Get them young for sales in future

08/09/2013 12:56:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Produce for Better Health Foundation/Pear Bureau NorthwestIt’s important for children to be introduced to a variety of fruits and vegetables when they are young, according to marketers.

“By introducing them to fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods at a young age, it will help ensure, that as an adult, they are still eating healthfully,” said Kristen Stevens,  senior vice president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Hockessin, Del.

In order to continue to reach this new generation of produce consumers, marketers look to the future as a possibility for improving the reach of their promotions.

“Kids are part of current trends, too, and just about everyone is watching the Food Network and cooking channels. Kids are a huge part of that movement too,” said Cristie Mather, director of communications for the Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, Ore.

“They are actively involved in going to farmers markets and seeing more of an emphasis on healthy foods,” Mather said.

However, we’re early in this trend, so there’s still work to be done, according to Mather.

“We’re still in the engage-and-expose part of that trend,” she said.

Stevens said she expects to see a continued focus on using targeted information for parents, kids and educators.

“I don’t think you’ll see just one approach in the future but multiple touch points,” she said.

Stevens said in-school activities, such as salad bar and garden programs, will likely continue to gain in popularity.

“Those school gardens are becoming popular lately and they are a great way to learn about the whole cycle from farm to fork and encourage kids to try new fruits and vegetables,” Stevens said.

In addition, school gardens tend to influence retail purchases.

“We’ve seen results where those students help influence what is eaten at home by taking that information to their parents and asking for certain products,” Stevens said.

Mather also believes schools are crucial to reaching children.

“Getting more fresh produce in schools is important,” she said.

Mostly, marketers say it will be a lot more of what’s working right now.

“Kids really have a great environment to learn about healthy eating, so we need to continue that, and not just because it’s good for their bodies, but also because it’s delicious,” Mather said.



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