In her time as First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama has made fitness and health a major priority, so it was no surprise when she announced that the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) have joined forces with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in kids. The First Lady said that the two year program is designed to make it easier for parents to sell kids on foods that are good for them by using Sesame Street characters. Growers, suppliers and retailers that are members of PMA will be allowed to use the characters to promote their products — free of charge.
Sure, the Sesame Street characters will be competing with countless other characters from children’s shows that litter the food aisles, but at least this gives the items that are good for them a fair shot. The First Lady’s prediction – she was quoted in a press release as saying, “Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips” – leaves me optimistic. This plan will probably work best with families who go grocery shopping together so that kids can see the characters first hand on the displays; children who don’t go shopping with their parents will still benefit, since they can see the characters on the packaging when they get home.
There’s still the issue of what the children are eating when they’re not at home; whether it’s cookies that were brought to school for a classmate’s birthday or the chips at their friend’s house after school, the temptation is going to be there. This program simply gives fruits and vegetables a fair shot as being seen in the same category as brands who have a large budget to invest in licenses and marketing partnerships.
My niece, who loves The Little Mermaid, does not like to have her hair brushed, but give her a dingelhopper (a.k.a. a brush with a plastic fork molded on the back) and it’s a bit more bearable. Kids are often influenced by their favorite characters, so why not wield that power in a way that benefits them? There will still be flavors and textures that they may not like, but this program makes it much more likely that they’ll find out for themselves. The Sesame Street fan in me says that Elmo will certainly like this. [Source]