Broccoli needs a better marketing team!

I was walking down the street towards my house this evening and I was following a woman with her son. They were having a conversation about what he was going to have for dinner. It went something like this…

Mom: Your father and I are going to have stir fry. You can have pasta.

Kid: Yuck…I don’t want pasta.

Mom: Well, I was going to give you macaroni and cheese…

Kid: Mmm, I’ll eat that instead.English: its broccoli

Mom: Well, macaroni IS pasta!?!

The whole conversation, brief as it was, got me thinking. When I was a kid there were a few things that I wouldn’t eat based on their names alone. Eggplant…as if. What an unappetizing name! Baba Ganoush…ya, I don’t think so. Hummus…we learned about that in science I think, sounds dirty. This kid was put off by the word “pasta”, not even realizing that macaroni is pasta. It just has a way cooler name. So cool that the one weekend we babysat my niece and nephew, my nephew

refused to answer to any name except ‘macaroni’.

Accompanying these thoughts was the light musing that if it was marketed properly, will a kid eat nearly anything? With all the bombardments of flashy advertising kids face from sugary treat companies, it is surprising that they eat any vegetables at all. ( Stop me if I start to sound like a disgruntled grandparent…too late? Oh well.) If only cauliflower had a campaign team! Why don’t string beans have a mascot? A bag of brussel sprouts with a decoder ring inside! Would a little bit of advertising make kids beg mom to put a broccoli crown into the cart? It could easily be only about taste, but I bet that some of it is a prejudice inherent in many children against the words ‘healthy’ and ‘vegetables’. What do you think?


About msjenniferwalker

I'm a Jenn of all trades, as long as they are creative and fulfilling. I'm an actress, writer, photographer and all around social person. I love to learn, travel, meet new people and have new experiences.

Posted on December 16, 2011, in musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. If people, primarily children, weren’t bombarded with all those fast food TV commercials, showing kids frolicking in the woods with a cheeseburger in their hands, and showing children eating healthy foods like broccoli, then there might be some kind of shift in all peoples’ mental attitude about healthy food. A portion of my autobiography focuses on that exact point of how junk food is looked at, through the help of the media, as something positive and socially acceptable. It took me a long time as well to shift over to healthy eating. I love my organic broccoli but I’m not sure my family and friends do when it brings about some gaseous vapors lol jkjkjk….Great post and blog:))

  2. lol It’s all true but maybe as parents we should set the exemple and not always give a second meal choice to children. It’s funny because my daughter just loves brocoli and coliflower but don’t worry she is normal and there is other food she doesn’t like as well 😉

    • I TOTALLY agree…when the mom said she was making her son something different I was thinking about when I was his age (9 ish). My mom pretty much said, you eat it or you go hungry. Now that I’m an adult, I agree with her philosophy.

  3. not only that, but even children’s books tend to gravitate to that marketing. Ex: i remember reading kids books where the child character hated brocoli or peas or some form of veggie. and thus I hated them. Granted I believe taste buds can grow with time. I used to hate onions and now love them! I used to hate peppers and now love them! I used to hate spinach and now love it!

    I remember a family oriented friend of mine saying how they hd kids and that their reactions dictated how the kid reacted. This kid ran through a pan of glass at a hotel by accident and got severaly cut up. But the parents (although freaking internally) remained calm and told their kid it was ok and the just had to go to the hospital for a quick check up and the kid didn’t freak out or cry. Our reactions dictate the younger – as well our eating habits. As an adult, I wish my parents had never introduced me to fast food restaurants, chips, or pop. Of course other society would intro that to kids – but if it’s not a staple at home, it’s less likely to be consumed. Ex: We never at pickles at home – everyone thought they were gross thus I thought they were gross. Even though the girl up the street from me loved the taste of pickles like her family did. to this day I still dislike pickles…..

    • I agree, parents need to lead by example. If they are sitting there chowing down on cheesburgers most of the time but trying to make the kid want to eat spinach, it’s going to be an uphill battle!
      Ps- I STILL hate onions. hehehe

  4. I love the bag of broccoli with the decoder ring inside! I agree with all of the comments (and don’t understand why he was getting something different). I can’t say why but I’ve always loved fruits and veggies and my kids do too. My mistake was not actually teaching them how to cook it, my older do not eat well at all. Additonally, the older the get the more crap they seemed to be exposed to. Does the high school really need a soda machine in every hallway?

    • Agreed! I read an article once where a school put only healthy options in their vending machines and found that the items sold just as well. I can’t remember where it was from, but I think that all schools should try it. And not just ALSO putting those options, but replacing the terrible ones. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  5. I was surprised when my 2 year old nephew ate hummus and pretzels with me! He was taking huge scoops of it….he kept telling me he loves chips and dip.

    • That’s so cute! I wonder if you had of corrected him, telling him it was healthier than chips and dip, and called pretzels and hummus if his reaction would have changed…do you think it would have?

  6. I think the adults have this reversed – the macaroni/pasta and cheese should be the adults-only food. Like alcohol, extremely spicy foods, etc., macaroni and cheese is dangerous – perhaps it should be seen as such? Only then the situation might get worse: kids desiring “adult” foods, then completely binging on them when they reach the right age. (18 in Quebec)

    I eat broccoli, spinach, lettuce and various others with no dressing at all. This is very unusual amongst adults, but often when a vegetable is served to kids, they are often given it completely plain. This is quite flavourless, and no matter what marketing is attempted, this is evident to the kids in comparison to a lot of other prepared meals. The better approach is to look into Asian techniques for preparing vegetables and find ways to add flavour to compliment the often quite bitter tastes of these excellent vegetables. In this case a stir fry would be excellent.

    The only way forward I see is regulation and taxation to make sure that the macaroni and cheese costs more than the broccoli. Similarly the amount of sugar in bread should increase the cost of the bread. I would like to see the following price structure:
    1. (cheapest) raw ingredients
    2. (affordable) prepared food products that meet nutritional and ingredient standards
    3. (very expensive, big decision items) prepared food containing no nutritional value and with low grade ingredients

    Of course this would create a furious uproar in the food business, but isn’t that what a good government is there for?

    • lol That would cause an incredible uproar! Not only in the food business, but among unhealthy eaters all over the country. Imagine the amount of people all going through withdrawal, or emptying their bank accounts so they can stock up on twinkies!

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