Complaints about the way food and beverages are promoted to kids are so common these days, it’s almost surprising to come across a positive report on this topic. But earlier this week, the story about physicians giving ‘coupons’ to their patients, especially children, surfaced in the New York Times. Instead of writing prescriptions for medication, several Massachusetts-based physicians are giving coupons worth $1 to use at local farmers’ markets. Gus Schumacher, of the industry nonprofit group Wholesome Wave, hopes the idea of ‘prescription product’ will allow farmers’ markets "to become like a fruit and vegetable pharmacy for at-risk families.”
The Massachusetts project isn’t the only effort taking place to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. According to a report in The Packer, Dole has launched a “child-friendly marketing campaign called “Go Bananas After Dark”. Produce marketers may be taking note of the successful tie-in that took place between The Vidalia Onion Committee and Shrek: Forever After movie this summer.
While produce marketers typically use both traditional and online media to appeal to the adults who purchase food, more companies are targeting children. These companies have a couple of goals in mind. First, they need to “develop a solid base of consumers” for the future. They can also enjoy social approval as they join the nationwide push to reduce childhood obesity and improve eating habits.[Sources: Singer, Natasha. “Eat an Apple (Doctor’s Orders). New York Times. 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Aug. 2010; Cabie, Susie. Campaigns focus on reaching kids early. The Packer.com. 6 Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Aug. 2010]