What do corporations gain from virtue-signaling their support for Social Justice™ pet projects?
The Coca-Cola™ corporation makes sugar water with a splash of carcinogenic industrial food coloring to get the iconic caramel shading. What on Earth does it have to do with Social Justice™, and why does it send millions of dollars to activist groups?
Indeed, the neoliberal intersection of identity politics and multinational business is, on its face, perplexing. And it’s admittedly a complex phenomenon.
But arguably the most obvious reason: pure profit and market-cornering.
In the 2010s, the Coca-Cola corporation and competing soft drink manufacturers had a big problem. In New York and elsewhere, local governments were considering banning or limiting the sale of soda on public health grounds.
Some were even threatening to remove soda from the accepted foods available for purchase through SNAP programs (publicly funded food assistance, aka “food stamps”).
“SNAP households spend about 10 percent of food dollars on sugary drinks, which is about three times more than the amount they spend on milk. In New York City alone, as we’ve reported, this translates into more than $75 million in sugary drink purchases each year that are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers…
As Congress debates a new farm bill containing billions in SNAP funding, there’s an increasing appetite to overhaul the program while at the same time preserving the benefits it provides in keeping low-income Americans fed.”
Ten percent of the annual $182 billion SNAP budget is obviously a huge sum of money that Coca-Cola stood to lose.
Removing sodas from the list of acceptable purchases for food stamp holders might have been good for the peasants’ personal health. The proposed changes may have alleviated the public health burdens of obesity and heart disease and diabetes.
But it would have devastated Coke’s bottom line.
So, how best to protect their interests and keep SNAP people hooked on the bottle?
Why not dump some cash into race hustlers’ bank accounts and enlist them to smear their ideological opponents as racist? It works for aspirational politicians (like Kamala Harris) and Person of Color© collegiate athletes and virtually any protected identity in any other context, so why not for a giant corporation? And Coca-Cola™ certainly has the cash on hand to grease the wheels.
Coke gave millions to the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation – both directly and through front groups like the American Beverage Association.
— Calley Means (@calleymeans) January 2, 2023