Remember the days when you were able to indulge in your favorite fast food items without inciting the ire of political and special interest groups? Well, those days are clearly over.
Chick-fil-A, the popular southern-based fast-food chain, has been the focus of media frenzy over donations made by the company’s CEO to political action groups that favor discrimination and intolerance towards gay and lesbian couples. Several mayors of major cities have voiced their public displeasure, including Rahm Emanuel of Chicago who said the company’s values were not consistent with “Chicago values,” and Boston’s Thomas Menino who said franchises are not welcome in his city.
As was to be expected, there was a backlash to these sentiments, which was led by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Last week, across the country legions of fans celebrated “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” which led to the company’s highest selling day in history. Hate is still big business in America.
But this is only the most recent event in a string of food politics.
“America’s Favorite Cookie” is also getting involved in taking a political and pop-culture stand. It began in June when the company introduced their famous cookie with rainbow colored frosting, a nod towards the gay pride flag. This led anti-gay consumers to shy away from purchasing Oreos. In response, pro-gay rights advocates flocked to the stores to make up for the loss in sales from Oreo’s usual customers.
The Nabisco-owned cookie maker has used their iconic cookies to celebrate many more events since, although few have received the same levels of press. Recently, on Monday, the company released a cookie with at red cream filling and rover tracks in commemoration of the rover “Curiosity” landing on Mars.
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Chick-fil-A may have had record one-day sales, but it remains to be seen how this political standing will affect sales in the mid and long term. Same goes for Oreos, which may have lost a segment of consumers. Pending results, we may see more foods announcing their stance on political topics or keeping their corporate mouths shut.
To follow the trend, use this list of parent companies of the brands mentioned, their competitors, and other brands that have been affected by political action lately (see: Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax) to start your research.
Interactive Chart: Use the Compar-O-Matic to compare analyst ratings for the stocks mentioned below:
1. Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures and markets packaged food products worldwide. Market cap at $71.98B, most recent closing price at $40.60. Kraft is the parent company of Nabisco which makes Oreos.
2. The Coca-Cola Company (KO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Distributes, and markets nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. Market cap at $181.52B, most recent closing price at $80.64. Coke could be adversely affected by Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign against sugared drinks.
3. Pepsico, Inc. (PEP, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures nutritional snack foods, as well as distributes frozen beverages to the food service and retail supermarket industries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Market cap at $1.09B, most recent closing price at $57.77. Pepsi could be adversely affected by Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign against sugared drinks.
4. J&J Snack Foods Corp. (JJSF, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures nutritional snack foods, as well as distributes frozen beverages to the food service and retail supermarket industries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Market cap at $1.09B, most recent closing price at $57.77. J&J is a competitor of Kraft.
5. General Mills, Inc. (GIS, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures and markets branded consumer foods worldwide. Market cap at $24.96B, most recent closing price at $38.49. General Mills is a competitor of Kraft.
Written by Dan Connelly
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