Banana promotions often revolve around community outreach and involvement rather than simply pushing products to consumers.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita Brands International is participating in the Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog promotion to address world challenges such as deforestation and climate change, gender issues and poverty, said Rob Adams, director of marketing and channel sales.

The program will use editorial content, contests and a social media campaign to reach consumers with its message.

“Let’s inspire a whole new way of thinking about the very relationship between the goods we consume and those who produce them, and about the role that businesses and consumers can play,” Adams said.

Other companies turn to contests and giveaways.

Chiquita is also running a consumer cooking promotion this fall.

Adams said Chiquita’s Cooking Lab will promote banana uses such as healthy recipes, creative snack ideas and kid-friendly dishes during a two-month contest ending Nov. 23.

Participants will find a list of ingredients to use in their recipes each week online or in the company’s Fan Fun App, another way Chiquita is connecting with consumers.

“The interactive gaming app provides consumers a fun new way to interact with the Chiquita brand while being rewarded with branded merchandise,” Adams said.

Five winners will be awarded each week.

Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., hosted its Go Bananas at Halloween Costume Giveaway for the third year in an effort to promote bananas instead of traditional Halloween sweets.

“The sweepstakes gives consumers the chance to win a Del Monte branded banana costume to wear for their Halloween festivities,” said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing.

As part of the promotion, 1,000 costumes were given out to randomly selected consumers who entered on the company’s social media sites.

Banana stickers and point-of-sale materials were also included in the promotion.

The three-week promotion ran Sept. 15 through Oct. 5. to ensure delivery in time for Halloween.

Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif., said analyzing consumer trends helps create effective promotions.

“Since most bananas are consumed during breakfast and morning hours, we are encouraging consumers to consider handheld fruits and vegetables as a staple of in-between-meal snacking throughout the day,” he said.

Goldfield said bananas are easy to promote for lunchboxes and at-home snacks and the company has a number of past and current marketing campaigns to help reinforce the produce-as-snack message.

“In addition to our current Peel the Love program, our previous Nature’s Original Energy Bar initiative challenged active, health-seeking consumers to see the banana as an alternative to more costly sports drinks and snacks,” he said.

In addition, Goldfield said promoting bananas as healthy isn’t the only way to encourage use.

“Since consumers already know that fruits and vegetables are healthy options, we have emphasized the fun and whimsy of America’s favorite yellow fruit through compelling new recipes and serving suggestions, innovative new products, creative marketing campaigns and cooperative retailer programs,” he said.