Cultivating the Right POV on Food

August 15, 2018

“I can’t believe you give your kids lollipops! You’re a dietitian!”

I heard this while on a 4-hour flight from Chicago to Cabo San Lucas for my 40th birthday with a few friends and family. It wasn’t the first time, and certainly won’t be the last, I have been questioned about my feeding (or candy) choices.

I firmly believe there is nothing more emotionally charged than the debate over what to feed your child: ask any parent.

cultivate food pr blog post - food communications

I’m a mom with three girls and have been breastfeeding or pregnant the better part of a decade.  I’m also a dietitian.  I probably feel the pressure on feeding even more than the average parent given that I’m a “credentialed food expert.”  Dietitians, and what they feed their kids, seems to be a hot topic wherever I go – be it during dinner with other school moms or mid-flight.  With that said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything as I’m one of the few professionals that truly gets to do what I love: be a parent but also work in the food space leading Ketchum Cultivate.

In the near 10 years that I’ve been a parent I’ve seen the scrutiny on feeding heighten, but I’m slowly starting to see more balance infused in the conversation.

What we feed our families is as nuanced and personal as any choice you can make.  Deeply personal.  The years have given me perspective. When you only have one child and they’re a newborn, life looks and feels much different than when you have a third grader, kindergartener and an infant. With the latter, you have the benefit of experience and knowledge of how feeding evolves over time and, as a child grows, you beat yourself up less.  Brands can learn a lot from this, especially the newer natural and purpose-driven brands on the scene. Language to parents matters, and there’s a spectrum of verbiage that your brand needs to use to reach them effectively.

This base of knowledge is what we employ every day for our natural and wellness-focused food clients as part of Ketchum Cultivate, the specialty within Ketchum that I lead with a team of amazing parents and everyday purpose-driven food experts.

The core of Cultivate’s work is all about test & learns – from eCommerce to better understand how parenting and nutrition influencers are truly driving purchases online (and thus are truly influential) and securing national earned media on food topics buyers care about like recyclable packaging, to engaging the spectrum of health professionals from MDs to Osteopaths and even dietitians like myself (hint: many are parents just like you so you don’t need to be so formal) and everything in between.

Consumer interest in the way food is prepared and produced has reached its tipping point, and there’s a massive opportunity for brands in the space to tell  stories that truly make an impact within the consumer journey.

Interested in hearing more or piloting a quick test & learn with Ketchum Cultivate?  Don’t hesitate to connect with me.

And if you’re a parent, remember: don’t be so hard on yourself.

Alison leads Ketchum’s Cultivate offering. She is a registered dietitian with a masters in nutrition.