PMA, NACS Announce eat brighter! Collaboration

Sesame Street characters could lead to “monster” sales of fruits and vegetables in convenience stores.

4/2/2019

Newark, Del., and Alexandria, Va.  –  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 among 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.  PMA has recently announced a similar collaboration with the National Grocers Association (NGA) expanding the number of retailers with access to this consumer facing marketing opportunity. 

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% more fruits and vegetables when promoted by a Sesame Street character, and suppliers who have utilized the eat brighter! materials report produce sales increased 5.3%.

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% 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.”

About Produce Marketing Association
Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit www.pma.com.

About eat brighter!™
The eat brighter! movement (pma.com/eatbrighter) aims to change the trajectory of childhood obesity by using the iconic Sesame Street brand and characters to encourage kids 2-5 and their parents to choose and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Character marketing, including use of Big Bird, Elmo and their monster friends, can enhance demand for fresh produce, benefitting kids, their families, retailers and produce suppliers.

About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is an independent nonprofit organization on a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder.