Who Says You Can’t Sell Broccoli to Kids?

Food growers can have kids “eating out of their hands” and it does not have to be rocket science, new survey says

Want kids to start begging for your brand of salad? Or to be crunching on your carrots? And slugging down glasses of your brand of milk?

Healthy food providers need to do what packaged food manufacturers have been doing for years, and it isn’t rocket science, says a new study…they should be marketing to kids.

Researchers from Cornell, Brian Wansink, David Just, Collin Payne, and Matthew Klinger ran a few simple, yet provocative studies that indicate making minor changes, like giving veggies a fun name, can make a big difference.

Carrots, broccoli and green beans were given creative names at 5 ethnically and economically diverse schools serving 147 8-11 years olds. On the first and last days, they remained unnamed. On the second, they were referred to as “X-ray vision carrots”. The difference: a whopping 66% of “X-ray vision carrots” were eaten versus 32% of the vegetable, when labeled “Food of the Day”, though kids were given the same thing.

Broccoli at the schools was renamed “Power Punch Broccoli” and “Tiny Tasty Tree Tops” and green beans got a makeover as “Silly Dilly Green Beans”. Researchers looked at food sales over two months in two neighboring NYC suburban schools. For the first month, both schools offered unnamed food items. On the second month they were referenced with the fun names at the treatment school. Of the 1,552 students involved 47.8% attended the treatment school. Vegetable purchases went up by 99% in the treatment school, while in the other school vegetable sales declined by 16%.

The experiment proves, small, yet fun changes can make a big difference.

What’s next? Partnerships with growers and the hugely popular Annoying Orange and Pear (the eighth most subscribed and 30th most viewed, with more than 2,000,000 subscribers on YouTube). Might not be such a bad idea…

Anyone for garden gnome spears (asparagus) washed down with a glass of MOOO-licious milk tonight for dinner?

Photo Credit: Alice Henneman

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