Two years ago, Bolthouse Farms excited childhood-obesity activists with an innovative marketing campaign to get more kids chomping on baby carrots with the tagline, "Eat 'Em Like Junk Food." The initiative helped Bolthouse Farms reignite its long-quiescent sales of baby carrots and presumably played a role in making the Bakersfield, Calif.-based company attractive enough to be acquired by the Campbell Soup Company earlier this year.
Now, Bolthouse has come up with a second act for its baby carrots marketing: Shakedowns, all-natural dry seasonings that coat baby carrots in a bag. Baby boomers might be reminded of the classic Shake N Bake Chicken that their moms used to, well, shake and bake, because they're the target for Shakedowns as much as their kids are.
"We were introducing [a focus group] to the 'junk food' campaign, and teenagers there were saying, 'Well, why don't you season [baby carrots] like Doritos?" Todd Putman, CMO for Bolthouse Farms, told brandchannel. "We thought, 'OK, how do we do that?' We went on a long innovation journey. But we immediately thought it was a great idea."
What Bolthouse ended up with is a packaging innovation based on a flangible seal that allows Shakedowns consumers to "pinch, pull, shake and eat," as the company's promotions put it.
Shakedowns (tagline: "Shaking is natural) is currently available in a handful of cities around the U.S., with Putman saying that Bolthouse plans a nationwide rollout of Shakedowns next year once it gets supplies and processing capacity up to snuff. They're available for a suggested 99 cents in three flavors: Ranch, Chili Lime and Salsa.
And Bolthouse — which also has become a major player in bottled superpremium juices and smoothies in the produce department -- has no intention of stopping its baby-carrot assault with Shakedowns.
"If you think about M&Ms, there were plain and peanut varieties" at first, Putman said. "And look now. We could go in the same direction. Why should processed food have all the fun? We're trying to make sure that health foods, and vegetables, are brought to the consumer in an emotionally dynamic and interesting way."