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March 31, 2015

Activists Storm SF Grocery Store to Expose Controversy in Quaker’s Products

Grassroots group from around the country calls on PepsiCo to cut Conflict Palm Oil

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, 425.281.1989, Emma@ran.org

***Colorful, high-resolution images of grocery store flash mob protest, available here

 

San Francisco, CA – Today, two dozen activists from across the United States ‘flash mobbed’ a popular grocery store in San Francisco, CA, engaging store customers and rebranding shelves filled with Quaker products, a PepsiCo brand containing controversial palm oil. This month’s wave of grocery store actions furthers a growing national trend of public outcry against the use of Conflict Palm Oil. The freshly energized movement received high profile coverage recently when a spoof Super Bowl ad went wildly viral that targeted PepsiCo’s Doritos brand over the product’s connection to rainforest destruction and human rights violations.

The festive activists dressed in orangutan costumes and affixed stickers and placards on the store’s food aisles to warn grocery store customers that they may be feeding their family Conflict Palm Oil.

The activists say that PepsiCo’s palm oil commitment, and that of its sub-brands like Quaker, does not go far enough to prevent conflict palm oil from appearing in its products. The activists organized themselves to send a clear message to PepsiCo: “The time to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products is now.”

The group of activists traveled to the Bay Area from hometowns across the country at their own expense to attend the Palm Oil Action Leaders Training Summit, a four-day skills training in leadership development hosted by Rainforest Action Network.

Lindsay Vanderhoogt, a 24-year-old activist with the group, said, “I traveled all the way from Boston to attend this Summit because this cause is so important to me. It's a multifaceted issue, with environmental destruction overlapping with human rights violations. This will be a defining issue for my lifetime and I'm so grateful and excited to be helping Rainforest Action Network take on PepsiCo and the Conflict Palm Oil problem."

“Quaker, and its parent company PepsiCo, spends huge amounts of money on advertising every year, trying to convince moms and dads that Quaker is a brand that we can trust, yet they are unwilling to spend a few extra pennies to help save orangutans from extinction and keep children out of slave labor conditions.” said 16-year-old Becky Chung from Orange County. 

PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world, and one of the “Snack Food 20” group of companies targeted by Rainforest Action Network’s Conflict Palm Oil campaign. PepsiCo consumes more than 450,000 metric tons of palm oil annually for its snack food brands like Quaker, Doritos and others in the U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and its consumption of palm oil is on the rise.

Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network said, “PepsiCo is starting to take these issues seriously, but it is lagging behind its peers as it lacks a truly responsible palm oil policy. It needs to take immediate action to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from the products it sells across the globe. 

“For PepsiCo to meet consumer expectations, it must adopt a binding, time bound policy with an action plan that includes full traceability of palm oil back to its source and verifiable safeguards for human rights, forests and peatlands,” said Tillack.

Over the next month, activists in dozens of cities and towns across the U.S. will undertake their own creative actions to demand that PepsiCo breaks the link between its products and rainforest destruction, climate pollution and human and workers rights violations.

 

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