A summer-long national marketing campaign that challenges summer fitness fans and recreational enthusiasts to consider the banana as one of nature’s best energy sources has its roots in a new study equating America’s best-selling fruit with the most popular sports drinks.
The study, published in May in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, found that bananas provide the same energy boost, more nutrition and no artificial ingredients compared to the leading sports drinks – at about one-third the price.
To leverage this new research, Dole Fresh Fruit, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., is launching Nature’s Original Energy Bar, a national program that encourages banana fans to see the fruit as nutritionally superior to other sources of energy during and after summer exercise and recreation.
Elements of the summer program include digital advertising, radio, in-store, PR and social media elements that reinforce the proven energy- and recovery-inducing qualities of the fruit. Campaign-specific mobile and web pages target banana fans inside and outside the store with nutritional information and healthy, high-energy new summer recipes ranging from fruit bars and smoothies to snacks, salads, sandwiches and entrees.
Launched nationally July 1, the energy-themed initiative is part of Dole’s year-long Go Bananas Every Day campaign designed to make bananas an even bigger part of America’s daily routine. The program is the first to target fitness fans and outdoor enthusiasts in addition to mainstream banana lovers.
“Everyone assumes bananas to be one of nature’s best, most efficient energy sources, but until this study, a direct comparison of bananas to sports drinks had never been undertaken,” says David Bright, vice president of marketing for Dole Fresh Fruit. “Now that we’ve proven once and for all that bananas are a superior natural energy source, it made sense to devote our summer program to the good news.”
In the study, “Bananas vs. Sports Drinks as an Energy Source for Athletes,” researchers at the Dole Nutrition Research Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C., used metabolomics to show that bananas provide fuel to the working muscles just as well as commercially available sports drinks.
The study also reinforced those direct benefits bananas provide that sports drinks can’t: improved blood antioxidant capacity and the vitamins, minerals and fiber needed by athletes to maintain their performance. The first research to directly compare bananas to sports drinks as an energy source, the study is also the first to show that bananas perform as favorably on a metabolic level.
To support the research and related campaign, Dole created the Nature’s Original Energy Bar Adventure Sweepstakes. Participants can enter on the DOLE Bananas Facebook page for their chance to win the high-energy adventure trip of their choice. One of the most popular Facebook pages in the produce industry, Dole’s dedicated banana page has more than 530,000 fans.
Nature’s Original Energy Bar