Posts Tagged “VEDGE Kids”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many parents struggle with their kids’ eating habits and obesity. What if more kids actually wanted to consume fruits and vegetables? A New York startup believes it will make that happen.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Vedge’ Kids, LLC Phase 1 of a 2 Phase $1.1 million grant to conduct research on the effectiveness of its produce-centric TV show and curriculum in the fight against childhood obesity. Childhood obesity continues to be a serious health concern in the U.S. Total societal costs are estimated at over 100 billion dollars annually.
The Vedge’ Kids show, which features animated fruits and vegetables as superheroes, aims to inspire and motivate children to eat healthy. The show is unique in that it is entertainment driven not preachy, flat or didactic.
“We’re extremely pleased to have worked with the USDA to reach this milestone,” said Rob Orchanian, President of Vedge’ Kids. “The individuals at the USDA are dedicated, professional and forward thinking. Their action confirms our proof of concept and our team’s dedication. Our goal is to improve the health of all our children by promoting the eating of fruits and veggies.
Our method has been to tear a page from the marketing book of junk food companies. Eating fruits and veggies is fun, exciting. They taste great too! We will make sure that little kids and their mommies know that and live that.”
Orchanian went on to say, “The Vedge’ Kids show is the cornerstone of a commercial enterprise. We firmly believe that the shows popular appeal will support a national TV broadcast. We expect this grant will be the 1st of a series of grants and investments that will move us firmly into profitability within the next 2 to 5 years.”
Research will be done in conjunction with the University of Maryland. The University has advised programs offered through Sesame Workshop and PBS.
Vedge’ Kids LLC, headquartered in the greater NYC metropolitan area, is also the publisher of several nutrition-focused children’s books. More information on the company can be found at www.vedgekids.com
by Robert Orchanian
As an author and longtime educator, Robert Orchanian leaned heavily on his personal experiences when he came up with the idea for the VEDGE Kids project. The goal of the initiative, which stands for Vigorous, Educated and Good Eaters, is to instill healthy eating habits in children between the ages of two and five, and his book, titled The ABCs of Nutrition: Learning the Alphabet the Healthy Way, Volume 1, encourages those healthy habits while teaching children the alphabet as they are having fun.
“I’m a father of five,” said Orchanian, “and VEDGE Kids is a reflection of how I raised five healthy children.” He explained that kids under five years of age are in a highly formative state, so they’re essentially metabolically programmed during that time to eat the food they will crave for the rest of their lives. Because that age is so important, Orchanian stressed that it’s essential to make eating fruits and vegetables a fun and tasty thing for children early on.
“We feel we needed a different approach to get kids to eat healthy, so we went for something that’s fun and entertaining, as opposed to something that’s fact-based,” said Orchanian. The ABC’s of Nutrition introduces each letter of the alphabet with a VEDGE’ Kid and a colorful illustration of a fruit or vegetable. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, Orchanian also focused very much on the details of each page of the book tailoring it to the learning needs of toddlers.
“We paid close attention to the sizing of letters and counters, for example, because toddlers and see letters and form words in a special way” said Orchanian. “We also spent a lot of time collaborating with our illustrator over the details of each of the VEDGE’ Kids so toddlers would be drawn to them. Andrew is extremely talented and is now a lead illustrator of Angry Birds. We wanted fun, color and energy and that’s what he gave us.” Orchanian is sure the book, which came out in September and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, will set kids on the right path in terms of eating habits.
“The idea is to get children to eat healthy at the earliest possible age,” said Orchanian. “And we feel we have a unique approach to accomplish that with this book.”
On the business side, several online organic home delivery companies are now using Orchanian’s book as a premium. “Companies whose customer base is mommies, see The ABCs of Nutrition: Learning the Alphabet the Healthy as a great way to say thank you during the holiday season. Moms want their kids to eat right and grow up healthy. The ABCs of Nutrition helps make the connection. Those companies see it as something that’s special and a lot more targeted than say a calendar. It’s a way for companies to distinguish themselves and build good will in a crowded market place.” Orchanian is also in early negotiations with one of those companies to license the VEDGE’ Kids. “Branding one’s product with recognizable cartoon characters is a sure win in the marketplace.” Orchanian says to stay tuned. “There’s a lot more to come!” You can see an electronic version of The ABCs of Nutrition: Learning the Alphabet the Healthy Way, Volume 1 at: TheABCsofNutrition.com