U.S.: Can "Kids Speak Fresh" videos help lift produce sales?
Robinson Fresh already participates in a range of programs aimed at boosting fruit and vegetable consumption amongst children, including the United Fresh Start Foundation, the PMA's 'eat brighter!' scheme and the Produce for Better Health Association, but since June the group has something brand new - Kids Speak Fresh. As part of a three-part series with the company, we look at the philosophy behind the initiative.
"Kids Speak Fresh came from discussions around our company about some very important industry trends that are going on – much like Misfits," said Robinson Fresh marketing manager Nicole Brandt.
While Misfits targets matters of food waste and perhaps its cartoon characters have some part to play for appealing to children, 'Kids Speak Fresh' is about increasing children's access to fresh produce in a new way.
"It is not a new brand but a promotional campaign - it's a fun, engaging way to have the conversation and increase participation around achieving that mission," Brandt said.
"We brought a bunch of kids together and we filmed them interacting with fresh fruits and vegetables. So we put an eggplant in front of them and had them talk about it. What’s that? What’s it look like? What do you think about it?
"We launched our first episode at the United Fresh produce managers’ gala back in June, and in the plan to drive conversation we're launching six additional episodes up until December."
She said every month the episodes revolved around a different topic for kids, for example school lunches or what their parents are cooking at home.
"It has them talking about where they think fresh fruits and vegetables come from, and the videos are meant to be authentic, engaging and fun. I think we hit the mark on all accounts.
"We want to inspire people to replicate some of the behaviors that we’re trying to change.
"The twofold motivation for us is to not just to increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but get them growing up eating all these things because that’s what’s good for our industry too for long term."
She said all the kids in the videos so far have been the children of Robinson Fresh staff, so it helped engage the company's team in the process as well.
When asked what was the most amusing moment in the process, she mentioned a girl who said she liked carrots because it gave her "night-light Gibson" (night vision).
"That one was probably the funniest and the cutest," Brandt said.
As the initiative was still in its early stages, the executive said international campaigns were "not on the horizon quite yet".
"I would love to see it go that way," she clarified.
"I’m incredibly passionate about the mission of this promotional campaign and our partners and what they do, and I think it’s a really important part of our business at Robinson Fresh and and a great tool for us to support the industry in a positive way."
She said a key element of Kids Speak Fresh was working with retailers to bring the videos and content into their produce sections to drive engagement with end consumers and help drive produce sales as well.
"We’ve already been in talks with several retailers that we work with to bring Kids Speak Fresh into their stores, and engage their consumers with the promotion and message," she said.
Internally, Robinson Fresh's philosophy is also about allowing employees to give back when it comes to access to fruits and veggies for kids.
"We’ve got a lot of regional offices in the United States and beyond, and by the end of this year we will be targeting more donations to salad bars in a number of areas across the country where those offices are located.
Photo: © 2016 Robinson Fresh