School-focused programs drive consumer awareness, demand among families and schools
Folsom, Calif., August 25, 2015 – With more parents including their children in the family decision-making process1, appealing to the younger generation at school has become a powerful way to encourage product interest among families and spur consumer demand.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council harnessed this strategy for two recent initiatives, both of which promoted increased awareness of the health and lifestyle benefits of blueberries to stimulate greater interest in blueberries among kids, parents and school foodservice departments. Key results include a 14 percent increase in weekly blueberry purchase intent and conversion of approximately 12,000 households from non-purchasers to purchasers.
Scholastic Program Encourages Blueberries at School and at Home
This spring, the Blueberry Council and program partner Kaleidoscope Youth Marketing promoted blueberries to 100,000 families through interactive educational materials delivered to 351 elementary schools across the United States. Blueberry-themed student activity booklets, posters and parent newsletters with both English and Spanish content informed students and their parents that adding blueberries to their diet is a little change with big rewards. Program flyers also educated school nutrition managers on the availability of low-cost frozen blueberries through the USDA’s school lunch commodity program.
The program packed a punch by effectively influencing households with young children to consider and purchase blueberries more often:
- More than half of parents surveyed reported that blueberries would be top-of-mind during their next grocery store visit
- Half of parents said their kids asked them to buy blueberries afterward
- Schools also responded favorably– 64 percent of administrators surveyed said they would be apt to serve blueberries to students as a result
Blueberry Boot Camp Educates School Foodservice MVPs
Blueberries dominated the curriculum for 16 school foodservice representatives from the country’s largest districts who joined the Blueberry Council at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in Napa Valley, July 18-20, experimenting with blueberries and learning how adding them to school menus is a little change with big benefits. These attendees are responsible for serving more than 845,000 school meals at 1,300 schools each day. Also in attendance were four food and parenting bloggers who shared the lessons with approximately 1.4 million consumers via social media, stoking blueberry demand at the peak of North America’s blueberry season.
High Marks for Blueberries
With school-aged kids consuming more fruit than any previous generation2, the Blueberry Council’s commitment to increasing demand for blueberries by growing interest in families and schools is still going strong.
“By teaching kids that blueberries are tasty, fun and healthy, we encourage them to request blueberries on their family’s grocery list, send more consumers into stores and drive healthier habits for every member of the family,” said Mark Villata, executive director of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “And by charging schools to take advantage of programs that provide blueberries and include them on menus, we help ensure healthier food choices are available in the cafeteria as well as around the family dining table.”
The School and Boot Camp programs are just two of dozens the Blueberry Council implements each year to encourage blueberry purchases. For more information on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s research and promotion efforts, visit littlebluedynamos.com and ridethebluewave.com.
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at littlebluedynamos.com.
- Packaging Digest, “The undeniable influence of kids” http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/undeniable-influence-kids
- Produce for Better Health Foundation/NPD Group, “2015 State of the Plate Report” http://www.pbhfoundation.org/pdfs/about/res/pbh_res/State_of_the_Plate_2015_WEB_Bookmarked.pdf