By Kevin Dietmeyer, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student
What’s your favorite brand?
Even if you’re a purist who avoids falling prey to the superficial trap that is ‘name brand’, you undoubtedly still have a brand you’re more inclined to purchase. There is something in your closet, pantry, garage or drawer that is name brand. It’s interesting that when something is untarnished and fresh out of the package it’s ‘brand’ new. There’s nothing quite like having a product that is brand new, and there’s nothing quite like your favorite brand.
Your kids have favorite brands too! That’s why more than 80% of U.S. grocery products are branded1. Brands create buzz and buzz creates culture and trends. Celery will always be celery and, unfortunately, it’s hard to create buzz and a brand around celery. As a parent, you’re up against a marketing machine built to push your kids in the direction of trendy processed foods and away from fresh ingredients.
Food marketing is effective and there are a few things you can learn from it that you can use in your own home to ‘market’, healthy and nutritious foods to your kids.
Create Buzz: Creating buzz is all about word of mouth. A lot of it. So, what’s for dinner? Have a plan for the week and start a household conversation about what will be for dinner over the next seven days. It’s a great idea to post a 3-day or even 7-day dinner menu at home where everyone can see it. This will start a conversation, and create anticipation for dinnertime.
Cultivate Consistency: Consistency is key and that’s especially true in when it comes to nutrition. If your nutrition is on for one week and off for the next, your health will reflect that. Your kids need to see fresh ingredients coming through the front door and landing on the table for dinner consistently. Part of what makes marketing so effective is that it’s relentless. Be relentless when it comes to eating right. Choose a variety of fresh ingredients that have an expiration date on them and use them relentlessly.
Create a Trend: Trends are powerful because they appeal to the part of your brain that says, ‘Everyone else is doing it’. We’re wired to gravitate in the direction of the majority and if you can create majority influence in your home, you’ll have something trendy. Eating healthy is hard when you’re doing it all alone but if you can get everyone on board, it’s a breeze. Get everyone involved from the selection of ingredients, to shopping, to preparation, and for goodness sake eat together.
- Story M, French S. Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2004;1:3. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-1-3.