During the last 12 years, Produce for Kids has raised nearly $5 million for children’s charities.
Now more than a dozen retail chains are ready to participate in the organization’s annual Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign. Participating fresh produce suppliers will make a consumption-based donation to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other children’s charities.
The rosters of participating retailers and suppliers had not been finalized March 26, but Trish James, Produce for Kids vice president, said she expects participation similar to last year, when more than 30 fresh fruit and vegetable companies were involved.
“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s going to be a good campaign.”
In the past, Produce for Kids provided retailers with a point-of-sale unit that offered consumers recipe cards related to the fruits and vegetables being promoted. That concept has been replaced by shelf cards that will be placed directly where the promoted product is stocked.
“It helps consumers understand that that’s a participating product,” James said.
James said the old system took up a lot of space in produce departments, and the new approach will provide “more coverage in different areas.” The shelf cards will offer consumers nutritional information and a Web address for the campaign, which will feature more than two dozen recipes.
“That’s really exciting,” she said. “They range from simple, three- to four-ingredient recipes to veggie-packed recipes like vegetable soup.”
James said the program will kick off May 2 with Ahold stores. Other retailers will follow, with each offering four- to six-week campaigns from May through August. The campaign once again will feature branding with characters from the preschool television network Sprout, including Chica.
Produce for Kids is developing a sweepstakes for the promotion that will be launched via social media. James said the organization also plans to send product to local bloggers as a “good, authentic way to spread our message in social media.”
Produce for Kids also is promoting its healthy message through a new Power Your Lunchbox Pledge that will be promoted from the first week in August through Labor Day.
The idea is to get families to pledge to pack healthy lunches. Those who take the online pledge will be gain access to coupons, recipes and tips. Every time a consumer pledges, sponsors will donate 25 cents to http://DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows teachers to post classroom projects that need funding.
“We support health and nutrition projects on that website,” James said.
James said she would like to get at least 10 sponsors for the new campaign.
“We’ve had really good response so far,” she said. “I think that’s a good goal for us.”
James also said she hopes to see up to 7,000 families take the pledge. Timing will be important, she said.
“Retailers need to be looking at back-to-school ideas in August,” she said. “If you wait until Labor Day, it’s late in the game. We want to make sure we start early enough that consumers can participate in the program.”
James said the campaign will be supported in social media by Produce for Kids and sponsors.
“This is where consumers are,” she said of the Internet. “This is where they’re going to get tips for healthy eating.”