Produce brands seem to be on the march (perhaps appropriate, given the month).
Along with last week's launch of the Partnership for a Healthier America's celebrity-studded campaign for fruits and vegetables (now branded "FNV"), there was news of produce and other organic brands taking on misleading "natural" claims and non-organic farming with satiric videos.
In the latest development, Bolthouse Farms — producer of fresh carrots, juices and other products, and one of the backers of the FNV marketing push — has now also launched its own new "Fruit & Veggie Takeover" social media initiative.
The brand is challenging social media users to post and tag a total of 1 million images of fruit and vegetables per day for a week, starting March 2.
While users are encouraged to tag images with #urwhatupost, those tagged with other specific fruit- and veggie-related hashtags, like #veggies and #berries, are also counting toward the daily challenge tallies. The campaign's site provides a list of the eligible-for-counting hashtags.
The idea is to counterbalance the surfeit of unhealthy food images posted on social media each day, and so help inspire healthier eating habits. "We believe that by sharing more images of fruits and veggies online, we can inspire better food choices offline,” summed up Bolthouse Farms CMO Suzanne Ginestro.
To back its logic, Bolthouse references a Harris Interactive survey that found that more than half of Americans who use social media agree that seeing photos of fruits and vegetables motivates them to eat healthier.
The brand also cites the tallies from an online "Food Porn Index" that it launched last year. The index tracks the number of "healthy" (fruit and vegetables) posts versus the number of what Bolthouse defines as "unhealthy" posts (those about desserts, candy, donuts, chips and similar snacks, butter, burgers, bacon and more).
The tracking found that on average, more than 1.7 million food hashtags are posted per day, and only 37% feature fruits and vegetables. Other factoids revealed: The most popular "unhealthy" hashtags are #pie and #icecream, which spiked in the summer and holiday months; while the most frequently posted healthy hashtags are #berry and #potato. Also, unhealthy posts spike on Saturdays, while healthy ones have their highest frequency on Mondays.
On the first day of the challenge, the total hashtagged fruit and vegetable posts fell a bit short of the daily goal, at 874,241.
But the brand is driving participation with digital banners on The Huffington Post and USA Today during the week, as well as frequent posts on its social channels.
Asked if there's a "payoff" for challenge participants, a brand spokesman replied: "The best one of all: better nutrition and health!"