One blogger has been making waves across the internet over the last few years when it comes to the food industry. Vani Hari – aka the Food Babe – has made it her mission to force big food companies to change their ways – and she’s succeeding.
While some have questioned her tactics for compelling change, it has nevertheless been effective. Over the last few years, Vani has gone head on with several large food corporations with the support of her “Food Babe Army” and driven real awareness and change.
Here are some of her most notable achievements to date:
Kraft Mac & Cheese
Food dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children as well as other behavioral disorders. Vani collected 380,000 signatures urging Kraft to remove these dyes from their Kraft Mac & Cheese, a staple in many kids’ diets. After receiving the petition, Kraft announced they would remove these artificial food dyes.
General Mills Cheerios
Another food item Vani went after was General Mills Cheerios, which are a first finger food for many children in this country. Unfortunately, Cheerios were made with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Over more than a one-year process, 25,000 members of the Food Baby Army emailed and called General Mills asking for GMOs to be removed from Cheerios. General Mills finally cracked in January 2014 and announced that GMO beet sugar was replaced with non-GMO cane in regular Cheerios.
You may remember this campaign where Vani pointed out that one of the ingredients in Subway’s bread is also a key chemical that is used in the production of yoga mats and shoe soles – azodicarbonamide. Since Subway was promoting its sandwiches as a fresh alternative to other fast food options, Vani believed the public needed to know the truth. After collecting more than 50,000 signatures in just 24 hours, Subway agreed to remove azodicarbonamide by April 2014.
Chick-fil-a listened to the Food Babe Army’s concerns about the quality of the food by inviting Vani to meet with them. They agreed to remove artificial corn syrup, artificial dyes and TBHQ from their menu items. They even announced their plans to use antibiotic free chickens within 5 years.
Vani discovered that Starbucks used Class IV caramel coloring, which contains 4-Mel, a chemical that’s classified as a possible human carcinogen by The National Toxicology Program, The International Agency for Research on Cancer, The Center of Science in Public Interest and The Consumers Union. When Vani published the full list of ingredients in Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, the story went viral with more than 10 million views in only a few days. The story got national attention, so Starbucks finally agreed to remove Caramel coloring from their drinks, but have not yet given a timeline.
In addition to these 5 victories, Vani and her Food Babe Army have also forced Chipotle, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors to disclose their ingredients. Her campaigns also led Whitewave to remove carrageenan from their products and Panera to remove all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives by 2016.
We’ll continue to see Vani go after big food companies to help drive more positive change in our food system. What company would you like to see the Food Babe investigate next?
Feature image courtesy of Ginny