Ads on lunch trays?

PETA offers to pay Cleveland schools for pro-vegan ads on lunch trays.

It’s a tough time financially right now for many, both in their personal and professional lives. Companies are always on the lookout for moneymaking endeavors. Never shy from offering an opinion, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has offered to pay the Cleveland school district to place ads on its lunch trays. The district currently has a $13 million budget gap, according to the NPR. PETA send a similar letter to Tuscan school district.

“I’m writing with an idea to help move your city’s school budget a little bit more toward the black,” PETA Executive Director Tracy Reiman says in her letter to the district. “Open up cafeteria lunch trays (both disposable and reusable) to paid ads promoting nutritious foods and healthy behavior for kids, and allow us to run the first one, featuring an adorable chicken proclaiming, ‘I Am Not a Nugget—Go Vegan.’”

According to the NPR, the district hasn’t responded, but Roseann Canfora, district spokeswoman, said “it raised some interesting questions about whether that’s a legitimate revenue source.”

I’ve got a few qualms about the whole idea. First, the $13 million budget gap. I don’t know if that gap includes foodservice or not, but school foodservice operations are self-sustaining and are separate from the district’s budget. If PETA were allowed to pay for ads on lunch trays, would that money go to the foodservice budget or the district budget?

Second, do kids really need to see any more advertising, and specifically advertising with messages to become vegan? It’s no secret the effect food advertising has on children. I have no problem with putting messaging on lunch trays about healthy eating in general, but I do have a problem with promoting a certain lifestyle choice on a lunch tray. You don’t have to be a vegan to practice healthy eating. That message could be confusing to children. I often hear from directors that their students don’t know where vegetables come from, so putting a message on a lunch tray telling them to go vegan seems like adding to the lack of food knowledge among students.

What do you think? Is advertising on lunch trays a good idea? Sound off below in the comments section or send me an email at bschilling@gmail.com.  

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