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The Great Food Journey – Learning from Birds Eye

Posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

As part of Birds Eye’s 65th anniversary celebrations they worked with National Schools Partnership to launch The Great Food Journey – a hands-on exploration of the journey food takes from farm to plate. Phase 1, peas, has just won an award so we thought we’d look at why the project worked, and what other companies interested in running education programmes can learn from it.

Birds Eye wanted to educate children and their families about the journey of peas from field to fork. They wanted to communicate that peas are a healthy option and Birds Eye are an expert pea brand. The intention was to celebrate Birds Eye and its quality products in a special anniversary year, while increasing children’s knowledge and understanding about peas.

The programme was very successful. We easily exceeded the school recruitment target and as a result of the project 97% of surveyed parents felt it was a good thing for Birds Eye to provide educational resources. 89% of them considered Birds Eye to be the pea experts and 85% of them believed their children know more about pea growing as a result of the campaign.

So what made it work?

1) Authenticity – Birds Eye are well known for their peas and an established choice for families. The brand therefore has a natural affinity with children and their parents and fits in to the school environment.

2) Insights – Birds Eye understood the importance that food and mealtimes play in family life because of their knowledge of parents and children. Due to this insight they were able to centre their project on something genuinely meaningful to the target audience.

3) Relevance – The campaign fits in well with the wider government and curriculum agenda around healthy eating and physical activity. This makes it a useful resource to schools.

4) Creativity – The programme had some really novel elements like the pea seed giveaway – 500,000 packets of pea seeds were despatched to registered schools giving classes and families an original, enjoyable, educational activity to participate in.

How does this translate to other brands and organisations?

• When considering a learning campaign, start by considering what your company specialises in, what it is known for, and what people think about it. The peas programme built on existing positive perceptions and understandings of Birds Eye and was effective because of this.

• Before starting a new project use research and insights to explore your target market. What do they think or do now? What means most to them and how can you be part of this? Understanding how important it is to parents to feed their families well was central to the development of The Great Food Journey.

• Consider the bigger picture when exploring themes for learning programmes. Linking your project to a well-known government or educational priority can help to drive it forward and give it credibility in the minds of your audience.

• Remember that learning is an active process that doesn’t always need to take place sitting in a classroom. Communicating an educational message in a novel way – such as teaching children about the growth cycle of peas by giving them seeds to grow their own – makes it memorable and engaging.

What do Birds Eye say?

“We worked with National Schools Partnership on The Great Food Journey, a creative programme which teaches children about the origins of their food in a fun and engaging way. We were delighted with National Schools Partnership’s initial recruitment of 3,500 schools, proving to us just how successful the education programme is, and how carefully it is thought through. As well as delivering a great reach amongst schools, the campaign has also been received very well internally. National Schools Partnership provided video content of the children getting hands on with pea seeds which really bought the education programme to life for everyone here at Birds Eye. We look forward to working with National Schools Partnership on the next phase of the journey.”

Kinjal Patel, Marketing Assistant

Kate Briggs, Sales & Marketing Manager


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