Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm Not Playing the Box Top Game

Photo Courtesy of Simply Organized Blog
I'm sorry, I don't like Box Tops!  There, I said it and there's no going back now.

For those of you who might not have kids or who don't work in education, Box Tops are a program where you buy certain products which have the logo on the right, clip the top of the box, deliver them to your child's school and the school then receives money from the Box Top for Education organization.  From the Box Top for Education website, "Box Tops has helped America's schools earn over $475 million since 1996."  With school funding always an issue, especially here in California, it's great that there is a way for schools to have access to extra funds to provide quality education.

So if it's such a great way to help fund my local school, why should I hate Box Tops?  The answer is simple.  MOST (not all) of the products with the Box Tops logo are (how can I say this nicely) nutritionally challenged.

You can see the whole list of participating products here.  If you look at the list you quickly notice that there are some big name brands that participate.  Betty Crocker, Bisquick, Cheerios, Chex, Pillsbury, Kix, Fiber One and Yoplait to name just a few.  If you dig a little, you'll find that all of these products are owned by (drum roll please), General Mills. Interesting, right?  Can you guess which company started the Box Tops For Education program?  That's right: General Mills.  According to their site, Box Tops for Education was launched in 1996 in California on cereals like Cheerios, Total and Lucky Charms. 

What's wrong with General Mills being brilliantly smart by creating a program to boost sales and also help fund struggling schools?  Absolutely nothing except that their slogan which they proudly display is :

Photo Courtesy of Box Top for Education
How can you "nourish young lives" when the majority of the food you are feeding them is full of added sugars, artificial colorings and trans fat?  We hear a lot about how marketing to kids affects intake, but this program is genius because the schools do all the marketing to the kids and partents.  Kids come home excited to find Box Tops and compete to bring in the most in their class.  Parents feel good because they are helping their child's school and General Mills laughs all the way to the bank.  But General Mills simply can not "nourish young lives" when the food they are supplying is hindering our children.

There is some good news. 1) There are some healthier products that have Box Tops like Cascadian Farms cereals, Green Giant produce and frozen vegetables and Larabar Multipacks.  2) Box Tops are available for a variety of non-food items like Avery labels, Ziploc bags and Brita waterfilters.

Where does that leave me as a parent whose children are now Box Top crazy?  If it comes down to just money, I'll be happy to donate a few extra bucks to help fund my children's education.  Let's say hypothetically, my kids bring 10 box tops a week.  That's $0.10 per top for a total of $1.00.  If you subtract about 12 weeks for summer and vacations, that's about 40 weeks.  At $1.00 per week for 40 weeks is a grand total contribution of $40.  I can handle that!

As always I welcome your comments.

1 comment:

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