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.
Mangoes were featured in the June edition of First for Women magazine that had a circulation of more than 1.2 million and advertising value of more than $190,000, she said.
Mangoes also were in the June issue of Good Housekeeping with a circulation of 4.6 million and advertising value of more than $367,000.
One way Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit Co. is trying to reach parents and children is through its current “Go Bananas after Dark” campaign, which promotes bananas as ingredients for grilling, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager.
Dole partnered with Char-Broil grill manufacturer for this summer’s Char-Broil Infrared Grilling Tour of more than 20 cities.
“Since grilling conjures up images of backyard barbecues and family campfires, we’ve purposely included recipes that kids will love, like Grilled Banana Boats and Grilled Banana S’mores,” Goldfield said.
Dole also is placing family-friendly print, television and online advertisements for bananas in major markets. The ads contain recipes, serving suggestions and fun facts, Goldfield said.
The company is considering back-to-school cross-promotions with products geared for children.
Its Char-Broil grilling promotion is to become a tailgating promotion this fall, which Goldfield said might appeal to older children.