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Lessons from Baby Carrots, the Wanna Be Junk Food

The carrots dare you

Grocery shopping the other day, I was startled by the challenge thrown down by the baby carrots: Eat ‘em Like Junk Food. Wow! When you put it like that, baby carrots sound like the bad boys of produce.   

Baby carrots are actually a cross between the practical – avoiding wasting the carrots that don’t look supermarket perfect – and marketing brilliance, as there is no such thing as a baby carrot, only a full-grown carrot peeled down to baby-size.  According to a fascinating article by Fast Company, carrot consumption in the US doubled in the decade after baby carrots were introduced. (That quite an argument for chopping things down to bite-size.)

The same Fast Company article shares some facts we moms need to know. In developing an approach for carrots, agency employees observed suburban moms unpacking groceries and noted:

  • Kids seldom go to the refrigerator for snacks; instead, they go to the cupboard or pantry
  • One insightful kid called the vegetable drawer the “Drawer of death.” Isn’t it the truth? How many things have you found that perished in the back of that drawer?
  • Baby carrots are usually visible, out on a shelf, which is an advantage over regular carrots and probably other veggies.

I admit this carrots-as-junk food concept has got me thinking differently about this humble root vegetable. We are so used to Cheetos and Doritos, we take for granted that carrots are already neon orange. They can be eaten directly out of the bag and are fun to dip. A little flashy packaging (which is in the works) and they might look almost as exciting as the other stuff that is sold in the check-out aisle.

The day your kids start begging you for a bag of carrots, you’ll know the junk food campaign was successful. In the meantime, 1) Get your veggies out of the drawer of death and onto a shelf, and 2) steer your kids to the fridge rather than the pantry.