As a food service professional, marketing your school nutrition program can be intimidating and seem impossible at times, like juggling eight flaming swords while riding a unicycle down a hill. It doesn’t have to be that hard. We want to show you how better understanding your audience, outlets, and content can take your school’s or district’s child nutrition program to the next level. In this blog we’re going to make things simple so that you can have more time to focus on food service things while still marketing your school nutrition program.
When marketing your school nutrition program, there are two important target audiences to understand.
- The first audience you want to consider is the parents. Especially for younger children, parents play an enormous role in what their children eat. When marketing to these parents, you want to communicate the messages of fresh and healthy as frequently as possible. If the parents know their children will be taken care of at school with fresh and healthy meals, they will not need to bother packing a lunch for their kids every day. It’s a win-win situation for both the parents and the school. The parents save time, the children eat healthy, and participation in the school lunch program increases.
- The second audience to consider when marketing your school nutrition program is the children at the school. The message you want to communicate to kids is how tasty the meals are. Chances are, kids don’t care whether or not meals are fresh, healthy, or organic. All they care about is how good the food tastes. Most of the marketing for children is done by serving delicious meals, but there are still plenty of ways you can promote your school nutrition program by using that key insight.
After understanding the two audiences to target and what messages to communicate, let’s now look at the different outlets to communicate with your students and parents. An outlet is any platform or medium that can be used to communicate a message to your audiences.
- Social Media for parents
It’s no surprise that social media is on the top of our list. The majority of Americans have at least one social media profile. And most of them probably have more than one. If you want to reach the parents of the kids in your school to market your school nutrition program, social media is a great place to start. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great avenues for reaching these parents.
- Morning Announcements for students
Do you have morning announcements at your school? Why not mention your nutrition program every once in a while. If you don’t have morning announcements, don’t worry, read below to see other ways to promote your program.
- Email for parents
Billions of emails are sent out every day and just about everybody uses it. The best part about email? It’s absolutely free! No matter your marketing budget for your school or district, email is an essential part of marketing that everyone needs to be utilizing, especially for marketing your school nutrition program
- School Newsletter for parents
Parents want to know what’s going on in their children’s schools, and emailing a newsletter is a great way to do that. The entire newsletter does not have to be about the school nutrition program, but it’s important to have a section talking about new things going on like the amount of meals served or any new Nutrition Programs like Farm to School.
- Computer screensavers / television screens for students
If your school or district has television screens and computers, you can use them to market your school nutrition program. You can create a fun image to be displayed on both your computer screens and televisions for all students to see. This may take some time to get the graphics created and implemented, but the exposure you will receive on a daily basis is well worth the time and effort.
- Assemblies for students
Assemblies are a great way to educate children about nutrition and benefits of eating healthy through the school nutrition program. Just remember to keep it fun for the students!
- Print Material for students and parents
Print media is always a great way to increase participation in the school nutrition program. With our Marketing Kit, you can easily print out posters, staff announcements, and even marketing planners to keep you organized. If you want to make your own marketing materials and graphics, here are a few simple tools to get you started:
It’s really important to have a good understanding of these first two marketing components before we can move any further. Take some time to digest the material and begin thinking about how the concepts apply specifically to what you want to accomplish as a food service professional. In part two of this blog, we will use what we learned from part one in order to start creating the content for your school or district to market your school nutrition program. Check back soon for part two and we’ll give you some great content ideas that will transform your school nutrition program.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post to gain more insight in the content you should be using to market your School Nutrition Program!