UPDATED: Disney ad limits put teeth in nutrition guidelines - The Packer

UPDATED: Disney ad limits put teeth in nutrition guidelines

06/05/2012 03:10:00 PM
Mike Hornick

(UPDATED COVERAGE June 7) The Walt Disney Co. is putting extra bite in its nutrition guidelines by requiring foods and beverages advertised on its broadcast networks to meet those standards by 2015.

Whether the change is sufficient to inspire fresh produce advertising on the networks is unclear, but licensees like Crunch Pak and Ready Pac Foods welcomed the move and said they’d consider ads.

First lady Michelle Obama joined Disney chief executive officer Robert Iger as he outlined the policy shift June 5 in Washington, D.C.

“Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S., and what I hope every company will do going forward,” Obama said in a news release. “This is a major American company — a global brand — that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives.”

The guidelines, launched in 2006, target foods high in saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

In fresh produce, product launches scheduled for August include Ready Pac’s line of 10 Disney-themed salads and snacks for children, and Crunch Pak’s Flavorz sliced apples. Naturipe Farms LLC rolled out a Disney version of its Berry Quick blueberry snacks in the spring.

Tony Freytag, director of marketing for Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak, welcomed the new Disney policy.

“When we design and innovate products, we have to fall within certain guidelines,” he said. “This seems like a logical extension.”

“We’ve participated in numerous Disney events, but we’ve never been in a position to advertise directly to consumers,” Freytag said. “It’s part of what we’re considering as we move forward, and not just with Disney. With product in more than 15,000 retail stores across the country, it makes sense. If you’re regional, it doesn’t.”

Disney’s radio station offers advantages and would be price competitive for Crunch Pak to consider, Freytag said.

“We haven’t looked at the TV side of it,” he said. “It would probably be price prohibitive for us at this point. But we’re looking at all channels as far as consumer advertising.”

Less than 20% of Crunch Pak’s business is Disney related. But the partnership can benefit the rest of the product line, Freytag said.

“Whether you’re talking about Disney TV or online, there’s a great deal of mom involvement,” he said. “We could commingle a kid-specific product like Foodles with our Dipperz or a 14-ounce bag to a certain degree and not look like it’s disconnected. That’s one of the benefits of being co-branded with Disney.”

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