( Courtesy PMA )

Sesame Street characters could start popping up in convenience stores across the nation as part of the Eat Brighter! campaign.

The National Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 153,000 stores nationwide, will be promoting consumption of fresh produce through Sesame Street characters including Big Bird and Elmo.

Eat Brighter!, which has been available to the fresh produce industry since its debut in March 2014, uses the characters in connection with fresh produce signs and product labels. The program is a partnership with the Produce Marketing Association, Sesame Workshop and the Partnership for a Healthier America, giving suppliers, distributors and retailers to use Sesame Street characters to promote fresh produce.

The agreement allows retail or supplier members of the National Association of Convenience Stores to pay a one-time administrative fee to gain use royalty-free images on fruit and vegetable packaging and marketing materials.

“This program could yield enormous benefits for convenience stores and their suppliers,” Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at the convenience store group, said in the release. “Our own consumer data shows that 60% of consumers are more likely to make purchases of snacks that are supported by credible health and nutrition groups.”

A study showed that children eat 31% more fruits and vegetables when promoted by a Sesame Street character, according to the PMA release, and suppliers who have used Eat Brighter! materials reported a 5.3% increase in sales.

“We know from NACS invaluable research that half of Americans are in and out of convenience stores every day, and having these kid-loved, parent-trusted monsters promoting delicious fresh produce helps parents make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Kathy Means, PMA vice president of demand creation and consumer affairs, said in the release.

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