December 22, 2003
More Meta than Extra, Curriculum-wise

Given the fact that I deny the fence, rather than just straddle it, it's predictable that I had mixed feelings about the Snapple - NYC Department of Education deal. It means more than 40 million dollars for New York's schools, which sure wasn't forthcoming from, say, the United States Federal Government. But what I actually liked about the deal was that the money had to be used for school athletic equipment, and that the drinks for sale were vitamin-enriched and with no sugars added. I actually like the idea that the easiest thing for high-school kids to drink is no-sugar vitamin drinks.

But all of that is negated in the way that real-world physics negate any ideology or theory. Because of course -- despite healthy revenues -- none of the subsidies have actually made their way to the schools. The fact that the schools were counting on the money is the insult. But the injuries are that, "... to replace that money, the girls' basketball team has been selling hot dogs... [and] the cheerleading squad has taken to selling brownies."

So now we're selling hot dogs to replace the lost revenue against vitamin drinks. Ubi dubium ibi libertas, but still, I'd sacrifice a little libertas for a little less dubium, where the school system is concerned.

Posted by kevin slavin at December 22, 2003 03:13 PM

Kevin's sense of nutrition could use a little recalibration. The last time I checked (and I write some of their ads) Snapple was full of sugar and low on vitamins. Not that I'm saying the fence exists, nor that the world makes any sense.

Posted by: Kio on December 22, 2003 05:10 PM

I understood that they developed new products for the school systems, either because they really care about what kids drink, or because it's important for them to be perceived so. All the articles about it mentioned that the drinks were sugar free and with vitamins added. It's not Peach Iced Tea or anything.

Posted by: Kevin Slavin on December 22, 2003 05:24 PM

Really? Ok, corrected then. I was genuinely under the impression (from the chatter here and the initial round of news coverage) that they'd bought an exclusive license to sell actual existing Snapple drinks in the schools. But I haven't been following it closely. Maybe they changed their story after the scruitiny started?

Posted by: Kio on December 23, 2003 04:41 PM

"As a part of its commitment to schools, Snapple has entered into a five-year agreement to exclusively vend bottled spring water and 100 per cent juices in all schools. Snapple, in cooperation with the Department of Education, will develop new products that meet the City’s strict nutrition guidelines. Snapple’s new product line ‘100% Juiced!’ will include four flavors, Green Apple, Orange Mango, Grape and Fruit Punch, with Vitamins A, C, D and Calcium. The new juices will be ready for distribution within the next 30 days."

Posted by: krobinson on December 30, 2003 01:25 PM
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