Message must reach parents as well as kids - The Packer

Message must reach parents as well as kids

08/09/2013 12:33:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Megan McKennaCourtesy National Mango BoardBecause moms tend to be the main purchaser in a household, they are the focus of much of the National Mango Board's focus, says Megan McKenna, director of marketing. However, the board has plans to expand their outreach to be more kids- and family-focused, she says.Marketers say it’s important to reach children and parents when trying to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

“I don’t think you can do one or the other, you have to reach both,” said Roger Pepperl, marketing director of Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash.

The company puts this theory to work with its Lil Snappers line.

According to Pepperl, one aspect of the company’s success with its Lil Snappers product is the special packaging, which features the Lil Snappers characters, as well as a large window for viewing the product.

“Obviously the kids want the characters, and the parents want the product, so they have to go in unison,” Pepperl said.

However, Pepperl said it’s important to remember that even though children can influence purchasing decisions the parents are still the gatekeepers.

“You always have to market to the parents,” he said.

For this reason, Pepperl was focused on creating a package that would allow the Lil Snappers bag to have a place in the refrigerator, other than the crisper drawer.

“The package stands up on its own, so it can sit right on the shelf or in the door shelf with the milk so it doesn’t get lost in the fridge,” he said.

This allows it to remain within eye sight after arriving at a consumer’s house. After all, if parents purchase a product for their kids but then it never gets eaten, it’s likely they won’t buy it again.

“When you open the door of the fridge, you see the bright, shiny package with the characters looking at you, so it helps encourage kids to eat it,” Pepperl said.

For another thing, though the product is marketed for kids, it isn’t just for children.

“They are also great for parents. We hear from parents who buy them for their kids but also enjoy them, so it goes both ways,” Pepperl said.

Reaching moms

Megan McKenna, director of marketing for the National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., said the board focuses mostly on communicating with parents.

“We focus on communicating to moms because they are the main purchaser in the household,” she said.

However, the board has plans to expand their outreach to be more kids- and family-focused.

“Next year we will be investing in more family-focused point-of-sale materials,” McKenna said.

Others agree.

“It’s good to have both types of marketing,” said Amanda Keefer, manager of public relations and social media for Produce for Kids, Orlando.

Produce for Kids has a partnership with Sprout TV, a preschool TV channel that reaches 55 million homes, Keefer said.

Recognizable characters

Characters from the shows are an important part of Produce For Kids in-store promotions.

“The characters are part of our in-store signage, and they are very recognizable to kids, so that draws them in,” Keefer said.

Parents also recognize the characters, but it’s the products themselves that tend to be the drawing card.

“We have a lot of items that are grab-and-go, so there’s no need for slicing or dicing. These are pre-packaged items that are easy for busy parents to put in lunches,” Keefer said.

“On social media, we have mostly caregivers as followers, so we often push information such as recipes through those outlets,” said Kristen Stevens, senior vice president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Kids, too

The foundation also offers information that’s more directed toward children.

“We have our Food Champs website for ages 2-8, which is fun way for them to learn about fruits and vegetables by playing games and other activities,” Stevens said.

The website,, also offers coloring pages and kid-friendly recipes.

Stevens says there’s no real tried-and true method for what works best to reach kids, but having a holistic approach that targets parents and children works best.

“At least for us, that works really well,” she said.

In addition, targeting schools by offering resources and educational programs is important.

“We work with educators to get information to kids through the classrooms, in addition to the information from caregivers and directly from the website,” Stevens said.

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