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The California Walnut Board is launching its fourth annual American Heart Month campaign in February, expanding its popular retail marketing program in an effort to bring more attention to Heart Month in 2021 and encourage consumers to make heart-smart food choices, including California walnuts.

This year’s campaign incorporates walnut displays and promotions in more than 10,000 stores across the U.S., significant growth over the 2020 campaign that reached 7,300 stores and resulted in sales lifts of 50% or more among participating retailers. In light of the pandemic, supporting activities include more emphasis on digital than in prior years. Local advertising will drive additional awareness for walnuts and participating retailers across the country, reaching 51% of U.S. households. Public relations and social media tactics will provide additional support to the retail effort.

This is the fourth year of the American Heart Month retail program and the second year that it’s reached a national scale. In fact, retailer chains Food Lion and Harris Teeter have been so encouraged by the results that they are participating for the fourth straight year. New participants to the program this year include Kroger, numerous Albertson’s/Safeway divisions, and BJ’s Wholesale Club. And the programs at several retailers this year are being expanded by partnerships with other prominent food brands and commodity boards including Fresh Express, Chobani, and USA Pears.

American Heart Month is a perfect time to celebrate walnuts, as they carry both a qualified health claim on cardiovascular health as well as the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark. To date, over 50 papers have been published on walnuts and cardiovascular health. Recent publications evaluated walnuts and cardiovascular biomarkers, inflammation, and heart attack outcomes.

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