Ice cream trucks are synonymous with summer, but for the second season in a row residents in New York City’s five boroughs are being visited by a different type of truck: one that doles out healthy snack alternatives. The nonprofit Food Bank For New York City piloted a food truck program last summer, and after seeing its success, launched it again this year with updated messaging and an extensive social marketing component to support it.
The Food Bank’s re-imagined ice cream truck deployed July 8 for an eight-week tour targeting low-income teenagers at popular events, parks and pools across the city to spread the message that healthy eating begins with one choice each day. Brand ambassadors are serving up snacks such as sunflower seeds, dried fruits and branded water bottles—all items these teens can find in their neighborhood convenience stores. In addition, brand ambassadors are distributing recipe booklets developed by teens in the Food Bank’s school year-based MyPlate program, where ambassadors champion healthy eating among peers.
The campaign this year includes a Twitter contest, where visitors of the truck are encouraged to take a photo of themselves enjoying the healthy snack. In tweeting to @FoodBank4NYC with the image and hashtag #ChangeOneThing, they receive a free water bottle or t-shirt. In addition, once a week the Food Bank is selecting one participant who has posted an image to Twitter, on-site or not, to win “sweet” prizes such as tickets to Major League Baseball games.
“It’s really exciting for us to be able to meet the teens where they are and really get them engaged on a one-on-one level about something healthy and something that is impacting them,” Jeannie Fournier, director-nutrition education, Food Bank For New York City, told Buzz. “It really hits home when you have the truck experience, where they go up and see the healthy food options, have the water—it just reinforces that positive message.” Agency: AMP Agency, Boston.