The Politics of Corporate Rebranding

In case you missed it on CNN or in The New York Times, on September 25, 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts, the quick service restaurant chain of 9,000 outlets that has been in operation since 1950 when its first branch was opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, changed its name to “Dunkin.” This came just one day after Weight Watchers, the global giant in weight loss support services and products founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch, a housewife from Queens, New York, changed its name to “WW.” That two giant U.S.-based food-related corporate entities with more than 125 years of successful sales of goods and services between them announced name changes within one 24-hour period is remarkable.

Food for Thought

When I first began working at Eastern Kentucky University in the fall of 2018, I taught a module on food insecurity in order to encourage students to pursue applied projects in our local food system. As I presented the syllabus on the first day of class, I saw a number of raised eyebrows and cocked heads. One student slowed me down: “Dr. Green, what do you mean by ‘food insecurity’?”