Cause Dissonance: KFC and Komen Buckets for the Cure
#1 Thing You Need to Learn from this Post:
The networked marketplace demands that your actions do more than your words when it comes to social issues.
A More Detailed Exploration:
This past week, KFC was in the news for two very different reasons. The more prominent story was the nationwide rollout of the KFC Double Down – a sandwich of gluttonous proportions. Two chicken breasts serve as the “bread” and have slices of cheese, special sauce, and bacon strips as the “meat” of the sandwich. According to KFC’s nutritional statistics, the grilled version packs in 460 Calories, 23 grams of fat, and 1430 mg of sodium and the fried version weighs in with 540 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 1380 mg of sodium.
If you were watching broadcast TV this week, you would have noticed KFC’s other national rollout: Buckets for the Cure. This ambitious partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure seeks to “make the largest single donation to end breast cancer forever” by donating $.50 for every pink bucket of chicken sold. While the website is impressive and puts the focus on the cause, it’s full of cause dissonance. That’s problematic as we become increasingly interconnected.
From the same web browser I viewed the campaign website, I did a few quick searches to learn more about the nutritional information of KFC buckets of chicken and the role of obesity in cancer.
Here’s what I learned from KFC.com (which currently features the Double Down wrapped in pink):
[Editor's Notes: Upon the request of KFC, I have calculated and included the nutritional facts for grilled chicken. According to KFC, the grilled version represents 25-30% of bone-in chicken sold in their stores. That means 70-75% of all pink buckets will likely be fried chicken. Since grilled represents a material percentage of the total sales, I agreed to add this information.]
- KFC lists its nutrition facts based on individual pieces of chicken, not the bucket.
- Buckets come in 8, 12, and 15 pieces. You can choose between original recipe, extra crispy, spicy, or grilled. And you can get wings, thighs, drumsticks, and breasts.
- Assuming you like original recipe and buy a standard 8 piece bucket for your pink bucket, you’ll bring home 1,600 calories and 90 grams of fat. If extra crispy is more your style, say hello to 2,380 calories and 160 grams of fat. Grilled will get you 980 calories and 46 grams of fat.
- If four people split the bucket, you’ll average 245 calories and 11.5 grams of fat (grilled), 400 calories and 22.5 grams of fat (original recipe), or 595 calories and 40 grams of fat (extra crispy).
- Calories from fat in the pink bucket is 41% (grilled), 49% (original recipe), and 60% (extra crispy).
Then I searched for daily nutrition guides and found this from the American Heart Association:
- Without any sides or beverages, two pieces of chicken total 14% (grilled) 22% (original) and 33% (extra crispy) of the recommended caloric intake for women age 31-50.
- For optimal health, total calories from fat should be 25-30% of your diet. Now compare that to the 41% (grilled), 49% (original recipe) and 60% that your pink bucket gives you.
According to Cancer.gov:
- “Nearly one-third of all adults are now classified as obese.”
- “The chief causes of obesity are a sedentary lifestyle and overconsumption of high-calorie food.”
- “20 percent of cancer deaths in women were due to overweight and obesity.”
- “Obese women are also at increased risk of dying from breast cancer after menopause compared with lean women.”
- “Weight gain during adulthood has been found to be the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk in studies in which it has been examined.”
- “Although being overweight seems protective in premenopausal women, weight gain should be avoided. Most breast cancers occur in postmenopausal women, and any weight you put on before menopause you will likely carry into your postmenopausal years. In two large studies, women were at increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer if they had gained 20 or more pounds after age 18.”
You Can Do Better than This
While many in the cause sector might focus their outrage or contempt on KFC for this, the same scrutiny needs to be put on Susan G. Komen for the Cure. How much is that $8.5 million worth to the cause, knowing the health damage these pink buckets will cause?
The same day I came across the Buckets for the Cure, I came across boxes of cookies at the grocery store that would trigger a $.25 contribution to the local Komen affiliate. My first thought: I’m sure they’d taste great with my pink bucket.
Editor’s Note: Thank you, Angela Weber, for pointing out a broken link and for sharing this resource about heart disease and addiction.)