Nickelodeon Adds more Character-branded Fruit and Veggies

NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) here has teamed with two new healthy foods partners. New national deals with General Mills' Green Giant brand and Pandol Bros., Inc. will bring the company's popular characters to frozen and canned vegetables and fresh grapes, all of which are due to hit major grocery stores across the country in late summer.

In 2005 Nickelodeon began licensing its most popular characters for use on fruit and vegetable packages to help kids make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. Since then, the company has expanded the initiative to encompass spinach, carrots, darling clementines, cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, raisins, and organic edamame.

A recent Nickelodeon study has found that children are more likely to ask for fruits and veggies in the supermarket today than in 1998. Among kids ages 6 to 14, 38 percent ask for fruits and vegetables in the supermarket today, while seven years ago it was just 6 percent.

"Adding Green Giant and Pandol Bros., Inc. to our healthy foods partnerships is a huge milestone for Nickelodeon," noted Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products president Leigh Anne Brodsky in a statement.

Starting this month, Pandol Bros., Inc. will distribute SpongeBob SquarePants branded packages of Mexican-harvested grapes to grocery stores and warehouse clubs. SpongeBob SquarePants packages of United States-grown seedless grapes will start to ship in July when they come into season. Pandol has also acquired the rights to produce Dora the Explorer and "Go, Diego, Go!" branded products.

Nickelodeon has also committed over $30 million and 10 percent of its non-programmed airtime to health-and-wellness messaging, as well as awarding about $2.5 million in grants and through its "Let's Just Play Giveaway" to schools and after-school programs to help provide resources for increased physical play.

The network's "Let's Just Play" pro-social initiative, now in its fifth year, is a multimedia campaign that helps children recapture the spirit and benefits of active play for themselves and their communities.
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