WASHINGTON—According to a report released this week by the Pew Research Center, more than half of all activism in the United States now involves petitioning corporations to bring back beloved, discontinued food items. “Our research has found that some 57 percent of the nation’s social demonstrations and grassroots movements are primarily motivated by citizens’ desire to ensure that a limited-edition potato chip flavor is made permanently available or to reinstate a promotional fast food menu item,” said the report’s lead author, Rebecca Sullivan, noting that Americans’ collective demand for the return of a given candy bar’s dark-chocolate or peanut-butter-filled iterations far outstripped their involvement in organized efforts to exonerate innocent prisoners, support third-party presidential candidates, or reverse the effects of global climate change. “We found that popular efforts to expedite the return of seasonal coffee offerings or revive a struggling cartoon-crossover cereal required activists to dedicate whole weeks to social media campaigns, community outreach programs, and personal entreaties to multinational companies. The level of fervor demonstrated in these cases was unparalleled by any other activist movement in the U.S.” Sullivan added that such advocacy was only rivaled by public efforts to make certain regional snack foods available throughout the country.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.