Results from a recent survey administered by Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Research Center show eat brighter! growing in presence, with 78 percent of suppliers reporting an increase in sales of products branded with eat brighter! during the third quarter of 2015. The study also finds increased activity over this period among grower-shippers and promotional boards as eat brighter! programs are approved and move into the marketplace.
“More products branded with eat brighter! translates into more opportunities for kids and families to experience eat brighter! in stores,” said PMA President Cathy Burns. “This rise in products branded with eat brighter! also means more opportunities for suppliers to engage buyers. The greater participation we have across all links of the supply chain to permeate the marketplace with positive fruit and vegetables messages—both brand-building promotions and universal efforts like eat brighter!—the more we’ll succeed at reframing fruits and vegetables in the minds of consumers.”
Launched in March 2014, eat brighter! is a unique partnership between PMA and Sesame Workshop forged by the Partnership for a Healthier America as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, with a goal of increasing kids’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The eat brighter! initiative grants produce industry members access to “Sesame Street” character images royalty-free in their go-to-market strategies.
According to the recent survey, eat brighter! sales in the third quarter continue to track at 3 percent average increase in sales year-over-year as reported by participating suppliers. The movement’s success has led to the extension of the program through 2018 and also expansion into Mexico, allowing produce marketers, retailers, school foodservice and promotional organizations who sell product there to participate.
Avocados From Mexico, which represents more than 75 percent of the U.S. avocado market, is among the promotional boards that saw its eat brighter! materials approved for market in the third quarter. Avocados From Mexico’s reach demonstrates commodity boards’ important role in advancing the eat brighter! movement. In return, the boards’ participation in eat brighter! bolsters their marketing toolkit with additional avenues for their message.
“Avocados From Mexico is very excited to be partnering with eat brighter! The ability to associate the brand with the “Sesame Street” characters provides us with a powerful platform to engage with moms and kids and deliver messaging around the nutritional benefits of avocados and also provide avocado education,” said Stephanie Bazan, market development director for Avocados From Mexico. “We plan to leverage this valuable asset to reinforce our brand while providing avocado education at the point of sale when they are making their shopping decision. We will also be promoting nutrition and avocado education messaging through social, digital channels and public relations efforts that are engaging to both general market and Hispanic audiences.”
Other eat brighter!-licensed commodity boards leveraging their reach include:
• California Avocado Commission
• Mushroom Council
• Pear Bureau Northwest
• Peruvian Avocado Commission
• Potatoes New Brunswick
• U.S. Potato Board
“Promotional boards like Avocados From Mexico and these others reach suppliers through their membership, retailers through their marketing efforts and consumers through their direct outreach,” said Burns. “They embrace marketing as a discipline by engaging the supply chain and leveraging promotions, in this case eat brighter!. These industry groups represent an important link in the supply chain for promotional reach to advance consumption.”
The recent study finds the seven participating commodity boards distributed eat brighter! promotional materials to 159 companies. The survey also reports 37 grower-shippers distributed eat brighter! product to more than 160 retailers and distributors.