The candy maker Nestle has come under fire over a new line of Girl Scout-themed candy bars. The Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a statement focusing attention on the new limited-edition Crunch candy bars, which bear the Girl Scouts logo.
“A key difference between the Nestle Girl Scout candy bars and Girl Scout cookies is that the new candy bars have more calories, more saturated fat, and more sugars,” CSPI said.
The group’s statement points out that Nestle claims it doesn’t market candy to children, saying the new line violates the company’s pledge.
Said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan: “A third of the kids in the United States are overweight or obese, yet Nestle is targeting vulnerable young girls with these obesogenic junk foods. It’s not credible for the company to claim these are marketed exclusively to adults, any more than if their labels bore Dora the Explorer instead of the Girl Scouts.”
The statement adds: “Nestle’s pledge not to market any candy to children is made through its membership in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, the industry’s self-regulatory body. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, candy is the fourth-largest source of sugars in Americans’ diets, after sugary drinks, grain-based desserts, and dairy desserts. Chocolate candy bars are calorically dense and high in saturated fat and sugars.”
Lori Dorfman, director of Berkeley Media Studies Group, a project of the Public Health Institute, said: "The Girl Scout tie-in and logo will attract the attention of children, especially young girls. After all, for 100 years, the Girl Scouts has worked to keep focused on girls’ issues, empowering young girls around the world. Even if the candy bar advertising is targeted towards adults, the Girl Scouts image appeals to children and so constitutes marketing to children."
CSPI’s Wootan and BMSG’s Dorfman sent a letter to Nestle USA Chairman and CEO Brad Alford urging the company to stop marketing unhealthy foods featuring the Girl Scout’s name and logo and to refrain from similar marketing approaches in the future, the statement notes.