Product Reviews (Swag Policy, Disclosure Policy)
As a food and nutrition expert, I regularly mention food products that I’ve tried and think my readers will like. Some items I buy or try while out and about, while others may be free samples. If you want me to try your product, please send me an email with some general information and a few highlights including the ingredient list and nutrition facts and I’ll let you know if I’d like to try a sample. Sending samples does not guarantee a mention or review. I rarely write posts centered around one product, unless you’d like to pay for this, which is known as a sponsored post. On occasion I give a shout out to books that I really connect with. I love sending a handful of free product coupons to lucky recipients on my email list when I run feedback surveys.
I disclose my relationships with brands, commodities or any other organizations whenever possible. I strive for each and every time.
If I choose to include a product I accepted for free, I will disclose it in the communication.
If I mention a client in a communication, I will disclose it by including “#client” or “(client),” unless it is otherwise implied.
If I am being paid by an organization to write a blog post on my site, tweet, Facebook post or pin, I will disclose that by including “ad” or “sponsored”. Revenue generated from this helps defray my costs of maintaining and enhancing this website, as well as pay for my support team that helps me edit and upload these posts.
If I attend a media event or accept a press trip paid for by the host, I will disclose that as #sponsoredtrip.
If I receive a freebie at a restaurant (though, very rarely do), I will disclose that.
Click this link to learn more about the organizations that I currently work with on an ongoing basis as a registered dietitian spokesperson.
Amazon.com: Recently (10/12) I joined the Amazon Affiliate Program, meaning that I will make a small commission off of your purchases if you click directly from my links to Amazon.com and purchase that product. The products are most often the ones that I use personally.
What a Nutritionist Wants
Hopefully, you’ve first become familiar with me and my mission before you consider sending me a sample.
Here is a cheat sheet:
- If it’s food, it must be healthy! I come across enough less-than-healthy food in this world, so I’m good on ideas in that department, thank you. For the record, dark chocolate falls in the healthy indulgence category for me, so by all means, send me dark chocolate!
- Stories I cover on a regular basis: kid’s snacks, on-the-go snacks, lunchbox gear (August/September), convenient whole-foods, innovative recipe ideas, new easy usage tips for whole foods, healthy holiday gift ideas (December), easy dinner ideas (my own recipes, but I might find inspiration from your cool recipes), anything that makes life easier and healthier in the kitchen for families.
- Even though I still fight my diet cola demons, I’m not interested in trying any new artificially sweetened foods.
- I eat and promote all food groups–the whole-food versions that are closest to nature.
- Artificial food coloring – ick. Ditto on partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors.
- Snack bars that have no resemblance to nature – pass. Protein powders: I’m interested in those that taste really good and have a natural ingredient list.
- I’m more likely to choose to review a product from within the United States, versus something from a far-away country, unless it’s really, really cool and/or solves a problem.
- Plain bottled water – please don’t bother. I fill my metal water bottle with filtered tap water. I do enjoy canned or bottled sparkling water.
- If the product is full of chemical-sounding ingredients that I can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are, I’m probably not interested.
- I don’t promote brand contests unless it is for a sponsored post. Please contact me if you’re interested in becoming a client.
- Have a useful cooking gadget? Sure, I’d probably be interested in trying it out.
- I am not into the new “ice creams” that just look like ice cream, but don’t taste like ice cream. I’m just…not.
When Sending Me Product:
Usually, just a single package will do, or one of each flavor. This is enough for me to try, as well as test out on the three “guinea pigs” in my inner circle, my husband, daughter, and assistant. They are the ones who eat my food regularly. Plus, my pantry warrants a hard-hat as it is. Please don’t send multiple 40-pound cases of product unless you warn me first and I accept (I probably won’t). If it’s a non-edible item that’s reusable like a book or pan, one of three things will happen to it: 1) I can send it back to you if you wish, just include pre-paid return postage, 2) I love it so much it will be thrown in a cabinet with the rest of my favorite stuff, 3) I already have enough of its kind, so I will offer it as a giveaway to my readers or donate it to a food- or family-based charity.
When sending me samples, please use the minimal amount of packaging necessary, and send it “ground” versus “air” to minimize the carbon footprint. Unless it’s perishable, then ship as fast as possible, because it isn’t at a safe temperature when it arrives, it will go into the trash.
When following up, one or two emails, perhaps a phone call, will suffice. If you don’t hear back from me, it probably means I’m not interested. Or it could mean that I can’t use it at this time, but may decide to use it at a later date in a tweet, Facebook post, recipe or a TV segment.
Regarding Other Random Swag:
Love: good-quality cooking gadgets, tools to help prepare “the product”, picnic blankets, dishes useful for food styling, high-quality cooler bags, pretty wood cutting boards, nice utensils
Goes directly into the donation box: boxy-cut t-shirts sized M-XL and most other promotional t-shirts, flimsy aprons, stickers (though, some I give to my 6-year-old), stacks of $1-off coupons (I don’t see patients), other things that are random and useless, low-quality cooler bags. CDs with information will probably go into the trash–send me links instead.
Disclosure: The Kind Healthy Snacks featured in this photo, were – you guessed it – a free sample that I accepted and loved. They eventually became a client.