Making fruit and veg ‘fun’ encourages children to eat healthy
By making such foods ‘fun,’ researchers discovered that children ate more carrots after having been read a story about rabbits and carrots, for example, and even more when the story was supported by use of props.
The study – published in the journal ‘Appetite’ – is hoped to inspire UK food brands and retailers to play their part and help make fruit and veg fun and engaging for children.
Patrick Limpus from fruit and veg toddler snack brand, Googly Fruit Organic, commented: “It won’t come as a surprise to parents to hear that story-telling can encourage children to eat certain foods, but it’s great to have this notion supported by solid research in a respected journal.
“When we launched Googly Fruit Organic, this was essentially the basis on which the brand was built, and we created a host of cheeky fruit and veg characters through which to talk to kids.
“We use them on our packaging, in our ABC books, our activity books, and with our funny Googly eyes which kids love to stick on fruit and veg on, to bring them to life.
“Together, this media helps children think of fruit and veg as fun and they become part of play time rather than the centre of parent/ children battles over what they should be eating. By starting this fun conversation with kids at an early age, we hope we can have a positive impact on their longer term eating habits.
“Googly Fruit Organic’s ethos is all about helping kids make a lifelong friendship with fruit and veg and we’ve really enjoyed starting this conversation with children themselves. It’s a lot of fun and easier than talking nutrition with parents, which means we’re engaging with our end consumers rather than their parents.
“This research indicates that we might be onto something commercially viable too, and it feels like an underdeveloped strategy across the market.
“It’s not just individual brands that I believe could benefit from this kind of approach. There’s room for retailers to follow suit - perhaps using storyboards within stores to help build a fun theme around fruit and veg.
“Most retailers tell stories around where many of their ‘adult’ foods come from, such as free-range or outdoor reared meats. Perhaps it’s time to cater for much younger consumers in a similar way?”