What's Your Culture?

Culture -- 

  1. the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge,which constitute the shared bases of social action
  2. the total range of activities and ideas of a group of people with shared traditions, which are transmitted and reinforced by members of the group: the Mayan culture
  3.  biology -- a. See also culture medium the experimental growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, in a nutrient substance (culture medium), usually under controlled conditions



Earlier this week I had an opportunity to sit down with Dannon and Mia Hamm at the Treehouse Social Club in Los Angeles with a few other mom bloggers.

Dannon is launching a new campaign aimed at encouraging Californians to live a more active and healthier lifestyle.
Mia Hamm at the Treehouse Social Club
The campaign consists of five key components:

  1. Encouraging families to take a pledge to make healthy food choices and include physical activity
  2. A partnership with soccer legend Mia Hamm
  3. A partnership with and donation to the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) 
  4. The Dannon mobile tour
  5. An ongoing, interactive program that provides families with support and rewards for making healthy choices




“Dannon’s goal is to help Californians live their active culture, however they can, and to start a movement towards healthy living. We’re excited to introduce new tools and ongoing support to encourage California families to embrace good nutrition and physical activity as an ongoing, positive part of their lifestyles,” said Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director of Public Relations, The Dannon Company. “We’re honored to partner with legendary athlete Mia Hamm, as she is a wonderful inspiration and is eager to help us motivate parents and kids to make nutritious food choices and get active.”
Michael and Mia encouraging discussion
Michael started the discussion with a history of the company. It was founded by Isaac Carasso, a doctor, at the turn of the 20th century in Spain. He noticed that children didn't have very good digestive health due to societal factors. Danone started out as a medicine! He named the company after his son, Daniel Carasso, who grew the company in France and then brought it over to the U.S during WWII. It was interesting to learn that Dannon has been a company committed to health for almost 100 years.

Which raised a concern from one of the moms. She said that Dannon was too "mainstream" and that [in some circles] they weren't considered healthy in the least due to the amount of sugar in their products when compared to more "all natural" choices. Especially pure Greek yogurt (is it just me or has Greek yogurt gotten very trendy in the last year?). Even though some of the sugar is lactose, as Michael explained. This just raises in my mind more issues about food labels and how confusing they are. But that's another post.

For my family, I appreciate that Dannon doesn't use any food coloring in their products (so the Teen can eat them) and that they do add LGG (good bacteria). My daughter likes some variety to her acidophilus supplement each day. Of course, having the Sprouse brothers as spokespersons helps. Most importantly, food should be pleasurable. It should be a joy to eat and Dannon strives to make their food fun and enjoyable for all ages.

Mia brought up the influence that we as parents have over our children. We need to show them how to eat right, get the right amount of activity, and be active ourselves. We all know that "Do as I say and not as I do" doesn't work. It certainly didn't work on me when I was a kid. And frankly, I miss the energy I had as a kid.

Why California?
As Californians we are thought of as healthy, active, outdoorsy (beach to mountains in two hours!), etc. We set trends in the nation.


But more importantly, with our busy lifestyles and dependency on convenience (not everyone can be Martha Stewart), we need a little help. Dannon conducted a survey of 1,000 Californian moms and discovered:



It's encouraging to know that a large company has taken an interest in our health. Even if they do have an ulterior motive, there isn't anything wrong with using the tools.

What You Can Do
  1. Take the pledge to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle. It doesn't matter if you live in California or not, you and your family will benefit from eating healthier and moving more, and possibly saving money (coupons!). The monetary benefits right now are to California State Parks.
    By taking the pledge, you will help your family and community activities across California. Dannon is donating $50,000 to the California State Parks Foundation to help them support family health and wellness. If more people like you take this pledge and we reach 500,000 pledges, Dannon will give an additional $50,000 to the organization.*
    *For maximum donation of $100,000 and minimum donation of $50,000 to the organization. 500,000 pledges must be reached before 10/31/11 to be counted towards the additional donation.
  2. Try out some of the Dannon recipes like BBQ Chicken with Citrus Yogurt Marinade or Calypso Crush
  3. Check out the Dannon variety! I had no idea they made a Greek yogurt. They are also the makers of Activia and Danimals/Dan-o-nino. There's also a coupon on the site for $1 off your purchase of two (2) Dannon products
  4. Dannon welcomes feedback, so leave your ideas!
To get us started on a more active lifestyle, we were given picnic baskets with recipes, water bottle, and games. 

    About The Dannon Company, Inc.
    The Dannon Company is America's founding national yogurt company and continually leverages its expertise to develop and market innovative cultured fresh dairy products in the United States. Headquartered in White Plains, NY, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, and West Jordan, UT and produces approximately 100 different types of flavors, styles and sizes of cultured fresh dairy products. Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, one of the world's leading producers of packaged foods and beverages, and Dannon is the top-selling brand of yogurt products worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone.

    With a strong commitment to high-quality, wholesome, nutritious and innovative products, The Dannon Company is committed to encouraging people to eat a balanced diet and live a healthy lifestyle. In 2010, for the tenth year in a row, Danone was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a worldwide reference for socially responsible businesses. Danone is a recognized leader for its contributions to nutrition and health and was ranked best in class in a 2008 JPMorgan & Insight Investment study about the response of the world's largest food companies to obesity and health-related concerns. This commitment is also illustrated through The Dannon Company's support of the Dannon Institute, an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting research, education, and communication about the links between nutrition, diet and health. For more information, please visit www.dannon.com.