Adult Food Not For Kids

Aug 20, 2002

Novartis-owned Gerber Products is expected to run a two-page ad in Time magazine Monday that promotes better eating choices for babies, The Wall Street Journal reports. “Bad eating habits are learned early,” says the ad, which features the image of a blue-eyed baby boy snapping up a french fry. “Sure, it’s tempting to let your baby eat convenient adult foods. But now is your best opportunity to teach good eating habits,” the ad says.

The new ad was prompted by research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows 13 percent of children aged six to 11 are overweight — almost double the rate of two decades ago. Frank Palantoni, Gerber’s chief executive, notes that about half of children between age two and 18 consume less than one serving of fruit a day.

Gerber will spend one million dollars this year on a promotional campaign that will include ads and educational materials about food choices. The company spent $37.2 million on ads last year, according to CMR, the ad-tracking unit of Taylor Nelson Sofres.

Gerber’s new ad coincides with the launch of a its new product aimed at toddlers, “Lil’ Entrees.” These mini-meals come in microwavable trays.

Moderator Comment: Will the growing media coverage
on the detrimental health effects of obesity have any significant impact on
consumer eating habits?

Awareness always proceeds action. Let’s hope that the
lag is not too great. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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