Produce marketers have developed a mix of ideas to promote produce for families.
The tried-and-true formula involves packaging and characters that attract children and encourage interaction, paired with a product designed to meet a specific need for parents and young kids.
Sometimes just the product itself can be kid-friendly in nature.
“While many products use a special character to target children, we like to let our proprietary berries speak for themselves, thanks to their size, flavor, color and shine that attract kids and their moms,” said Jim Grabowski, director of marketing for Watsonville, Calif.-based Well-Pict Berries.
“I personally believe it’s more important what you put into your package than what you put on the outside of your package,” he said.
Other fruits and vegetables also fit into this idea, although taking the idea one step further can create a balance between a product and a brand.
“Apples are great for kids, and pears especially have been really popular, because they are very sweet and are softer. We’ve seen phenomenal growth on the pear side,” said Brianna Shales, communications manager for Stemilt Growers LLC, Wenatchee, Wash.
Stemilt offers kid-friendly apples and pears in its Lil Snappers line, along with Sunkist Growers citrus.
Some companies focus on providing a more child-friendly, convenient product for parents that also appeals to kids.
Stemilt’s Lil Snappers bags are bright and kid-friendly with a character on them, but the bag design allows parents to see the fruit inside and to store the produce easily on the top shelf in the fridge.
“It’s a perfect bag to grab for the fridge, and it will basically feed two kids an apple or pear every day for a week,” Shales said. “It’s really convenient.”
Companies often choose smaller fruit so small appetites aren’t wasting a larger apple.
Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash., is launching its Hero program this fall with small sweet apples.
“It’s a product you can give to a kid and not worry about them eating only half of it,” said Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing.
Mac Riggan, marketing director for Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash., said his company targets families with bags of smaller apples in hopes that it will encourage those families to grow with the company in the years to come.
“Kids want to eat a smaller apple and it provides values for moms, but as they get older, we hope they transition to buying more of the larger fruit,” Riggan said.
Targeting young families with the smaller bagged fruit is helpful to convert customers, in hopes that as the children’s appetites grow and habits are established, parents will transition to buying larger apples in bulk.
“It’s hard to do specialized promotions with bulk apples because all you have to work with is a tiny sticker. A lot of retailers have clean store concepts so the bags really have to do most of the marketing and selling to those new customers,” Riggan said.
However, it’s not always about smaller fruit.
“Everything is not going to be available in ‘bite-size’ quantities, and as industry I think we need to embrace that. Since we are marketing organic bananas, we have a natural tie to kids’ favorite fruit, regardless of the size of a banana,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president of Organics Unlimited, San Diego.
Creating kid-friendly recipes is another way companies can fill a need for parents trying to provide healthy options to their families.
“Our website’s chef’s corner lets people find quick and (easy) recipes for kid-friendly foods,” Grabowski said.
The company has recipes that are directed toward kids working in the kitchen.
“Well-Pict has dedicated a portion of their website to healthy kids, where they will find the Junior Chefs corner,” he said.