Something HUGE is going on in our everyday parenting world and it isn’t getting the media attention it deserves primarily due to the lack of funds to market it to you. Without the BIG BUSINESS food industry money to throw this in your face over and over again, it’s barely getting noticed. And it’s downright sad.
So let me start by saying we, you and I, need to start a nationwide conversation about it.
Several weeks ago, I strolled into my favorite food store with my two boys. My five-year-old was happily taking a ride on the back of the cart and my two-year-old was buckled safely in the seat smiling at everyone we passed by. As we made our way through the doors to the produce section we were greeted by a great big display of clementines that were COVERED in something that I wasn’t used to seeing – popular brand marketing. That’s right, character food marketing on healthy foods! I was so excited by this that I immediately snapped a photo and did a happy dance! Yes, right there in the food store!
My children immediately recognized Cookie Monster branded all over the fruit and said, “Mommy, can we get that?! Can we bring those home?!” Why yes, YES we can! Something was different today. Today my children weren’t just happy to see fruit and vegetables, today my children thought fruit and vegetables were cool because they saw their “friend Cookie” on there and they needed those clementines. I smiled. I saw them experiencing what research shows us over and over again.
Children prefer the taste of foods that have popular characters on the packaging when compared with the same foods without the character. That’s right! They go for the character even if it’s the SAME EXACT FOODS. Character food marketing sells foods to kids. So where do you want your kids to see characters?
Want to know why Cookie Monster was making his debut? The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has launched a positive food marketing campaign using character marketing on HEALTHY foods. It’s called the “Eat Brighter” Campaign. THIS IS HUGE!
How does it work? The Sesame Street Brand is allowing PMA to use their branding for free to promote healthy fruits and vegetables to children through 2016. Michelle Obama announced this partnership in connection to her Let’s Move Initiative, but according to Kathy Means, Vice President of Industry Relations at PMA, the Eat Brighter campaign is not getting ANY government funding for this campaign, in fact, PMA has very little money at all which is why this opportunity isn’t getting a lot of media attention, fast nationwide participation or signage in your local food stores.
But here’s the facts – this healthy food marketing CAN be in YOUR store helping YOU and YOUR KIDS if you get involved in the movement and help.
You may have heard about character marketing before or this may be a brand new concept to you. Either way, character marketing is really important. This character marketing, which companies like Kraft and Betty Crocker, use to sell cereals and candy disguised as “fruit snacks” can be SO incredibly powerful when it’s influence is used on fruits and vegetables instead. With your involvement in the movement, this campaign can have a tremendous effect on the eating habits of children across the nation.
The Produce Marketing Association is trying to rebalance the food marketing landscape for our children, but they need our help! Kathy Means, the Vice President of Industry Relations, states “if the campaign is not a success then character marketing on healthy, whole foods may disappear after 2016, but if it goes well it may continue and expand to other characters.”
The clock is ticking friends!
Join me in my passion to lead children to better eating! YOU have the power to make a real difference for your kids! Helping can be as simple as:
1) Talking to your super market manager and asking to see the Eat Brighter campaign in your store! Tell store managers that you want to see fruit and vegetables branded by the Eat Brighter campaign suppliers. Ask for these items over and over again so that the store mangers send your requests all the way up the chain to their corporate headquarters to reach the decision makers.
2) Join Chew Chew Mama and the Produce Marketing Association in a grassroots social media campaign to help PMA reach more parents! When you see Sesame Street characters in your produce department. Snap a photo! Share your Eat Brighter campaign sightings on FB, Twitter, Instagram and all over Social Media. The Produce Marketing Association doesn’t have the money to get the word out to every parent and they need you. You and I can help them make this campaign a success. Tag your photos with #eatbrighter #chewchewchange so we can find you!
3) Share this post! Spread awareness about the campaign by sharing and blogging to get more people involved. Together we can influence the lives of our children and children for generations to come.
Now take a look at the photo below. Which clementines will get your child’s attention? Join in! Let’s get this conversation started so we can change the produce landscape for our kids!