The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced a new collaboration with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), through the eat brighter!™ program that allows participating NACS retailer and supplier members to use Sesame Street character images to promote fruit and vegetable sales.
Eat brighter! is a partnership between the PMA, Sesame Workshop and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) that allows suppliers, distributors and retailers to promote fresh fruits and vegetables with the help of popular Sesame Street character images like Big Bird and Elmo. NACS retailer or supplier members can now pay a one-time administrative fee to gain access to royalty-free images for use on fresh fruit and vegetable packaging and marketing materials.
The eat brighter! program has been available for industry use since March 2014 and has demonstrated a proven track record for success. Research shows that not only is Sesame Street a highly trusted brand with over 6 million viewers each week, it is also a brand that drives consumption of fruits and vegetables. One study showed that children eat 31 percent more fruits and vegetables when promoted by a Sesame Street character, and suppliers who have used the eat brighter! materials report produce sales increased 5.3 percent.
NACS has 1,900 retailer and 1,800 supplier members from more than 50 countries. In 2017, it became the first retail-focused association to sign a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America. Nine NACS retail members and six industry distributors, serving tens of thousands of stores, have also signed commitments with PHA.
“This program could yield enormous benefits for convenience stores and their suppliers. Our own consumer data shows that 60 percent of consumers are more likely to make purchases of snacks that are supported by credible health and nutrition groups,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “Sesame Street, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 through a variety of high-profile events, is one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world.”
At the beginning of the year, Sesame Workshop announced a year long celebration for Sesame Street’s 50-year milestone. The increased attention is good timing for suppliers, retailers, and new partners to take advantage of the Sesame brand recognition.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with NACS on this initiative to change the trajectory of kids’ health and well-being,” said PMA Vice President of Demand Creation and Consumer Affairs Kathy Means. “We know from NACS invaluable research that half of Americans are in and out of convenience stores every day, and having these kid-loved, parent-trusted monsters promoting delicious fresh produce helps parents make the healthy choice the easy choice. Having such a program shows each store’s commitment to their community.”