Bittersweet Taste of Sugar

Since it’s that time of year again where kids fill their stomachs with Kit Kats, Sour Patch Kids and other sugary fun-size treats, John Oliver decided to dedicate a portion of his show to sugar. Specifically, he discussed how Americans are consuming way more sugar than they ought each year. And the fault doesn’t lie chiefly with Americans and what foods they decide to consume, as Slate notes. It lies in the fact that there is sugar in nearly everything. Americans can’t seem to escape sugar even if they want to.

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Watch John Oliver’s full attack on sugar here.

What made John Oliver’s sugar shout out so interesting, though, is that near the end of the video, he launches the campaign #Showusyourpeanuts. This is in reference to earlier statements he made in the segment about how food manufactures have requested the FDA require that, if they have to express the amount of added sugars in their products on their labels, that these added sugars be expressed in terms of grams instead of teaspoons (a sly way to confuse consumers). Seeing this deception, Oliver went one ridiculous step further by suggesting that food manufactures might as well count the amount of added sugar in their products in terms of circus peanuts.

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The campaign has gained quite a bit of traction. Consumers are still tweeting at food manufactures #Showusyourpeanuts today, as Business 2 Community reported. Considering, though, that the campaign was probably a ploy for laughs (the name just so happens to sound like another, more vulgar phrase) and is a campaign that is not maintained, one can imagine that it might not gain the attention that it could.


As you can see in the Tweet below, food manufactures haven’t taken on the #Showusyourpeanuts challenge or even addressed the problem with added sugar. It seems they’re going to take a “hopefully this will blow over” approach.

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As aspiring PR professionals, we’ve been taught how it’s important to maintain transparency. So it’s embarrassing to see that food processors can’t seem to get on board with this important principle. It begs one to wonder what these companies’ PR teams are doing and why.

Oliver’s campaign certainly is unique but will anything come of it? Is the problem with the sugar and food manufactures something that can even be solved with a Twitter campaign?

For another perspective, what would you do if you were in the shoes of the food manufacturers right now? Would you #Showusyourpeanuts?

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