January 19, 2011
While food riots have begun emerging across the globe as a result of surging food prices, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to funnel 12 million dollars into the popular pizza chain Domino’s Pizza, in what has become known as a secret government bailout. The bailout came from an organization known as Dairy Management, a marketing creation of the USDA. What was the result of the millions funneled into the troubled business? A large-scale marketing revolving around pizzas being made made with 40% more cheese, an attempt to re-design the Domino’s Pizza brand name in partnership with the United States government.
With food prices at an all time high, violent protests have arisen in parts of the Middle East and South Asia. In 2008, similar protests were held across the world in response to the high cost of basic living. The difference, however, is that food prices are even higher than they were in 2008. Graphs, provided by the Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations (FAO), show the spiking cost of food commodities. The food index count, which is an overall score reflecting the total price of the top 6 food commodities, rose to 215 in December of 2010 — up from 90 in the year 2000. Sugar spearheaded the spike, hitting only 2 points away from the 400 mark in December of 2010.
The reasons for the price explosion are many, however it is largely due to the fact that the commodities are priced in the failing dollar. A host of other issues also come into play such as faltering sugar supplies due to India’s refusal to export its surplus, China’s massive expansion, and overall food shortages. Whether artificial or real, food shortages have been playing an integral role in the civilian response worldwide. In Algeria, youth have been violently clashing with police over the cost of living, with other countries joining in on the chaos. Citizens of Tunisia held similar protests on January 8th to voice their opposition to the rising costs. In India, women struggled to purchase cheap onions being sold by a group demonstrating against the high cost of food.
In the midst of a global food pandemic, the government has decided to spend 12 million dollars on a marketing campaign for a pizza chain. Instead of devising a plan to raise more crops, of which the USDA would most certainly be responsible for, the USDA has decided to help add more processed cheese to pizza. Of course neither the government nor Domino’s Pizza has any problem with this, as their brand innovation vice president explained in an interview.
“This partnership is clearly working,” said Brandon Solano, Domino’s vice president for brand innovation.
Clearly the partnership is working well for Domino’s. Government funding is responsible for marketing their new super-cheese pizza, which is undoubtedly making them million in return. Even further, the company does not have to pay attention to the personal health risk that the cheese-loaded pizza poses. Ignoring the fact that the pizza most likely contains a host of processed ingredients & monosodium glutamate (MSG), cheese is the last thing that Americans need to consume more of. Cheese consumption in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 1970, contributing to an obese nation. The alliance between Domino’s Pizza and the USDA is clearly not beneficial to the world, and could not come at a worse time.
Clearly, the partnership is only working well for Domino’s.
This article was posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 5:17 am