Reaching the eyes and minds of health professionals is crucial to gaining a competitive advantage in the health and food marketplace. American Pecan Council (APC) contracted with Eat Well Global to help boost pecans in the health and nutrition arena. The strategic goal for APC’s marketing activities through Eat Well Global was, “To increase top-of-mind awareness of pecans among target credentialed health professionals,” and throughout 2021, Eat Well Global executed against the following strategies:
• Demonstrate pecans’ differentiating nutrition and flavor qualities compared to other nuts
• Showcase pecans’ culinary versatility
• Address barriers to pecan consumption
In this article, we will discuss the 2021 activations that were implemented to help accomplish the strategic goal and the key success metrics that came from these programs.
Intuitive Eating Webinar
One of the first 2021 activations was the Intuitive Eating Registered Dietitian (RD) Webinar conducted in December 2020. We partnered with the Weight Inclusive Nutrition & Dietetics Practice Group (WIND) to host an engaging, 90-minute webinar for intuitive eating RDs, a new target audience for the APC in FY2021. The webinar garnered a total reach of 183k+ across all webinar promotions, which included the WIND community, speaker social handles and the Pecan Powerhouses Network. Following the event, nearly half of all post-webinar survey respondents indicated a more positive perception of pecans after attending the event, and 21% were more likely to recommend pecans.
Strategic Influencer Partnerships
Another strong activation was the strategic influencer partnerships carried out during winter 2020 and summer 2021. One of those influencers was acclaimed chef and culinary dietitian Sara Haas, RDN, LDN. We engaged with her for an inaugural Virtual Cooking Party, a 60-minute cooking and educational event featuring low FODMAP, gluten-free and lactose-free recipes. During the Virtual Cooking Party, Sara garnered live attendance of 117 health professionals and a collective reach of 41k+ across Sara’s social media channels and the Pecan Powerhouses Network. We also collaborated with Sara on the development of two original savory pecan recipes, including Pecan Polenta with Crispy Kale and Smashed Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans.
Another high-profile RD influencer we partnered with was Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, to develop digital recipe content shared with Vanessa’s audience of 21k Instagram followers. Vanessa garnered 4.5k impressions and 3.7k reach across two recipe content pieces (Instagram posts and accompanying Instagram stories), highlighting Vanessa’s original recipes for a Pecan BLT and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. Both of those influencer partnerships resulted in four original pecan recipes and garnered 50k impressions across Instagram posts and influencers’ mailing lists.
Today’s Dietitian Symposium
In May 2021, APC sponsored Today’s Dietitian Virtual Spring Symposium (TDSS) 2021, the nation’s second-largest dietitian conference. The return on this activation garnered enhanced visibility and opportunity for deeper engagement with RDs through a live virtual yoga event we sponsored. From TDSS 2021, we reached Today’s Dietitian’s 77k+ social media followers via sponsored Facebook posts and saw a 20% increase in the Pecan Powerhouse Network membership, APC’s database of health professionals. We will cover more on the Pecan Powerhouse Network (PPN) in an upcoming article.
New Handouts and Health Professional Survey
On top of the activations listed above, Eat Well Global and APC also partnered with culinary dietitian Kristy Del Coro, co-founder of the Culinary Nutrition Collaborative, to develop two new client handouts showcasing seamless ways to include pecans in everyday meals and snacks. You can find these available for your use under the For Health Professionals>Resources tab on AmericanPecan.com.
To measure and gauge marketing efforts geared towards RDs, we distributed Today’s Dietitian e-blast to 320 non-clinical RDs originally surveyed in 2020 to assess year-over-year pecan knowledge and behavior change. The survey illuminated that health marketing efforts to date have successfully put pecans top-of-mind as a nut to enjoy and recommend, and revealed pecans’ unique trifecta: super taste, satisfaction and nutrition. 15% of RDs surveyed are consuming and recommending pecans more frequently than last year, on par with walnuts and more regularly than pistachios.
As previously mentioned, building top-of-mind awareness with health professionals is very important because they educate and engage with consumers as experts in health, nutrition and wellness. They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal. The activities listed above are just some of the activations APC has conducted for pecans to reach the minds of health professionals such as registered dietitians. We saw very successful results in only the second year. In an upcoming article, we will continue to touch on other RD marketing activations held in the 2020-21 year that brought major results for pecans.