ORLANDO, Fla. — Produce for Kids here regularly creates innovative promotional campaigns for retail produce departments, and its newest this year is called Ideal Meals.
Ideal Meals is a healthy meal solutions program that uses recipe cards and PFK's website to offer children and moms ideas and tips for shopping and assembling healthy meals using sponsored products.
“As we started 2010, we revisited our program goal to educate kids and parents, primarily moms, about the benefits of eating a healthy diet,” said PFK spokeswoman Kari Volyn.
“We want Produce for Kids to be a performance-based program that increases sales across all participating sponsor categories [and] enhances our participating retailers' commitments to children and their communities.”
As a result, PFK added new elements to the spring program for some of its retailers, and the organization is redesigning its website to become a year-round resource for families, Volyn said.
Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., has been a PFK partner for many years and plans to run the Ideal Meals promotion from May 16-June 26.
“We really believe very strongly in the importance of children adding more fruits and vegetables to their daily diets,” said Maureen Murphy, manager of consumer services and trends for Price Chopper.
“With the obesity crisis in our country and the fact that children aren't eating enough [fruits and vegetables], we're trying to encourage better eating habits and hope that by doing it in this fun way, it will certainly encourage children to become more receptive to the idea of trying more fruits and vegetables. Because oftentimes, once they try it, they realize that [produce] tastes pretty good.”
To promote the spring campaign, Jodie Fitz, Price Chopper's Kids Cooking Club personality who administers the program for the retailer, will make appearances at select stores on Saturdays throughout the promotional period and will demonstrate one of the recipes provided by PFK.
“We thought it was a perfect tie-in,” Murphy told SN, adding that the retailer will likely compose an article for a local newspaper about the PFK spring campaign and the idea of educating kids and parents about healthy eating.
“We always will do some sort of media campaign,” she said.
At this time, other participating retailers include Acme and Kroger's Southwest division, Volyn said.
PFK will provide the retailers with the cards, which will be displayed in an individual self-standing unit that acts as a billboard to feature the retailer and participating sponsors' logos. The meal solution cards are based on a complete meal, which includes an entree, side dishes and beverage, and meets the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines.
The displays will be placed in a high-traffic area of the produce department and PFK installation teams will work with individual store managers to find the best placement in each store, both Volyn and Murphy told SN.
Volyn said that PFK's consumer research showed that moms want information about healthy cooking in the produce department.
“The meal solutions cards make it easy for moms to shop and prepare for healthy meals,” Volyn said.
“The program also offers more visibility for sponsors, because most of our participating retailers are extending the length of their programs to six weeks, which allows more exposure for products that will be featured on cards in-store.”
In addition to the Ideal Meals campaign in stores, PFK wants to be a resource to families year-round through its website. The group is currently partnering with its advisory board members to create podcasts and tips for getting the whole family to eat better, Volyn said.
“We want to be a meal solution resource for busy moms who want information about how to eat healthy beyond just our campaign period. We hope they will return to the PFK site often for tips, shopping lists as well as recipe and meal ideas.”
PFK will continue to raise funds for the local Children's Miracle Network hospitals in participating retailers' markets, and they are excited to expand the program in a new direction and provide additional value to its retailers and sponsors, Volyn told SN.
Murphy said Price Chopper is pleased to be a sponsor and believes in giving back to the communities that it serves.
“We love to support worthy causes for children and the PFK campaign is a great way to do that,” she said.