As for first lady Michelle Obama’s assessment of the “Sesame Street” agreement — as the force behind the Let’s Move program, she was quoted in the news release — that children, upon seeing Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, etc., will choose healthful produce over junk food, I’m skeptical.
If children respond to those stimuli alone, won’t they react in kind to hundreds of unhealthy food items throughout the store that employ the same marketing techniques? When it comes to using licensed characters to get a child’s attention, junk food wrote the book.
Back to the broccoli campaign. What’s not to like? It’s a ready-made campaign for broccoli growers to back.
The catch: According to Victor & Spoils, the advertising campaign would cost $3 million to $7 million. High numbers for a relatively small crop, when production is stacked up against potatoes, pears and avocados, all which have established marketing orders funded by growers.
The price tag, if paid for by growers based on the most recent season, would be 0.42 cents a pound on the low end and almost a penny per pound for the $7 million.
That’s not prohibitive in itself, but at this time, there’s no method to collect and manage the money without a U.S. Department of Agriculture marketing order. That entails a grower referendum, hiring a staff, electing board members and more record-keeping for growers/shippers.
Besides, kids don’t care about kale versus broccoli, and they’re a more important market when it comes to long-term change in diets to tackle the obesity problem in the U.S.
True, parents decide what to buy and serve to the family, but children, with the help of schools, are becoming a critical factor against obesity.
It’s not just about salad bars and fruit and vegetable snacks at schools. They’re great. But private industry and federal programs need to consider pre-schools as another important part of the solution.
Children soak up information that will form their decisions later in life. What’s needed is an immersion-type program that uses health as the unifying message.
Silbermann is correct: This is a critical time for the industry, and there are opportunities out there. It’s time to step up and invent the next “kale.”