The brands, owned by Hain Celestial Group, each donated $75,000 to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry, which will help the campaign provided a combined 1.5 million free hot breakfasts to children in need. Recent research has shown children who eat breakfast perform better in school and are able to take advantages of more opportunities. (Read more HERE.)
“We have always had a strong affinity for No Kid Hungry, which draws attention to a problem that we have in our backyard," which is that one in five kids in America are struggling with hungry, said Robyn Mermelstein, category group manager of baby and toddler at Hain Celestial.
She emphasized the campaign and partnership are important because poverty issues in America are under-recognized in part because “you don’t associate America, which is a rich country that has so many resources, as a place where children go hungry.”
To further help raise awareness about hunger in the U.S., the brands launched at 800 Walmarts four-packs of select Earth’s Best and Ella’s Kitchen organic baby food pouches that are specially marked with information about the campaign and the brands’ donation.
The specially-marked packages also are helping Hain Celestial raise awareness about the brands among Walmart shoppers, who are not a typical target demographic for natural and organic products, which often are more expensive than conventional foods, Mermelstein said.
“We were able to add to our presences in-store at Walmart” by building middle-of-the-aisle displays featuring the four-packs, which also offer shoppers a value savings over individually sold pouches, she said.
Consumer response has been “amazing” and since the campaign launched in late February the inventory has been moving faster than planned, Mermelstein said. She added that the campaign also generated a lot of positive feedback among shoppers on Facebook and Twitter.
Hain Celestial also supported the launch of the four-packs and the partnership with No Kid Hungry by spreading the word about the organization to bloggers and kid-focused media. Part of the effort has included connecting bloggers with their local No Kid Hungry campaigns to volunteer their time and then report about their experiences, Mermelstein said.
Hain Celestial’s success with the campaign underscores the importance of the larger marketing trend of consumers wanting to buy from companies that support social missions.
Improved retailer relationship
The campaign also is strengthening the brand’s relationship with Walmart, which gave Hain Celestial “the runway” and creative license to “attract new consumers and get moms to feed their children better food and do something social,” Mermelstein said.
She noted both brands are relatively new to Walmart and the partnership brings the manufacturer and retailer closer. Earth’s Best has been in the chain for two years and Ella’s Kitchen as been in the chain for one year.
The partnership also is helping Walmart expand its footprint in the natural and organic sectors and understand what these segments mean to them, Mermelstein said.
Reflecting on the experience, she added: “We have seen a lot of success with Walmart,” which has been receptive to guidance on how to maneuver in the natural and organic space to attract new consumers.