Most parents find it difficult to get their kids to eat veggies. But with the right help, parents may be able to locate the solution, thanks to creative marketing strategies. Researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus used a simple method to encourage children to eat fruits and vegetables. They placed banners in school cafeterias that feature vegetable animated characters dubbed as the Super Sprowtz. These featured characters are Zach Zucchini, Miki Mushroom, and Suzie Sweet Pea.
Research on How Marketing Impacts Consumption of Veggies
They observed if the banner increased the likelihood of kids picking up veggies and salads and eating it. Four weeks after the creative marketing strategy was established, researchers noted that the number of school children who took vegetables from the cafeteria salad bars tripled. According to assistant professor Andrew Hanks, creative marketing strategies are very powerful when used correctly to encourage children to make healthy choices when it comes to their foods.
The schools were randomly assigned to different groups which include the typical cafeteria setup and one where the Super Sprowtz was used. For schools which feature the creative marketing strategy, some used only vinyl banners or videos while others had both banners and videos.
The study showed that while there is an increased number of students from 13% to 24% who took vegetables from the salad bars from schools that featured only the banners, a tremendous increase from 10% to 35% was observed in schools with both banners and videos. Interestingly enough, schools that had the regular cafeteria setup, as well as those that only used videos, did not observe any improvement. The researchers concluded that the videos were not an actual part of the salad bar, which created a disconnect to the students.
This study produced a positive light on advertising. According to Tamara Melton, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, using creative marketing strategies is a great way for schools to promote eating healthy food to the children. Another advantage of this particular approach is that it is very affordable for most schools.
Can Super Sprowtz Sustain Interest in Veggies?
However, the challenge is that while this tactic is useful in the first few weeks, the novelty may wear off. It is crucial to adapt through time as what works for school children may not readily translate for the older kids. The character Zach Zucchini from Super Sprowtz may no longer appeal teenagers. The key here is how to develop a taste for veggies and fruits to children so that they retain it once they are older.
The responsibility of feeding vegetables to children also falls on the shoulders of parents. Melton mentioned that parents could also encourage young kids to eat vegetables by setting examples. Letting kids prepare their fruits and vegetables is also an effective way of making them appreciate such type of foods. Lastly, growing a small home garden is also a great way to introduce vegetables to children at a young age.
Inspired by consumer.healthday.com