'eat brighter!' Suppliers Seeing Fruitful Gains

A growing presence of the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) eat brighter! branding initiative is yielding fruitful sales gains, according to results from a recent survey administered by the Newark, Del.-based trade group.

Seventy-eight percent of suppliers reported an increase in sales of products branded with eat brighter! during Q3 2015, per the study results, which also found increased activity during the period among grower-shippers and promotional boards that have adopted the kid-friendly promotional messaging.

“More products branded with eat brighter! translates into more opportunities for kids and families to experience eat brighter! in stores,” said PMA President Cathy Burns. “This rise in products branded with eat brighter! also means more opportunities for suppliers to engage buyers. The greater participation we have across all links of the supply chain to permeate the marketplace with positive fruit and vegetable messages — both brand-building promotions and universal efforts like eat brighter! — the more we’ll succeed at reframing fruits and vegetables in the minds of consumers.”

Among the other highlights of PMA's recent survey:

  • Q3 eat brighter! sales continue to track at a 3 percent average increase in sales year-over-year, as reported by participating suppliers. The movement’s success has led to the extension of the program through 2018 and also expansion into Mexico, allowing produce marketers, retailers, school foodservice and promotional organizations that sell product there to participate.  
  • Avocados From Mexico (AFM), which represents more than 75 percent of the U.S. avocado market, is among the promotional boards that saw its eat brighter! materials approved for market in Q3. AFM's reach demonstrates commodity boards’ important role in advancing the eat brighter! movement. In return, the boards’ participation in eat brighter! bolsters their marketing toolkits with additional avenues for their message.

“Avocados From Mexico is very excited to be partnering with eat brighter! The ability to associate the brand with the 'Sesame Street' characters provides us with a powerful platform to engage with moms and kids and deliver messaging around the nutritional benefits of avocados and also provide avocado education,” said Stephanie Bazan, AFM's market development director. “We plan to leverage this valuable asset to reinforce our brand while providing avocado education at the point of sale when they are making their shopping decision. We will also be promoting nutrition and avocado education messaging through social [and] digital channels and public relations efforts that are engaging to both general-market and Hispanic audiences.”

Other commodity boards leveraging the eat brighter! reach include:

  • California Avocado Commission
  • Mushroom Council
  • Pear Bureau Northwest
  • Peruvian Avocado Commission
  • Potatoes New Brunswick
  • U.S. Potato Board

“Promotional boards like Avocados From Mexico and these others reach suppliers through their membership, retailers through their marketing efforts, and consumers through their direct outreach,” said Burns. “They embrace marketing as a discipline by engaging the supply chain and leveraging promotions, in this case, eat brighter!. These industry groups represent an important link in the supply chain for promotional reach to advance consumption.”

The recent study found that the seven participating commodity boards distributed eat brighter! promotional materials to 159 companies. The survey also noted that 37 grower-shippers distributed eat brighter! product to more than 160 retailers and distributors.

Launched in March 2014, eat brighter! is a unique partnership between PMA and Sesame Workshop forged by the Partnership for a Healthier America as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, with the goal of increasing kids’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The eat brighter! initiative grants produce industry members access to "Sesame Street" character images royalty-free in their go-to-market strategies.


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