your gluten-free adventures, because I'm starting to think I may be the same way after many, many years of major digestive issues. I LOVE that lunch bag! The colors & design are so cool!
    ms.johnsonmahs at gmail dot com

  6. fitforreallife.com October 24, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    The people who commented on the pizza day that you'd "strayed from your mission" – are completely uneducated about the necessary conversations that need to happen if we're going to get a healthier nation/healthier kids. Gluten intolerance is on the rise, most dairy is disgusting hormone-filled liquid & kids today are getting sicker b/c they are ingesting this stuff in HUGE quantities. Being gluten free myself (& writing a fitness blog including education/recipes about gluten free life)I learned to accept the fact that some people just won't "get" why talking about that stuff is so important. You just keep writing about what you want to write about. If you stifle the topics you truly are becoming interetsed/passionate about, you'll bore yourself to death w/ your writing. Stay strong Mrs. Q!! -Kate http://www.fitforreallife.com

  7. Michelle October 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    I have looked at Nature's Path products many times, like many other similar companies they are heavily using peanuts and tree nuts in their products. That means that even the products that don't contain peanuts / tree nuts have a cross contamination warning. One of my three kids has life threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, so we don't have anything in the house that she can't eat. I check labels every time I buy something, so she knows it's safe to eat the cereal bar in the cabinet and doesn't have to worry about reading the label or checking with me before she eats it. If I brought in one unsafe product, it would be a huge pain in the rear having to check the label ten times because we can't remember which bar is safe and which one isn't, not to mention the hazmat like operation involved in eating something unsafe anywhere near her. Not fun.

  8. june October 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Oh, am i too late for one of these darling bags? What a wonderful company! Why aren't there more like 'em:)
    Coastiejune@gmail.com

  9. projectanime October 25, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    It's sad to know that companies are trying to help put nutritious food into our schools and the schools themselves are the ones making the process difficult.

  10. Sarah G. October 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    oooooh I'd love to be entered in the drawing to win one of those bags! I practically live on Nature's Path mmmMaple Pecan bars!

    sarahlynne.glassman@gmail.com

  11. Shari October 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    would love to win a bag! our family likes Nature's Path granola bars and cereals. I just love going to our 'health' food store and browsing the aisles for new items to try. And my son will eat a salad at lunchtime. we make him a 'tiny' salad for his lunchbox and he gobbles it up. (2nd grader)

  12. Kim October 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Thanks for the Simpli Oatgrow link, Mrs. Q. I checked out their nutrition info and ingredient lists. Their drinks contain concerning amounts of sugar, at least double the amount in plain white cow's and goat's milk. Compared with unsweetened soy, rice, and almond milk, the ratio is even higher. This appears to be just another company marketing its sugary products as being good for kids. In this case, oats seem to be the magical word intended to lure parents in. I'm impressed that they're non-GMO oats but that doesn't cancel out the excessive sugar.

    Two of their ingredients that concern me are polydextrose and tricalcium phosphate. I just sent an email to them asking what they are. I'm wondering whether polydextrose is in any way similar to HFCS. We'll see what they say.

  13. Sharpiegirl October 25, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Who are these school representatives that are making the decision? I wish it was something we were informed about. WITHOUT having to become a detective. It should be listed right there in the information they send home each school year. Teacher's name…check. Principal's name…check Idiot that feeds our childen crap….CHECK! If we knew who was making that decision we could contact (bombard them) with letter writing and phone call campaigns to buy better quality food.
    I love your blog and I don't even have children. Oh wait. I have a 16 year old stepson that refuses to eat anything that is healthy or drink anything other than orange soda. I got to the game way too late to make any changes so I just make his father deal with it. I send him links to your blog ever so often and he'll cut back on the processed stuff but only for a few days. Then he caves because the prepackaged stuff is easier.
    That will all change when we have our own children. They want a snack. Grab an apple. If they want something to drink? Sure…make it anything BUT SODA. arrrggghhh.

  14. Stefanie October 26, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    I love your blog and I am a huge fan Nature's Path. I wish we could get such quality products on our SchoolFood procurement list in NYC. I work as a Chef in Residence for Wellness in the Schools and half the battle is the list of approved food items we can order!

    We must continue to push and get the word out about the crisis we are facing in our school cafeterias!

  15. Laura October 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    I agree w/ you about parents participation in the breakfast and lunch program. At MCCPS we open all of our meals to parents. They are welcomed to attend at any time. This way they can see what the kids are eating. I think it puts pressure on the lunch programs to serve better quality meals.

    As far as Natures Path, the squeeky wheel gets the oil. The more we know and hear about them the more peolple will pay attention and jump on board.

  16. Jacqueline October 27, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    The Oat Drink looks fantastic! I think my students would love to drink it!

  17. Rebecca October 27, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    I completely agree that more companies need to do the right thing by their customers and I am certainly glad to see that Nature's Path is doing just that.

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