WASHINGTON – Bet the last time you were sipping Campbell’s soup or popping Pringles chips it never occurred to you that your eating habits could be political.
But every product has a parent company, and most major corporations make political contributions. Are you a staunch Republican who would never pull the Democratic lever? Chances are some of your purchases at the grocery store go toward helping a Democratic candidate. Die-hard Democrat? Ditto for you.
Matthew Colbert, a former campaign and Capitol Hill staffer, has built an app for smartphones that allows users to scan the barcode of products in the grocery store and immediately find out which political party the company and its employees support.
Colbert says he developed the BuyPartisan app to give consumers more knowledge about how they spend their money. For some, it may translate to not buying a certain cereal anymore, while for others it could be simply a conversation starter, Colbert said. But he hopes that all users will appreciate having at their fingertips an awareness that a fraction of their grocery bill goes to political contributions.
The app, based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Sunlight Foundation and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, is the first rollout from Colbert’s new company, Spend Consciously. Its tagline: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend how you believed?”
The goal of the company, Colbert said, is to make “every day Election Day” through “spending choices.”