PMA Offers Online Kid-Friendly Resource

NEWARK, Del. -- The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) here is now offering a variety kid-friendly information on fresh fruits and vegetables, right where kids are most likely to find it: online.

"The Kaiser Family Foundation's analysis of online advertising to kids gives us a lot to think about," said PMA president Bryan Silbermann, alluding to results of a new study conducted by the non-profit organization, which found food companies increasingly using the Internet to deepen children's exposure to marketing messages through online games and commercials, blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment.

"We're not at all unlike other marketers, Silbermann said. "We, too, want to reach children early and make them customers for life. Good health for kids and good business for us and our members puts us in a fortunate position -- offering delicious, convenient, healthful foods -- foods all of us need to enjoy more."

At PMA's Web site, kids, parents, and teachers will now be able to access links to fruit and vegetable organizations. "Many members have outstanding resources for kids and teachers that focus on healthful products," Silbermann said. "This simple chart of links provides a one-stop shop for fun information on a wide variety of fresh produce items."

In related news, Nickelodeon yesterday revealed details of new multi-year licensing agreements with Borton & Sons, Reichel Foods and Seapoint Farms to introduce fruits and vegetables featuring popular Nickelodeon characters.

Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants characters will soon begin appearing on branded organic Edamame as part of the network's expanded character licensing program focusing on fresh and packaged produce.

Nickelodeon has also licensed several other characters from its most popular TV shows -- including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Backyardigans and Blue's Clues. The move will further expand its roster of distributors that will begin introducing fruit and vegetable products, including pears, apples, and cherries, with the Nickelodeon characters in supermarkets beginning in September.

In Fall 2005, Nickelodeon in partnership with Grimmway Farms, Boskovich Farms, and LGS Specialty Sales, delighted kids, parents and grocers by bringing SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer to the fresh produce aisle on packages of spinach, baby carrots and clementines.

Luke Sears, president of LGS Specialty Sales, said: "Bringing SpongeBob and Dora to clementine packaging was an instant hit with consumers and resulted in substantial sales increases. Major grocers sold nearly 30 percent more clementines based on the appeal of the Nickelodeon packaging."

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