Promoting health with attractive food photos

Written by New York Times | Updated: Feb 22 2014, 14:16pm hrs
Healthy DietThe company, owned by Campbell?s, wants to generate more clicks highlighting the plight of those unpopular beets. Thinkstock
Pity the poor beet.

While pizza, ice cream and that flavor of the moment, bacon, soar on the Internet via hashtags, Instagram photos or other social media mentions, the richly red, healthy tuber just doesnt get much love on the web.

Bolthouse Farms, which produces juices, smoothies and other items, has developed an exceptionally playful website,, that calls attention to such food inequities. The company, owned by Campbells, wants to generate more clicks highlighting the plight of those unpopular beets and other less trendy but nutritious fruits and vegetables.

It has devised an algorithm to track hashtags on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet and other mentions of 24 keywords for different vegetables, fruits and all those fatty, sugary favourites. Then, using alluring photographs, humour and music, the website lets visitors click on the Pomegranate Piata, the Pizzabot or the Guac-a-Mole to get a sense of the numbers behind the items popularity on the web in real time. Visitors can play a musical Carrot Keyboard or follow the Burger Snake. The goal, say Bolthouse executives, is to remind consumers that a fresh strawberry is just as beautiful as those found in a dessert like a tart and healthier.

#Melons are high in Vitamin A, the site notes. I guess you could say theyre Vitamin A-mazing.

It then adds, You know what else is amazing Melon Meditation. Namaste. Explore the #FoodPornIndex and help Bolt-house Farms share the way to a healthier Internet.

But as more and more consumers make the connection between what they eat and how they feel and seek information about the ingredients n the foods they consume, food companies are increasingly trying to promote the healthiness and purity of the foods they sell.

The will be showcased at the Partnership for a Healthier Americas summit meeting next month, where Michelle Obama, who has promoted healthy eating while at the White House, will be the keynote speaker. Bolthouse has worked with Obama before, enlisting her support for its effort to get produce providers to use Sesame Street characters as a way of encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

If I can get the first lady to say food porn, Putman said, I will have made my day.