My take is that sodas are pretty pissed off. They may be bubbly and fun and a source of free refills, but they are often the target of official anti-obesity criticism. I’m sure they deserve a lot of attention and changes can be made.

Sample of a LOGO that could be displayed at participating locations

Sample of a LOGO that could be displayed at participating locations

To assume that they should be the focus of our collective efforts against obesity, however, is like assuming that we can exercise and eat our way to better health without changing the system that serves us choices. WE CAN’T. And we have to accept this.

Let’s be real here: Americans (and by implication the rest of the world) is fat and getting fatter because people make money from use being in these conditions. We will NEVER be able to counter this fact unless we have a place at the profit-making table.

We cannot beg, borrow and plead our way to change. We have to figure out how to turn the very core of the fast and convenient food money-making engines towards the advantage of dietary empowerment. And the only way to do this is to turn the burgers themselves into weapons of mass and healthy dietary engagement.

If we can do this, we can literally turn Burgers Against Obesity — something that can occur at the astonishingly low sacrifice of a nickel a meal.


It’s been estimated that the major fast food joints serve in excess of 150,000,000 meals. That’s daily, folks!! Which means on average, as a culture, we eat ONE meal a day at their places. ONE MEAL everyday of the week. Which costs us somewhere around $5 per serving, no matter how much they promote their $1 value meals.

So imagine this: What if we find a way to gather an extra nickel with each of these burger (or other entree) purchases, and do it in a way that doesn’t hurt the fast food businesses and that doesn’t really hurt us. Then, we use the very systems to gather those dollars and direct these nickels electronically to food empowerment agencies whose missions are to give voice to consumers.

This is the essence of the Nickel-a-Meal Campaign: Just one extra nickel, after McWhatever gets its share and after all the ATM/credit card processing fees are paid. We would be building a nickel collection system that would turn each and every purchase we make into a voice for what is actually one the  menu. Instead of just buying, eating and running, we’d be giving these advocacy agencies (perhaps community foundations, community banks or even The United Way) a point of access into healthy eating decisions.

No hassle, no grant proposal, no balancing of corporate interests. For each purchase we make, instantly a nickel is electronically dropped into the empowerment coffers for empowered food change.

And the funny thing is, the fast food industry is comfortable with already do this for a number of for-profit money handlers. Each of them already takes their cut and walks away with their profit. You can see more about this on the Why Nickels page.


If we did this, the organizations that represent our food interests would receive a steady flow of desperately needed money — money that would give them and by implication us a voice in every purchase from there forward. The burger businesses would know that we would be casting a vote to be heard … and the more we were heard by a given local business, the more we would shop there.

Which, by the way, turns into about 125,000,000 nickels on our side of this balance between profit and purpose each day of the week — Monday thru Sunday, and more when special advertising events are underway! The very activities that drive families and kids in would drive the number of nickels up.

Smart food outlets would hear these voices and our choices would improve. Poor listeners would serve their clients in any manner they choose.


This site explores how a Nickel-a-Meal Campaign could work in practice. But I assume that it would be developed in an Open Source way — with all types of interested parties having a voice.

Smart, fun campaigns, logos and cartoon characters would identify who was playing and who was not. And empowered advocates would tell us which places were listening to what our nickels were requesting!

This is a democratic model that can harness the power of success as it happens collectively. It seeks to allow us access to the money processing systems that are making us fat and serving generations oversize helpings of diabetes and poor living.

Look over the site and let me know what you think. It’s doable and now’s the time to get empowerment money to go!

The Nickel-a-Meal Campaign has the ability to generate millions of dollars in advocacy money EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! Until we can find a better way to do this, it might be worth our collective efforts to stop picking on sodas alone!

THE LOGO ABOVE – The logos for each of the companies were selected to demonstrate a point. They all have programs that they say seek to improve the health of their customers. I encourage you to check them out and to pressure them to make sure they live up to their promises. So far, well … they have not been as strong at this as they promised. And nearly half of all children are paying the Type 2 price!! 

Angry or Not, have an opinion! Thanks.

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