Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND
RDBA Executive Director
Marketing works. It’s designed to play on the emotional hot buttons of consumers and compel them to purchase a food, buy a car, or desire the latest, greatest phone. In the food world, it’s been well documented that advertising of foods with high nutrient density (think vegetables and fruits) lags well behind the promotion of other food items (think chips and soda) in total dollar spend. This is especially a concern with children, as they can’t yet critically evaluate the messages in ads. In light of the influence you have with marketing, advertising, and merchandising at your company, retail dietitians are well positioned to apply known advertising tactics to promote foods with higher nutrient density to kids.
Consider These Options:
- Product placement in music videos, movies and video games is commonly used by advertisers to appeal to teens.
- Good marketers know to keep it simple. With the outrageous number of messages consumers are bombarded with daily, you can’t ask shoppers’ brains too work too hard to get your point. Simple type fonts, short text, easy to remember names – they all make the message more compelling to shoppers, especially kids.
- Convenience and taste are what savvy marketers promote most often.
- Free toys sell product to kids. They just do.
- Cartoon characters are highly appealing to young kids. As a part of their commitment to healthy options, Disney is licensing their characters on fresh produce items, as shown in this example from Publix.
- Cause marketing. According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study report, "85 percent of consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about."
The retail setting offers many options to promote healthier foods, especially fruits and vegetables, using known marketing principles. Everyone wins as sales of healthier products increase.