Making Carrots Sexy: How to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

We’ve all experienced the pull of the vending machine; that Snickers bar sitting there beckoning you to enjoy it’s chocolate-y crunch.  Kids in most schools have to face down the vending machine siren call as they are drawn to sugary sodas, candy, and other “not so great for you” treats.  But two groups of students are trying to do for carrots what marketing has done for that Snickers bar: make them irresistible.

Students in Cincinnati, Ohio and Syracuse, New York have developed packaging for baby carrots featuring lunch size portions with fun labels aimed squarely at the kids.  The food industry is spectacularly good at attractive packaging but they tend to focus their marketing dollars on low nutrient products.  Those also tend to be the items with the highest profit margin.

It’s started to creep into the organic and healthier food options, too.  Clifford the Dog is now hawking my son’s organic breakfast cereal and Stonyfield Farm has come a long way with their organic yogurt products.  It seems to be working, so is this the direction others should follow?  Work with consumer weakness to steer them in the right direction instead of the wrong one?

With the baby carrots, the 3 ounce bags cost only 50 cents and are designed to look similar to a potato chip bag.  Do you think it’ll work?  Does packaging make the difference between a healthy lunch and one devoid of any significant nutrients?

I have to say I think it’s a good idea.  It might seem a little condescending to some but we are visual creatures and we react positively to colorful items that grab our attention while glossing over the ho-hum stuff.  Shouldn’t we just capitalize on human nature to achieve a greater good?

What do you think?  How can you and your family help keep each other healthy?

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