The Produce Mom, blogger for Indianapolis Fruit, lists heroes and their favorite produce items at www.findyourfavorite.com.It started with a simple enough idea, to glamorize products in the produce industry.
“A picture of an animated apple flexing saying ‘eat me’ cannot compete next to an image of Selena Gomez with the ‘Got Milk?’ slogan,” said Lori Taylor, consumer marketing manager at Indianapolis Fruit Co., who is also known as “The Produce Mom.”
“It did get us thinking.”
The produce industry doesn’t market the way other industries do, but why not, Taylor wondered. So an idea was born — to use athletes, public figures and role models to market to kids and increase awareness about fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We were overwhelmed with vendor support when we brought this idea to people,” Taylor said.
The marketer targeted all professional teams and organizations based in Indianapolis.
“My publicist mentioned the campaign, and I am big on eating right and staying healthy. I even have a charity focused on childhood obesity. So this was important to me, and I was happy to help out,” said Dwight Freeney, a National Football League linebacker playing for the San Diego Chargers who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft
Freeney is one of 18 sports heroes for the Find Your Favorite campaign. The campaign that launched in November in Indianapolis public schools involves athletes and other heroes going into schools and eating cafeteria food with the kids.
“I play for San Diego now, and that is really far from Indianapolis, but I will do whatever I can do to continue to participate in this campaign and spread the message,” Freeney said.
IndyCar series race car driver Graham Rahal is another of the heroes.
“I believe the program does an outstanding job at encouraging children to adopt a healthier lifestyle by using local figures children look up to as well as making fruits and vegetables fun,” Rahal said.
“If a child sees their favorite basketball player eating broccoli, they may decide to try it because that person influences them. The Produce Mom finds unique ways to incorporate healthy items into meals children will enjoy.
The program is a win-win for all parties.
“We needed to increase awareness about fresh fruits and vegetables and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” Taylor said.
Another important aspect of this campaign was breaking the misconception about fresh produce being unaffordable.
The campaign compared the price of a large bag of chips to the cost of the same weight in fruit.
“If people can actually visualize the amount they get for dollars spent it has a greater effect,” Taylor said.
None of the athletes and heroes were paid to participate in the campaign.
“I’m truly honored to be part of such a great campaign that promotes healthier lifestyles. If this program would have been around when I was a child, I would have tried more fruits and vegetables at a younger age,” Rahal said.