Quaker Chewy Takes a Dig at Kids With Food Allergies

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BuzzFeed, popular e-pub known for cat GIFs and a million lists, published a post written by “brand publisher” Quaker Chewy, and the opening lines are not kind to the food allergy community.

The title: 50 Thoughts Every Mom Has at Snack Time. Brand messaging? “Snack time doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right ingredients, it can be fun and laid-back — just like Quaker Chewy® Caramel Apple Granola Bars.”

And then it begins:

“The kids will be home soon, and they’ll be hungry.
Are they bringing that friend with all of those allergies?
I really hope not. I mean, I like her, but come on.”

LOL Quaker Chewy. God, food-allergic children are such a nuisance, right? So stupid that these special snowflakes make everyone accommodate them. Ugh.

Quaker Chewy Takes a Dig at Kids With Food Allergies

It’s just a joke, right? Sure, but try this out. Re-read that string of sentences, but replace “food-allergic” with any other medical issue. Kids with autism, kids with hearing impairments, kids in wheelchairs, kids with cerebral palsy, kids with learning difficulties.

Who would ever let that fly? What director of a snack brand whose target demographic includes moms would green-light such a statement? None of them.

Quaker Chewy’s sending an irresponsible, insensitive message. As we approach 2015, I personally am hoping for greater awareness and empathy for the food allergy community. Also shouting out friends, teachers, and coaches of families with food allergies. Thanks for making our kids feel welcome. Thanks for committing to their inclusion. We appreciate it!

Quaker, if y’all need a crash course in food-allergy education or sensitivity or – IDK – effective marketing, call me.

Update: The “food allergy” portion has been omitted from the article on BuzzFeed and Quaker has taken down the post on Facebook. No statement given.

Update #2: Quaker has issued the following apology on Facebook:

We sincerely apologize for the language in a recent sponsored article that appeared on a partner site. While the tone was meant to be playful, we realize it instead came across as insensitive. Food allergies are a serious issue and we did not mean to make light of them. We respect families who manage them on a daily basis and carefully label our products with allergen statements as a result. We’ll do better next time!

Roo Ciambriello

If Scratch or Sniff founder/editor Roo Ciambriello could list all of her favorite things, they'd include her sweet little family, food trucks, and every AMA Snoop Dogg has done on Reddit. Roo is a copywriter out of New Haven, Connecticut, and loves writing fun stories on the backs of potato chip bags and cereal boxes in Whole Foods, Target, Nordstrom, Kroger, y mucho mas. Roo creates voices for brands, ghostwrites for celebrities, writes a personal website, and is (much to the chagrin of those around her) pretty active on Twitter. You can also find her providing commentary on advertising/branding at Adweek and eating fajitas on deadline days.

18 Comments to Quaker Chewy Takes a Dig at Kids With Food Allergies

  1. Erica

    Thank you for writing this! I still can’t believe Quaker hasn’t apologized….guess they really don’t care about their customers.

    • Roo Ciambriello

      Yea, I find it interesting that they’re continuing to post on social without addressing it.

    • Erica

      They finally apologized this morning. I still think we need to keep the pressure up! Make a donation, educate your people, something.

  2. What is most ridiculous is that if you look at the nutrion info for the product they promote in their plug –

    CONTAINS WHEAT, MILK AND SOY INGREDIENTS.
    MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUTS AND TREE NUTS.

    So the snack will in no way simplify your life if you are having kids over who have allergies. If anything, you’ve got a trip to the ER in your future.

    • Roo Ciambriello

      Right, my kids can’t eat them, either. I applaud them for clearly labeling, and I won’t criticize any brand for what ingredients it uses since allergens are so widespread and not limited to just a few ingredients, but even just from a marketing standpoint, it doesn’t make a ton of sense.

  3. Kelley

    Seriously Quaker, I haven’t bought you since diagnoses and even if he outgrows his allergy, which is a disability, I will never buy anything from you AGAIN!!

  4. There are just no words for what Quaker has written. It’s beyond sick. I’ll be adding them to my list of companies to NOT buy from.

  5. Sandy Graham

    Your article about kids with allergies is ignorant and heartless!! Shame on you for not thinking about the million of children and their families who are battling life threatening allergies caused by food! People die from these allergies and you make it sound like it is a bother and a chore to have to associate with them. I always respected Quaker and used your products….. no more! You need to do some research and then apologise to the many people you have hurt by your tactless, stupid article.

    Sandra

  6. Logan Miano

    Nicely done leaving out the last line of the paragraph:

    “You know what? I’m gonna go on the internet and find something unique to make.”

    That’s some excellent editing on your part.

    Let’s put the whole thing together now!

    “The kids will be home soon, and they’ll be hungry.
    Are they bringing that friend with all of those allergies?
    I really hope not. I mean, I like her, but come on.
    You know what? I’m gonna go on the internet and find something unique to make.”

    My kids have friends that have allergies and yes…I do feel this way sometimes. There’s no malice behind it, it’s simply something else that I have to take into consideration that we normally do NOT have to deal with. I admit that the paragraph is worded poorly but there certainly wasn’t any malice behind it.

    Selective editing for an agenda. Nicely done.

    • Roo Ciambriello

      The post is a list of 50 thoughts; do you want me to copy + paste every single one of them? The “you know what” line is completely irrelevant to the previous three. I wasn’t removing anything out of context; I linked to the entire post. This is standard operating procedure for any website quoting another website.

      Do I think Quaker Chewy has an agenda against the food allergy community? That the person who wrote the article is being malicious? No and no.

      But irresponsible? Insensitive? Thoughtless? Yeah. All of those.

  7. Ashley Pullen

    They just happened to remove the line about food allergies from this..
    My 5 months old is allergic to dairy and soy. This food allergy world is all new territory to me. I am breastfeeding, so I have had to totally alter my diet. I realize that most children do grow out of a diary allergy by the time that they turn 5. But, that is MOST. She may not.. just the thought that someone would think of her as a nuisance makes my head want to explode. I have always tried to take others’ allergies into consideration; even before becoming a food allergy mom… Ugh.

    • Ashley Pullen

      **month old.. I have a 5 month old.. I also don’t get a lot of sleep. ;)

  8. That’s crazy! Very glad they apologized (finally), but how could they write something like that in the first place??? Excellent point about how they never would have made a reference about a child in a wheelchair, child with autism, etc.

  9. Suzanne

    I’m really concerned. I only remember allergies to pollen, etc… when I was growing up. I don’t remember even one of my friends being allergic to a food item. Don’t you think we should start finding the cause of the allergies & focus on that instead of complaining about not finding foods without the allergen? Is the food processing causing it? Is it additives to the crops? I worry about the future children & what their health will be.

    • Anne

      What’s tricky about food allergies, is figuring out what’s causing them. The number of kids with food allergies has skyrocketed since the late 80’s. They’re still trying to figure out why all these kids are developing food allergies, and some of them are just completely weird. I’m 18, and when I was a baby, it was just peanuts and tree nuts I was allergic to. Now, I’ve tested positive for corn, celery, tomatoes, beef… Yeah, beef. Isn’t that odd? Nobody knows what’s causing these for sure, but some think GMO’s might be involved, some people have suggested certain vaccines.

      Now that I’m 18 and I can do legal stuff, I’ve tried my best to help kids who are younger than me who suffer from food allergies.
      I vote, I donate to FARE and other food allergy research organizations, etc. I need to make every day living easier for kids like me until scientists can figure out what’s causing the food allergies in the first place, and figure out how to help get rid of them (if that’s even possible.)

  10. Melissa Bingman

    Really Quaker? You don’t think that I don’t realize that my kid is different? Do you think that it doesn’t break my heart that my sweet little boy is too easily known to you as “that kid”. “That kid”s name is Aiden, he’s going to be three in February and he has the perfect shade of red hair that could melt anyone’s heart. He has a “food allergy” to peanuts, which means that without his epipen injection just the smallest amount of peanut protein will without a doubt kill my baby. I worry about every celebration, every birthday party, every get together “this could be the time that somehow he gets a hold of something contaminated with peanut”. Even products made in a facility that processes nuts are off limits, just inhaling peanut dust could set off the anaphylaxis. I read every label of every product of every item that will ever enter my home or go near my child on a daily basis! Talk about exhausting and stressful, but hey, your too worried about if my child will be the one your kid brings over today. Man you got me there, must be tough putting up with my child for a few hours with his inconvenient food allergy. I wouldn’t want my child around someone as insensitive as you anyway, so no, my child won’t be coming home with yours any time soon.

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