Trifecta Nutrition is an organic meal delivery service that offers classic, keto, paleo, vegetarian, and vegan plans. Trifecta states, on their website, that their meals are “Organic, premium, pre-made meals”. Their website also claims, “Every meal is made from scratch, just like you would prepare in your own home, only in much larger volume by professional chefs. Our amazing team of chefs use all organic ingredients, grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood”. However, at the Crossfit Games that ran from August 3rd, 2017 to August 6th, 2017, Trifecta was found to have been using food from other restaurants such as IHOP, a local barbeque shack, and a Mexican restaurant, and others. This incident contradicts their previous statement about using all organic ingredients such as grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood, and another statement about every meal being made from scratch. CrossFit is currently investigating allegations also about the 2018 games with Trifecta’s actions. Trifecta is chosen by many customers because of their fresh products that cater to different dietary preferences of customers. These allegations that the company is facing is not good for their publicity or consistent business because it shows that they cannot be trusted to supply the quality of food promised, or even their own products. This case will be looked at through the four different ethical lenses, Individualism, Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Virtue Theory. Considering a utilitarian argument, more harm was done in this Trifecta scandal than bringing happiness. In fact, there is no happiness to be known of in this case, not from Trifecta employees, customers, athletes at the Crossfit games, alternative food sources, or Crossfit Games employees. Thinking of individualism, the Trifecta case was unethical because the company had passed alternative food sources off as their own. A kantian argument can be made that the Trifecta employees were not honest to the Crossfit Games staff, the athletes, or anyone in this scandal. And finally, a virtue theory is that this case was unethical because Trifecta did not meet any of the four characteristics of the virtue theory, which are courage, honesty, temperance, or justice.
In 2018, Trifecta Nutrition was involved in a food scandal involving the Reebok Crossfit Games, and some third party restaurants and food chains, such as IHOP, McDonald's, and a Mexican food restaurant. Trifecta is the main food supplier for the Crossfit Games, providing food for athletes, staff, and and consumers at the event. Trifecta promises fresh, healthy, and dietary specific meals for their customers. For the Crossfit Games, Trifecta had gone to third party food suppliers, mentioned above, and used their products to pass off as their own during the event. Two former Trifecta employees came forward to spread this news, and were later relieved of their roles in the company. Trifecta Nutrition was founded in 2015 by Greg Connolly, who is also the present-day CEO of the company. In an article written on July 25, 2018 by hugheyphillipsllp.com, the text reads, “Trifecta Nutrition, which won a high-profile competition for local startup businesses and struck partnerships with national sports organizations, is accused in a lawsuit of repackaging processed foods from chain and fast-food restaurants and passing it off as high-quality organic meals suitable for top-level athletes in training” . This quote shows that before the incidents were found from the CrossFit Games, Trifecta was proved to be a big name in meal delivery, winning multiple competitions for startup businesses and collecting partnerships with well-known sport organizations. In another article, Morningchalkup, discusses how Trifecta sourced food from other businesses for events. A quote that shows this from the mentioned article is, “Trifecta also provides all the food for staff at Regionals, the Games, and to CrossFit HQ for those who wish to purchase it. The lawsuit alleges that Trifecta sourced food for the 2017 CrossFit Games from other restaurants — “IHOP, a local BBQ shack, and a Mexican restaurant, among others, as well as sourcing McDonalds hamburger buns” — and passed it off as their own” . This lawsuit was filed by two former Trifecta employees. After the lawsuit was filed by the two Trifecta employees, they were fired a week later. Another quote that adds to the same case is also written by Morningchalkup. The two employees that filed the lawsuit were mentioned in the quote, “Jodi Charter and Scott Cooper, who were both fired on August 14, 2017, just a week after the 2017 CrossFit Games. Scott was hired July 1, 2016 and was formerly the marketing manager. He also holds a minority ownership in Trifecta (50,000 shares). Jodi was hired in September 2017, as a “Social Media & Marketing Intern” then promoted to full-time around May 2017” . Also, according to Morningchalkup in the same article, in the next paragraph, “According to the lawsuit, both employees had received promotions days prior to being fired. Both former employees are seeking monetary damages in excess of $80,000 each” . Jodi Charter and Scott Cooper, the two ex-Trifecta employees, did the ethical action by speaking up about Trifecta’s actions. Another paragraph from Morningchalkup says, “Morning Chalk Up also spoke with Dan Schneiderman, partner at Witan Law Group, the legal team representing Trifecta on this matter. He added, ‘This is an honest, hardworking company that's made its way from a concept to a start up to a successful company. We believe that the accusation and allegations in the complaint are ultimately trying to form an unfounded narrative to say that a certain culture exists at Trifecta that quite frankly does not exist in that manner. We believe that the allegations are unsubstantiated and are founded mostly out of retribution from two disgruntled employees’” . The previous paragraph also stated, “‘Trifecta strongly opposes the allegations and claims present in the underlying lawsuit,’ Trifecta said in a statement. ‘While we cannot discuss the details of pending litigation nor provide specifics regarding the alleged claims at this time, we look forward to correcting the record regarding the salacious and misguided claims brought by these two disgruntled fired employees’” . Both of these quotes from Morningchalkup state that Trifecta has denied these claims made by former employees, Jodi Charter and Scott Cooper, and preach their innocence on the incident involving CrossFit Games. The lawsuit against Trifecta was 141 pages long, from source Morningchalkup, and in the coming sentences, quotes and photos will be shown from this lawsuit. “‘The food was supposed to be Defendant Trifecta food, which is advertised as “90% lean or greater, and Organic, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free and Non-GMO,” but instead was McDonalds hamburger buns, IHOP pancakes, meat and egg products, pork and other meat products from local BBQ shack, etc. Not only were those food products not Defendant Trifecta’s, none of them are or were “90% lean or greater, and Organic, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free and Non-GMO’” . Below I will include a photo incorporated into the lawsuit used as evidence against
About The Author Amy Gesenhues Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, and Amy Gesenhues Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media. “A CMO's View: How IHOP Keeps Winning the Love & Affection of Its 3.5M Facebook Fans.” Marketing Land, 16 Aug. 2016, marketingland.com/cmos-view-ihop-keeps-winning-love-affection-3-5m-facebook-fans-187900.
“According to Text Messages, Trifecta Coordinated with IHOP for 2017 Games.” Morning Chalk Up, 2018, morningchalkup.com/newsletters/according-to-text-messages-trifecta-coordinated-with-ihop-for-2017-games/.
Danger, Jessica. “Lawsuit Filed Against Trifecta by Two Former Employees.” Morning Chalk Up, 28 July 2018, morningchalkup.com/2018/07/27/lawsuit-filed-against-trifecta-by-two-former-employees/.
“How to Win the CrossFit Open (Even If You Come In Last).” VeloPress, 22 Aug. 2017, www.velopress.com/how-to-win-the-crossfit-open-even-if-you-come-in-last/.
Lofranco, Justin. “According to Text Messages, Trifecta Coordinated with IHOP During 2017 CrossFit Games.” Morning Chalk Up, 30 July 2018, morningchalkup.com/2018/07/29/according-to-text-messages-trifecta-sourced-ihop-food-for-2017-crossfit-games/.
Maria, Meghan De. “14 Menu Items McDonald's Employees Won't Eat.” Eat This Not That, Eat This Not That, 6 July 2020, www.eatthis.com/mcdonalds-foods-employees-wont-eat/.
Nutrition, Trifecta. “How It Works.” Trifecta Nutrition, 2020, www.trifectanutrition.com/how-it-works.
Rodd, Scott. “Organic Food Delivery Company Accused of Serving Chain Restaurant Products.” Bizjournals.com, 2018, www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2018/07/25/organic-food-delivery-service-accused-of.html.