Michelle Obama is peddling sugary drinks that don't meet the nutrition standards she advocated as first lady
According to this Bloomberg article, Michelle Obama is "a co-founder and strategic partner at Plezi Nutrition, a maker of sweetened beverages for kids ages 6 and up," which I take to mean that she is profiting directly from the sale of these beverages. Her rationale:
Obama says she's offering a lower-sugar alternative to steer them away from sugary drinks.
So are they healthy for kids?
Plezi's first product is a flavored juice drink blend that, under the very standards Obama championed, could not be served in US schools.
Bloomberg News interviewed 12 independent health professionals and organizations and spoke with Plezi Chairman Sam Kass, as well as with members of the company's advisory board. Nearly all of the experts conveyed their respect for Obama and her achievements in improving child nutrition. But most were critical of the new line of drinks.
Plezi declined to make Obama available for comment.
If you substitute nicotine for sugar, Plezi's juice is similar in appeal to vaping pens such as Juul. Like Obama's less sugary drinks, vaping pens don't attempt to get people to stop using tobacco and nicotine; they attempt to get them to use a less harmful form. But after debuting as a $38-billion startup, Juul has fallen to near bankruptcy because it was discovered that children (Michelle's target market) were using them. The company has paid nearly half a billion dollars in settlements with states that accused it of targeting youngsters and hooking them on its products.
Plezi (and Michelle) stand to make a lot of money from catering to children's sugar addiction:
On Target.com, on a per-ounce basis, Plezi is 2-3 times more expensive than other non-soda drinks targeted at children, including Coca-Cola's Honest Kids and Kraft Heinz's Capri Sun drinks. It's also more expensive than soda.
In 2010, Barack Obama famously said in a speech:
We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama are now worth scores of millions of dollars, and have lavish estates on Martha's Vineyard and in Hawaii, as well as their old mansion in Chicago. I wonder when they will decide that they have made enough money. I wonder if that point will ever come.
Caricature by Donkey Hotey, CC BY-SA 2.0 license.