Yum! Brands, the company that brought us such culinary delights as the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme and the KFC Double Down announced a new hunger relief program this week. Grammy Award-winning assless chaps model Christina Aguilera is also on board to, like, totally stop hunger.
The program is called “Feed the World,” (or maybe “Hunger to Hope,” the website is not clear) and that’s something that Yum! doesn’t really know much about, despite their history of stuffing pizza crusts with hot dogs. Sure, a couple of questionable pieces of cod, battered and deep-fried to hell and back by a surly teenager might seem like a good idea after a night of binge-drinking your wife’s perfume, but I just can’t see it as the answer to a problem as large as world hunger.
Full disclosure: In my youth, I worked for Yum! Brands subsidiary Taco Bell, where despite long hours and low pay, I learned nothing at all about cooking. I did, however, learn a lot about how it feels to pour 5 pounds of reheated ground beef directly onto my groin, along with sage pieces of advice like “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” It was a magical time.
The Yum! Brands press release I received about the program was chock full of numbers. They tout their program as the “largest private sector hunger relief initiative,” claiming that it covers 125 countries. Neat. It may even be true. But it honestly doesn’t change the real fact of the matter: A Yum! Brands hunger relief program is basically so much lipstick on a pig. A greedy, disgusting pig that keeps employees impoverished and struggling to make the bills–including, you know, money for groceries. In addition, as purveyors of disgusting unhealthy garbage, it’s rather rich to hear Yum! Brands discuss ending world hunger. Perhaps they’re planning on doing it with root beer and neon orange nacho cheese.
You see, the real answer to world hunger must go far beyond one corporation’s PR campaign and into real, systemic change. Giving people jobs with good wages and benefits can do more to alleviate food insecurity in this country than any late-90s pop tart prancing about for photo ops in Ecuador. And here’s the great part: Yum! Brands could certainly do more to help decrease poverty and food security by actually paying their hourly employees more money. But that’s too much like right.
If Yum! Brands really wants to help people, they can can immediately empower an entire class of people all around the world–those 1.5 million associates they mention in their press release. Because if you’re a company that makes billions by poisoning people with terrible food, the people doing the grunt work should at least make a livable wage.