Is Change Possible at Chick-fil-A?

I am about to tell you something that might make you think I am sleeping with the enemy. You can rest assured I am not.

The executives at Chick-fil-A have taken notice of the many posts I have written about their ingredients and the consumer reaction my writings have prompted.  So much notice, that earlier this year they extended an invitation for me to visit their headquarters and consult with their team that is in charge of product development.

No matter what you think about this company politically (you know what I think), change has to start somewhere and this is why I accepted this invitation.

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I’ll be flying down to Atlanta in the morning…and tweeting the whole day as much as politely possible. (You can follow me on Twitter to stay on top of it all.)

It is incredibly ironic that I will be visiting Chick-fil-A headquarters on GMO-Free Friday.

Please send me good energy – I will need every bit of it.

Food Babe

P.S. To catch up on my posts about Chick-fil-A check out:

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41 Responses to “Is Change Possible at Chick-fil-A?”

  1. Ali Macaluso

    Hi Food Babe! Wow that is a cool opportunity. I can’t wait to hear your posts. I love your blog and am a fellow Charlottean! I know you are all about organic ingredients and letting us know what is in our food. But I am still somewhat of a newbie here, so I am wondering two things: 1) what are your thoughts on animal welfare, and 2) are you vegetarian?

    Good luck in ATL – can’t wait to hear how it goes!

    -Ali (a.k.a. PunkWife)

    Reply
  2. Haley S

    YAYAYAYA! I’m so excited!!! If Chic-fil-a will have healthier products?!? AHHHHH! (:

    Reply
  3. Kaarin Puhala

    I think that’s great. I want to show you the response they sent me regarding MSG. But first, I support your visit: it is the right thing to do. We can’t let our political opinions dictate who we converse with. I am certain that if I researched the beliefs of the CEOs of everything I own and patronize (Ford, GE, Pottery Barn, Proctor & Gamble, Nutro Dog Food, Anthropologie, Samsung, PetSmart, Costco, amazon, Cuisinart, etc.), there would be disagreement between their CEOs’ beliefs and my own. The CEO of CFA just happened to express his views publicly.

    Anyway, here is the response I got via email:

    Dear Ms. Puhala:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. You are very important to us, and we appreciate your feedback regarding the use of MSG. We hope the following information will be helpful.

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used as a flavor enhancer since 1908, and is one of the most thoroughly researched food ingredients. MSG is comprised of the amino acid glutamate, water, and sodium. It is made by a fermenting process using molasses from sugar cane or sugar beets, and starch and corn sugar. Glutamate is found naturally in glutamate rich foods such as Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, walnuts, and soy sauce. In 1959 the Food and Drug Administration classified MSG as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), along with other foods such as baking powder, salt, sugar, pepper, and vinegar. For additional information on MSG please visit http://www.ific.org or http://www.fda.gov.

    There is understandable concern since some customers state that they are sensitive to MSG. Because of their concerns, we do investigate replacements where it is possible to maintain the high quality flavor of our products. Chick-fil-A’s Chargrilled Chicken products (sandwich, salad and wrap) do not contain added MSG; however, the Chargrilled Chicken does contain natural glutamate in the form of autolyzed yeast extract. Other items on the Chick-fil-A menu that are MSG free include our Side Salad, Waffle Fries, Cole Slaw, Carrot and Raisin Salad, any of our Desserts and all of our Soft Drinks.

    Once again, we value our relationship with you and hope we have addressed your concerns. We look forward to serving you in one of your local Chick-fil-A Restaurants soon.

    Thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

    Sincerely,

    Ali
    Chick-fil-A CARES

    Reply
    • Doug F (to Kaarin Puhala)

      I am not sure if the FDA is actually looking into food safety for the USA. Many people with jobs in the FDA came from the Food Industry and do vetting for it and not for the people of the USA. Tests on the food and additives are done by the food company not by the FDA. Independent testing would provide for healthier society. I would never use the FDA as a source of truth since what their finding are based on is that of the Food Industry.

      If you just look around the web and search for MSG there is a wealth if information on the harm it does. “While it is true that there are minute levels of unprocessed glutamate found in some foods, this is irrelevant when considering the safety of MSG.” http://www.resourcesforlife.com/docs/item1225

      Reply
      • Kaarin Puhala (to Doug F)

        Yes, I was really disappointed by their reply. It just showed their ignorance and their refusal to listen to what a mom was concerned about. The most irony was the statement that if I wanted to avoid MSG, I could enjoy an MSG-free soft drink. Ha! I hope your meeting went well and that they at least tried to listen to the concerns.

  4. Ilea wahla

    Good luck! This is an awesome opportunity and hopefully will settle stage for some changes with chick fil a.

    Reply
  5. Haynes Paschall

    You can do it FOOD BABE!!!
    STAY POSITIVE!! Remember, SOME CHANGE is better than none at all. Sometimes it takes baby steps. Shoot for the MOON…but take what you can get. THIS IS GREAT. Will send prayers your way. You are a smart, intelligent, well-informed woman. It is NO surprise that they want your input. AMAZING!!!! Keep us posted.

    Reply
  6. Carolyn

    Wow! That is great! Good luck! If anyone could help Chick-fil-a, it’s you. Maybe it will start a trend. It does sort of shock me though. I always assume companies won’t change.

    Reply
  7. Peter A

    They’re smart to invite you. You’re smart to accept. We’ll see if they’re smart enough to listen to you.

    Reply
  8. Michelle

    That’s a pretty awesome opportunity! And I agree with you and what others have written – regardless of politics, this could be a place to enact positive change. It’s actually really great to see that there are big companies out there that are willing to look into doing the right thing. Fingers x’d they are also able to follow through and deliver a healthier product. Best wishes for a successful trip!

    Reply
  9. Marsha

    Wow! That is such a great opportunity. Can’t wait to hear the results. Change does have to start somewhere and you are certainly fighting for us all. Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
  10. Jas Faulkner

    Unsubscribing. I’m so glad you’re concerned about commercial well-being of people who not only want to abbreviate the rights of your fellow citizens here, but fund groups in other countries who murder people because of their sexual orientation. If you can be bought out by Chick-fil-a I have to wonder how easy it would be to sway your decision to endorse something that really isn’t that healthy.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Jas Faulkner)

      You can unsubscribe if you want – but I will please ask you not to over-react. If you have been following me, you would know I am firm in my beliefs and cannot be bought out by anyone. How do you get them to change without engaging with them first?

      Do you support closing our eyes, plugging our ears and singing lalalala while all these atrocities are happening? How is that going to help anything?

      Reply
      • Jas Faulkner (to Food Babe)

        Responding because this in my email this morning…

        “Do you support closing our eyes, plugging our ears and singing lalalala while all these atrocities are happening? How is that going to help anything?”

        That would be you. Which one of us is gushing about helping Chick-Fil-A, an organisation who has publicly admitted they not only philosophically support but fund institutionalised human rights atrocities? You are. Not me, you.

        I have followed you for quite some time and have admired your work until now. There are other people doing who you do and they aren’t running to Atlanta to give Chick-Fil-A a PR boost.

        This isn’t an overreaction, this is a response to your ethically suspect choice. You can wink and nod all you want about not agreeing with them politically, but if it’s not stopping you from shilling for C-F-A,; it shows you’re willing to compromise your principles. This also makes me question your reliability as a source of information about food safety.

        You seem to have plenty of fans who don’t have a problem with what you’re doing. I’m not going to give this any more time or cerebral real estate. If you can sleep well on this decision, then it’s a simple case of differing values.

      • Monica (to Jas Faulkner)

        If Chick Fil-A is being open-minded and willing to talk to Food Babe about how to make their food better, why aren’t you? Her site is a called FOOD BABE. This is exciting news that a HUGE company has taken notice of her site and wants to discuss how to make their products better. Part of living in America is being respectful to other’s view points. If she refused to meet with Chick Fil-A, how would they ever change?

      • Rachel W. (to Jas Faulkner)

        Where is the “gushing” that you’re talking about, Jas? You’ve also not been keeping up with the news, as Chik-fil-A has confirmed that they will stop funding those groups (whether they do so or not remains to be seen, but they have expressed their commitment to ending their financial involvement with anti-gay groups). However, while I will not eat at Chik-fil-A while they continue to offer few vegan options and fund anti-gay groups, I commend them for looking forward and their willingness to change. Food Babe is right to accept their invitation because to do otherwise is to close the door to honest dialogue about their food policies. Diplomatic relations, along with financial boycotts, are the best way to get companies to change. Open dialogue is the only way to change things for the better, not closing the door completely and keeping your head in the sand.

      • Pat H. (to Rachel W.)

        Actually that is false that they said they would stop funding those groups, the CEO of Chikfila said they have no plans on changing their funding.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/chick-fil-a-president-dan-cathy-biblical-families-_n_1935786.html

        This was published on October 3rd and updated on October 4th. It was erroneously reported that they would be ceasing the funding of anti gay groups.

      • Rachel W. (to Rachel W.)

        Pat H,

        Thank you for the link from 10/3. This confirms my continued avoidance of Chik-fil-A. I did state that what was reported in September remained to be seen, so I’m displeased to see that what was reported then has proven to be false. This does not change my opinion on Food Babe’s agreement to meet with them. I still support that decision, as she will be meeting with them regarding a different, yet very important issue. There are still a number of people who continue to eat at Chik-fil-A, and they deserve healthy, quality food. If CFA is willing to meet with Food Babe to talk about what they can do better and differently with their food and ingredients, I support their decision in that regard and am glad they’ve invited Food Babe to speak with them.

  11. Kerry

    AWESOME!!!!! I have just begun following you and this is SOOO COOOL!!!!! Good Luck! Let’s make some change!

    Reply
  12. Gina

    Nice! You let them know there are customers who are disappointed with some of their ingredients! I want healthier choice, then maybe ill visit their place of business once again. The first steps to change :)
    Good luck FB!!!!

    Reply
  13. Anne

    Sounds interesting! We’ll be following along.

    Reply
  14. Janine

    Vote yes on prop 37! I feel it coming……this is just the start!
    Sending white light and peaceful energy!
    Janine

    Reply
  15. Minde Herbert

    Open mind, open heart… I’ve done some consulting for CFA and found each and every one of the top executives to be smart, engaging, progressive (yes!) and eager to hear new ideas. I’ve my own struggles with doing what I do (university instructor, preaching the gospel of “organics for everyone”) and working with CFA… The wheels do not turn quickly but there are open minds and hearts in their culture. I wish you the best of luck (although you won’t need it).

    Btw, GMOs suck.

    Reply
  16. Kristina Mccook

    I completely stopped letting my kids eat CFA when I read your first post about them. I am not a big CFA fan as I am a vegetarian. I got a bit bored of my carrot and raisin salad dinners with a side of fries:) My kids love it, though, but after reading your post we completely stopped eating there. I have also told everyone I know about what is in their food. I really hope you can change they way CFA does things … it would make 2 kids in Dallas very happy!

    Kristina

    Reply
  17. Jamie

    Good luck! Every little change makes a difference.

    Reply
  18. Mindy

    That’s awesome! At least they are willing to listen. I’ve been concerned about Chick-fil-a since reading your review and I have avoided the place ever since. I hope they will consider a change.

    Reply
  19. Rachel W.

    I think it is wonderful that CFA has opened the door and you’ve accepted the offer to walk through. Though I never eat there because I’m a vegan, I would definitely give them my dollars if they had healthy ingredients, more vegan options, and of course, stopped the politically funding I don’t agree with. However, I think they best thing to do is to keep up communication with their company. They might not change overnight, but this makes them aware of what their consumers want. Communication is key!

    Reply
    • Pat H. (to Rachel W.)

      Actually that is false that they said they would stop funding those groups, the CEO of Chikfila said they have no plans on changing their funding.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/chick-fil-a-president-dan-cathy-biblical-families-_n_1935786.html

      This was published on October 3rd and updated on October 4th. It was erroneously reported that they would be ceasing the funding of anti gay groups.

      Reply
      • Rachel W. (to Pat H.)

        As I stated above, I will not eat at Chik-fil-A while they support those groups or continue unhealthy food practices. And while I’m very disappointed that in the last two days they’ve confirmed they will continue their support of those groups, I don’t change my stance that open communication with them is a great step forward. I still believe Food Babe is right to meet with them, as she is knowledgeable on the subject of their ingredients and is a great person to talk to them about their current practices when it comes to food. There is a lot CFA would need to do for *me* to ever eat at their restaurant, but any step forward to discontinue their use of suspect ingredients is good, especially for those people who continue to eat there. One also hopes that if CFA changes their policies, other fast food chains and restaurants will also change. You want big corporations on your side for things like GMO labeling, etc, because one hopes that it will influence the current practices. I hope that we can be forward thinking enough to try to get fast food companies and restaurants to provide healthy food for those people that do choose to support them financially. Of course, I also hope that one day they will end their funding choices and offer more vegan options, but that remains to be seen. However, I don’t think the answer is to simply boycott them for their policies and practices and ignore their requests for meetings. A willingness to meet shows me that they might be willing to change, but the only way we’ll know for sure is if Food Babe meets with them and then reports back to us.

  20. Rose

    Good luck!! Will b thinking of u and can’t wait for ur posts! You got this!!

    Reply
  21. Penny T.

    Good luck! If you can make any head way on them offering more vegan/plant based options with organic lettuce, that would be so great. A salad with organic lettuce, veggies and oil-free dressing would be an amazing option. Even though I do not eat meat, I do hope you get them to change some of their offerings. I’m sure so many people will be thankful for any positive changes you can encourage them to make.

    Reply
  22. Laurie

    Thank you for taking your time to talk to them and try and get Chick Fil A to make a change. You are absolutely right to meet with them. To sit back and criticize and vent anger would do no good. We can all learn to listen to other points of view while respectfully stating our own. You are doing the right thing.

    Reply
  23. Sonder

    As a gay person and as a human being, I’m horrified that you would support an organization that funds campaigns to murder people like me. Congratulations, you got your job. I don’t suppose much else matters.

    Reply
  24. Tracey @cookingwithlove

    Yay! Good for you! I hope you get them to change their ingredients! I have e-mailed them before and they told me that they have a product that their consumers like. I complained about the sodium content, msg and transfat in biscuits and buns. I don’t eat their anymore because of this. Thanks for making a stand! :)

    Reply
  25. Joyce

    I do appreciate your articles on chic fil a. I used to eat there frequently, but now I make my own home made nuggets so I can control the ingredients. I also refuse to buy premade nuggets at the grocery store. With that being said, I still occasionally go back to Chic fil a, mostly in the summer. We like the indoor playground. We live in Texas and in the dog days of summer, playing outside is not an option.

    I do wish some people here on this comment section would stop demonizing chick fil a. I used to work for chick fil a in high school and college. I’ve worked in many places in the food industry and by far, chick fil a was the best. I lived in a troubled home and when I wasn’t at school, I was either at choir practice or working at chick fil a. All the other kids working there were good friends to me. Our operator paid for the entire crew to go to Schlitterbahn water park every year. EXPENSIVE! Our managers were troubled teens who were given a chance to build their self esteem because our operator saw good qualities in them when no one else seemed to care.

    I’m now a Buddhist who doesn’t agree that chick fil a is anti gay. They seem to be pro family and pro marriage. If Chick fil a, as a Christian organization believes that homosexuality is a sin, then that’s their opinion. I don’t agree with them as I am Buddhist. But in their defense, I have to say that my experience working at Chick fil a was a great experience and helped to repair my low self esteem. Please, commentors, people who are screaming that Chick fil a is evil, use logic and realize that life is not black and white.

    Reply
  26. Denise

    Wow! Jas up there is really angry. Although I am 100% in agreence with him on the issue of gay rights, your agenda, food babe, is even bigger and larger than that. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of children eating toxic chick fil a crap. I know, they serve it at our local college and my son’s middle school. Think bigger jas! You are obviously a young buck, childless and still narrow minded. Good work food babe!

    Reply
  27. Dave

    I got the same reply email from them. I cant eat msg, it gives me heart palpitations. Everywhere I eat I have to ask if it contains msg. They as well as many other places lose my business. Why cant they make a nice healthy grilled chicken sandwich without the msg in it?

    Reply
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