With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

14 August 2013

Marketing by Food Allergy Bloggers

I have read articles citing studies that food allergies are a condition primarily suffered in wealthy or upper middle class families. I also have noticed how companies marketing products for those with food allergies seem to think that food allergy kids mostly come from single income families flush with money. Many food allergy bloggers and advocates are guilty of the same bias. There is this assumption that we are all women who have no need to work for pay, can stay at home and eat free-from bonbons sent by companies looking for free publicity. Not many women can dash off at a moment's notice for a free trip during the workweek to rub elbows with other food allergy bloggers. I would like to inject a little reality for those in charge of marketing to food allergy families.

Now hear this: Some food allergy bloggers work. I'd be willing to bet a fair number of us have jobs. Some food allergy bloggers work outside the home and some work from home. What I mean is, we actually work for a salary to help support our family.  Many of us are the primary caregivers for our children. Many of the children I know who have food allergies also suffer from other allergic conditions, such as asthma or eczema. Some have other medical conditions still!

I would love to see some recognition of the working food allergy mom bloggers. All moms are working moms. I have been a stay-at-home mom. It is a job without breaks. Is there someone you can trust to keep your kiddo safe for a trip to the store or a trip overnight? Do the marketing people realize we have these challenges? If you have a child who can die from eating the wrong food, it may not be that easy to find a babysitter or caregiver. This is a challenge for many.

How about those moms who have paying jobs? Having a paying job is different, but you have the same challenges. You still cannot go running off for a food allergy conference or workshop, because you need to earn your paycheck and make a good impression so you can keep those paychecks coming, in addition to the caregiver/babysitter concerns. Paying jobs also mean we can't take part in educational webinars and workshops that take place during the middle of a workday. I am sure I speak for many of us when I say, I wish I could attend one of those daytime weekday webinars or workshops.
Now, let's talk for a moment about the amazing publicity we food allergy bloggers give for free or very minimal compensation. I've been blogging for some time and have spent countless hours writing posts, growing an audience, making Food Allergy Buzz something. I know that when I link to something--a company, a business--I am knowingly giving a boost to that company's search engine results. That is worth something. There is, for the companies I link to, a monetary value to that hyperlink. Ultimately, someone is making a bigger profit because of my help. Am I glad it is a food allergy friendly company? Sure. Of course I am. But just as I value their products, they should value my product.
So, food allergy focused marketing folks, please take a moment to widen your lens, and notice very few of us are twiddling our thumbs, with iphones or ipads in one hand and free-from chocolates in the other. Give us a little credit! Our support of your products and your companies helps your financial success, and that is worth something. Maybe it is time to start treating food allergy bloggers with a little more respect. Just about every food allergy blogger I know is more than happy to support food allergy friendly business, so they keep selling the products we need and love. It's time for the food allergy friendly businesses to start really recognizing that their food allergy blogger friends are really free or inexpensive off-site marketing sub-contractors who are being woefully underpaid and under-recognized by the food allergy friendly businesses they support.


Lynda Mitchell said...

Our next webinar is Tuesday 8/20 at 7:30 p.m. On nutrition and food safety for students with food allergies. I hope you can make it, :)

Keep up the great work, Jennifer!

Lynda Mitchell said...

Our next webinar is Tuesday 8/20 at 7:30 p.m. On nutrition and food safety for students with food allergies. I hope you can make it, :)

Keep up the great work, Jennifer!

Marie-Josée Bettez said...

Well said! I so agree!

Jenny said...

Hi Jen,

Great points-- I couldn't have said it better. Betty Friedan would have had a field day with the assumptions about moms who blog. I love your blog and your positive, intelligent approach to food allergies. Thank you for all you do!!!

Libby said...

Hey Jen, perfect timing on the post. Things have gotten so rough with my son's fa's that it looks like I'm going to have to leave my job. In a completely related way, I'm trying to make some money from my blog without compromising myself. (I've moved to my own url and become an Amazon Affiliate.) Wish me luck!