Some Carrots with Your Crabby Patties

Discussion
Jul 15, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Will SpongeBob SquarePants be more successful than Popeye in getting kids to eat their spinach?

Poseidon’s favorite fry cook always says that the secret ingredient in his famous crabby patties is love. But, even SpongeBob would admit that one cannot live by crabby patties alone and now the animated star of the little and big screen is taking that message to kids as he adorns the bags of branded vegetables and fruit sold in food stores.

USA Today reports that a licensing deal between the children’s television network Nickelodeon and Boskovich Farms, Grimmway Farms and LGS Specialty Sales is a response to rising concerns over childhood obesity.

“At Nickelodeon … what’s good for kids is good for business,” says Sherice Torres, head of Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. “When we heard rumblings of the rising obesity issue, we wanted to be part of the solution.”

Moderator’s Comment: How big a role can the food industry
play in getting kids to eat healthier?

We couldn’t help but think that all the efforts by the
food industry to help curb childhood obesity are going to be for naught when
we considered the recent study which showed parents of overweight or obese children
had no plans to make lifestyle changes to help their kids slim down
.

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

6 Comments on "Some Carrots with Your Crabby Patties"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Create a fad diet that’s actually healthy? Brilliant, I love it. Making it sound cool is what it’s all about. There is no end of evidence – real and anecdotal – that kids love most the foods that should only be taken in the smallest doses. Also that parents – for a whole bunch of reasons, some better than others – are not teaching the right lessons. Ditto schools. All of which is compounded by the food industry, like it or not. By definition, equations can only be solved if both sides are equal. Getting everyone on board to agree to the same goals, with kids as the equalising factor, is a challenge that can absolutely be met but has to be tackled willingly. You cannot expect kids to learn without support or good examples being set for them. It isn’t just a matter of personal responsibility, it’s a matter of communal and societal responsibility. We can do it if we try.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 7 months ago
Can’t hurt, but I doubt it’ll make any real difference. Kids TV has long sent a mixed message; characters telling kids to eat right, commercials and other characters touting the salty and sweet. In my experience–currently consisting of three kids between ages 3 and 9–kids in the SpongeBob years are driven by one thing: taste. (OK, a little texture at play too.) They like it, they eat it; they don’t like it, they won’t. It doesn’t seem to matter much what package it comes in, or what it looks like. If they really like it, they will eat a LOT of it. The marketing they do respond to is for toys. So McDonald’s Happy Meals, which include a toy, could consist of spinach patties with a side of worms and my kids would demand them. They wouldn’t eat the food, of course, but they would go hungry for the experience of actually finding a toy in your food. So it’s great that SpongeBob is hawking vegetables. But until SpongeBob and Patrick are actually IN the… Read more »
Rick Moss
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

This initiative by Nickelodeon does show a bit of gumption. Considering their reliance on ad dollars from major manufacturers marketing to kids, it must be making their ad sales folks a little sweaty under the collars. However, the decision to support healthful food choices, rather than making a critical statement against the products that have been under fire, seems like a reasonable way to go. Nick is sending a message that parents and their kids should be more aware of healthy foods and snacks, but that other foods are OK if consumed within a balanced offering. It says, “Let’s educate kids and make healthy choice look cool, and then let the market decide.”

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Perhaps the vegetables could be stamped out in cartoon character shapes, similar to Animal Crackers or Apha Bits. But they have to be crunchy, not mushy!

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Kids, like their parents, crave things that are salty, sweet, crunchy, and/or have certain oily/greasy aromas. Kids, like their parents, don’t like things that are mushy or have certain pungent aromas (sulphur, for example). Spinach was never very popular, regardless of Popeye’s endorsement.

The best model for getting people to eat a certain way is the diet fad industry. Celebrities who are looked up to for their attractiveness combine with alleged medical facts, publicized by books, articles, recipes, endorsements and publicity in upscale media, create demand for fad diets. After 1 to 3 years, the audience finds a new celebrity/medical science combination to chase. Sometimes the medical endorsement is by a charismatic leader/scientist/doctor, which strengthens the publicity.

The food industry can create fad diets that are actually healthy, using the same publicity/positioning/propaganda techniques. The problem is that a cartoon character can’t do it alone. A scientific food label can’t do it alone. The effort requires upscale celebrity, medical/science PR, and upscale media simultaneously.

ashish jandial
Guest
ashish jandial
15 years 7 months ago

I think the fundamental issue is the effort we as parents and our schools are willing to put behind ensuring that our children get a healthy diet. The convenience of junk foods and the fact that kids will happily consume fries, candies and soda is a known challenge. The sooner we wake up to the fact that we can’t blame anybody but ourselves for taking the easier way out, the better. We will need to lead by example before we expect our children to develop healthy food habits.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Will SpongeBob SquarePants be more successful than Popeye in getting kids to eat their spinach?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...