Supermarket Pilot

Today I had the pleasure of observing my cards in action. Morton Williams, a New York City chain of supermarkets, agreed to test Mighty Munch in one of their Bronx locations. In exchange for buying certain fruits and veggies, families were given corresponding power cards at checkout. 

Some things I noted:

  •  Even if kids didn’t completely understand what the cards were, they were extremely curious.
  •  A lot of children thought they were cool but after a certain age, they turned them down.
  •  Many children had to translate the premise to their parents as the neighborhood is heavily Hispanic.
  •  I realized it would be easier if there was some sort of a handout listing the fruits and veggies to look out for
  •  Marketing in the store needs to be bolder to encourage consumers who wouldn’t normally shop the produce section

To be continued...

My Quest for a Real Dinner at a Dutch Train Station

Image credit: That Food Cray

Image credit: That Food Cray

A few months ago, on a trip visiting family in Holland, I took a train ride from The Hague to Utrecht. Prior to boarding, I made sure to grab a satisfying, healthy dinner to eat on the train. This proved to be a tough task. I circled the train station, passing one fast food chain after another. The sight of commuters downing hamburgers  while running to catch their trains frustrated me. The on-the-run American way of eating has unfortunately spread to Europe and beyond.

After finally finding a salad, I took a seat on the train. Sitting across from me, a woman about my age set her dinner on the the table that stood between us. She opted for a greasy mess from Smullers, a Dutch fast food chain, that included mayonnaise-soaked french fries, a kroket on a bun, and a large milkshake. Sitting opposite her, eating my vibrant and nourishing salad I searched so eagerly to find, I couldn’t help but feel like I was winning. It’s easy to grab fast food. It’s hard to opt for something else. In a culture that markets empty calories on us day after day, let’s reward the latter.

A Walk Through Town

Despite not having finished illustrating a power for each fruit and vegetable, I thought it was time to show the cards I’ve done so far to the community. I didn’t want to go further with a style that might not be suitable.

The most crucial feedback I need on this project is from the kids themselves. So, with a stack of card-stuffed envelopes in hand, I took a walk around my neighborhood. It’s been difficult to get into schools so instead of trying to get permission to get in the doors, I simply stood outside the school and talked to parents waiting to pick up their kids. My first stop was PS 40, where I handed sample cards out to a few parents to try at home. I then handed more out at a nearby playground. It’s interesting to see how people respond to my spiel. Some parents were immediately interested and on the same page as the problem at hand. Others were the complete opposite. One woman told me she’d rather not take the cards home because her daughter was ‘hopeless at eating her vegetables.’ At a park in Stuyvesant Town, two young mothers looking up from their cell phones told me they never take their children to the supermarket. These are the precise types of people I want to talk more to. What will motivate them to try harder? What if it didn’t take that much effort? What if it was fun?