Treat yourself

06/10/2016 - 17:12
As even Olympic athletes are spotted lining up to reward themselves with fast food, Gail Walker from Open Door PR considers the persuasive pull of ‘treat food’.

With our current medal tally the estimated cost of each Team GB Olympic medal is £5.7 million. It would be interesting to compare this cost to the price paid by major Olympic food sponsors to assess what value they place on being associated with this global phenomenon.

There’s no doubt from a PR viewpoint, the scenes of professional sportspeople queuing up for free McDonald’s at the Olympics is a win-win situation for these brands. It’s also a strong reflection of our ‘food as reward’ culture, which continues to permeate and grow ever stronger.

With obesity being touted as a national crisis, it’s interesting to see how far this treat culture has become entrenched into regular eating habits. If even super-human athletes can’t withhold from the draw of fast food, then what chance do us mere mortals stand?

As kids go back to school this month, there are several opportunities for foodservice to positively influence what they eat and improve nutritional intake. Most dietary regulation is targeted at school meals, with packed lunches yet to conform to the same high standards.

A recent study by the Children’s Food Trust, for example, found the average packed lunch serves up more than a six-year-old’s entire daily sugar limit.

With a continuous drive for better school food, creating nutritious meals for children is a unique task. A thought echoed by our latest client; The Healthy Food Company ‘Nanna Kay’s. Director Donna Tresadern notes the trend for low fat, although seen as a healthy option, is often inappropriate for children.

She adds: “As a society, adults have generally converted to a low fat, low calorie culture yet children need just the opposite. Within foodservice, school meals are sometimes created by simply making an adult meal and then reducing the size of the portion to make it fit a smaller appetite.

“Recognising that children need all sorts of good fats and good calories is paramount to providing optimum nutrition for children within schools.”

While a choice of dining options continues to exist within schools, providing nutritious food alone is never going to be enough. Creativity and innovation in school meal marketing is fundamentally key to successfully delivering fuller uptake figures and higher sales.

There are lots of exciting and compliant concept food companies on the market to consider, each offering nutritious yet stimulating tastes and textures.

Equally the power of in-school marketing campaigns such as competitions, and clever use of digital technology and social media will help secure much needed engagement from children, parents and staff.

Shrewd and strategic marketing is proven to help food service operators overcome customer’s desire for the treat option, while having the added bonus of helping to increase the health and wellbeing of the nation.

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