Childhood obesity is a national epidemic. And brands are finally starting to be held accountable for their role.

 

From my seat, I’m singing hallelujah. When my daughter was little, I was one of the more health conscious moms. That meant giving my daughter Earth’s Best: the ONE brand of healthy baby food that was available. Making sure she actually ate was my health priority. I really believed that chicken fingers and juice were a win.

 

Now, millennial moms have SO many healthy choices for their kids it’s almost overwhelming. And they have unlimited access to healthy food information both in-store and online. As a result, even legacy brands are cleaning up their acts. Gerber keeps adding products to its organic line. Cheerios, which were already naturally gluten-free, updated their production facilities so they’d be able to guarantee that no stray gluten got into their products. Now gluten-free is part of their marketing platform and is stamped literally all over their boxes.

 

Brands are slowly starting to catch on: KNOWING what’s in food leads to FEELING good about buying it.

 

This is a huge  marketing opportunity. Here are some insights for ready and willing brands:

 

  1. Build a relationship with your consumers early. Like really early.

    Our next generation of influencers aren’t even walking yet. In his book Good Food Today, Great Food Tomorrow, famed pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon states that “the eating habits we give our kids at 6 months and right into their toddler years stick with them their whole years. It’s an incredible long term investment.” While this book is geared for parents, I suspect marketers could really benefit as well. Your brand could get AHEAD of the trend now.

 

  1. Make parents love you, not hate you

    Grocery shopping is hard enough for moms. Make it harder for them and they might  resent you. Think about it. We’ve all witnessed a kid swiping sugary food into their shopping cart. Mom gives in “just this once” due to sheer exhaustion. Marketing to kids just plain works. But does it have to have such a negative cost? Kids who see unhealthy food marketing are more likely to eat more, even when they’re not hungry. The good news is that the opposite could also work. YOUR BRAND could be the one responsible for inspiring kids to eat better. That would make parents love you. And you might feel pretty good too.

 

  1. Get kids excited about healthy food

    Brands like Coca Cola and Powerade are getting dinged (and rightly so) for associating their sugar-heavy products with healthy behaviors. Thus, creating the illusion that their product is actually healthy. So who is going to be the brand that gets kids excited about healthy food and healthy behaviors. Will it be yours? Check out this video about kids copying other kids eat fruits and vegetables. How’s that for influence?

 

Bottom line: when moms feel good about giving YOUR brand to THEIR family, they begin to trust you. Being welcomed into a millennial mom’s shopping cart, fridge, pantry and heart is not an easy feat. Once you make your way in, you just might be there to stay.