Today, Executive Director of Let’s Move!, Sam Kass, and CEO of Bolthouse Farms, Jeff Dunn, addressed an audience about the importance of strong marketing in promoting healthier foods and lifestyles as part of a three-day convention and expo hosted by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). PMA’s Fresh Summit is hosting almost 20,000 leaders from across the produce industry. PMA is a global, non-profit trade association that represents companies marketing fresh fruits, vegetables, and related products.
Kass joined Dunn via telephone from the White House for a discussion facilitated by Bryan Silbermann, President and CEO of PMA. The discussion focused on strategies to build demand for fruits and vegetables, and how the produce industry can transform their efforts from fulfilling demand to creating demand.
During the discussion, Kass cited a study demonstrating the effectiveness of using highly recognizable cartoon characters, such as those from Sesame Street, to encourage and reinforce habits supporting healthy lifestyles and good nutrition. When children in the study were asked to choose between an unlabeled piece of broccoli or chocolate, children chose broccoli only 22% of the time. However, when a sticker of Elmo was placed on broccoli and an unknown character was placed on the chocolate, 50% of the children reached for broccoli.
Last month, during a White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged researchers, parents, advocates, media, and food and beverage companies to do their part in fostering a healthier environment for our kids. During the PMA discussion, Kass reiterated how the produce industry can support the First Lady’s call to action by using the power of marketing to promote healthier choices.