The post-Christmas period often sees consumers tightening their purse strings as well as their belts; however several US food companies are coming up with increasingly inventive methods of persuading snackers to part with their cash.
Pizza Hut pushes politics
Playing on the dual meaning of 'dough' in US vernacular, Pizza Hut has launched an advertising campaign questioning how the major Presidential candidates in the upcoming elections could help save money.
In the new Pizza Mia television advert, the company uses real excerpts of debate footage, spliced together so that the politicians appear to promise to pull consumer prices down.
At the end of the ad, a voiceover chimes in to remind viewers that bearing in mind the importance of low prices; snackers can buy a Pizza Mia product for only $5.
The company also carried out a light-hearted survey entitled the 'Pizza Hut Political Poll' as part of the campaign, during which over 500 consumers were interrogated on issues such as the candidate they think would put "more dough" into their pockets, or indeed which candidate they would prefer to eat pizza with.
Not surprisingly, the results varied according to political persuasion; 29.7 per cent of Democrats favoured Hilary Clinton's money saving skills, while 24 per cent of Republicans leaned more towards Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee was named again in the 'who would you like to share a pizza with' category, as was Barack Obama, although Rudy Giuliani was named as the politician who probably eats the most pizza.
Fruit snacks go interactive
While Pizza Hut's campaign focuses on cost, dried fruit firm Sunsweet Growers has launched an interactive website that encourages consumers to choose healthier snacks after a period of festive indulgence.
The site SunweepSwap.com, described by the firm as "an online initiative that encourages people to swap out their current convenient snacks", features nutritional charts that allow people to compare the fat, sugar and salt content of different snacks.
"For example, the site shows that snacking on four Sunsweet prunes instead of seven pretzels will return 380 milligrams of sodium," said company dietician Carolyn O'Neil. "This swap will also gain an additional two grams of fibre, seven times the potassium and almost nine times the amount of antioxidants."
However, the site is designed to be more than an information source, and browsers can print out a personal nutrient table, or even play an interactive quiz compiled by O'Neil.
Upon completion of the quiz, visitors can then enter to win a $100 gift card, with one winner being announced every month throughout 2008.
Corazonas Foods sends 'Mom' running
Heart-healthy crisp firm Corazonas Foods has teamed up with a social networking site to encourage mothers across the US to get outside and exercise.
The company yesterday pledged to sponsor SeeMommyRun.com, which already has 33,000 members across the US.
"This free resource helps women connect online to form local running or walking groups and social networks with like-minded moms," the company said.
Corazonas Foods will also use the site to advertise its range of better-for-you snacks, such as the tortilla and potato Chips containing plant sterols, which the company claims can lower cholesterol by up to 15 percent.