Impossible Foods teams with Colin Kaepernick’s nonprofit

Dive Brief:

  • Impossible Foods has partnered with Colin Kaepernick and his Know Your Rights Camp to help increase food security among those in need, the company said via press release.
  • The collaboration started last week at Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church in the Bayview district of San Francisco, in conjunction with San Francisco Marin Food Bank and Al Pastor Papi food truck. Additionally, Impossible Foods will donate to Know Your Rights Camp programs in Los Angeles and New York.
  • Since the pandemic began, Impossible Foods has helped feed 750,000 people. The startup aims to feed at least 1 million people this year, according to the release.

Dive Insight:

Know Your Rights Camp is a multi-city nonprofit founded by Kaepernick with a mission to promote civil rights through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and leadership by operating camps for children of color throughout the country. By teaming up with the organization, Impossible Foods is taking a stand to support anti-racist causes. The coronavirus pandemic and its related economic challenges have hit communities of color hard, and this program aims to fight food insecurity and ensure these populations are fed.

The still-unsigned football player and activist also recently signed up for a Netflix docuseries and a first-look content deal with Disney. The news points to how Kaepernick, often considered a controversial figure for kneeling during the national anthem when he was an NFL player to protest social inequality and police brutality, is gaining wider acceptance.

Nike hired Kaepernick for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign in 2018, and it was a divisive choice at the time that drew large groups of both supporters and detractors. In the end, the risky campaign drew record engagement.

The Black Lives Matter movement appears to be moving into the mainstream following protests against social injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police. Along with recent efforts from McDonald’s and Procter & Gamble, recent research shows consumers think brands should respond to the movement. However, separate research shows ads in support of social justice — including those by McDonald’s and P&G — run the risk of being perceived as exploitative regarding a historical movement.

Impossible Foods’ nonprofit tie-in potentially avoids this risk with a more straightforward donation. The food startup has also hosted a charity drive to raise money for No Kid Hungry, a campaign to ensure that all kids have access to food during school closures. Additionally, the brand has donated to organizations feeding front-line medical workers.

Supporting food insecurity with vegetarian options also supports the brand’s mission to cut back on the impact of the global emissions associated with bigger farming. Doing so also helps communities of color, which are disproportionately impacted by the ravages of climate change.

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