Some marketers say the best way to promote produce to children is not through direct marketing but through appeals to their parents, teachers and caregivers.
Most of Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation’s child-oriented efforts are aimed at educating intermediaries, including parents, health care providers and educators, said Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer.
“The easiest way to get through to the kids is through the gatekeeper,” she said. “It’s harder to reach kids directly.”
The foundation’s Fruits and Veggies — More Matters program encourages parents to get their children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Michelle Obama’s new Let’s Move! anti-obesity initiative also helps parents, educators and care providers encourage children to eat more healthfully.
Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., seeks to make its products attractive to children, but successful child-oriented strategies have to appeal to adults too.
“When we market to children, we are marketing to their parents as well,” said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing. “Parents carry the power to decide what goes in the shopping cart, and they may be hesitant to purchase fruit or vegetables for fear that it will go to waste if their children do not like it.”
Christou said that as parents learn more about eating healthfully themselves, they are likely to pass along good habits to their children. If marketers can get parents excited about eating fresh produce, their children will probably be more likely to reach for a fresh fruit or vegetable snack.
This year, the National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., is promoting mangoes by pitching story ideas to editors of national magazines that target mothers. The board also is doing outreach with mothers who blog, and is running gourmet recipe contests for moms.
“We’re trying to get our message out to print and online venues to reach moms,” said Wendy McManus, marketing director. “Outreach to kids is great, but we feel we can have a more immediate impact by educating moms.”
The board worked with public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard to promote mangoes through a New York media tour of Parents, American Baby Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, Family Circle and other magazines. The board and agency talked with editors about mangoes, shared recipes and pitched mango-related story ideas for the magazines.
“Instead of a few hundred or a few thousand people at a time, we can reach millions of people at a time and educate them with the mango message,” McManus said.