Blog: Grab a Bag of Watercress and Live Healthy
Grab-a-Bag of Watercress and Live Healthy
Love British Food member, The Watercress Company, is currently experimenting with an innovative Grab-a-Bag sampling campaign strategically targeting younger people with the opportunity to walk away with whole bags of watercress for free.
Operating a mobile Grab-a-Bag Station in a series of gyms, members clubs and leisure centres in its Dorset heartland, The Watercress Company has visited Dorchester and Weymouth, is currently in Poole and will move onto Bournemouth in a couple of weeks.However, it is very much a case of today Dorset, tomorrow the world as The Watercress Company invests in more fridges and vans to enable the scheme to go nationwide.
Since the campaign began in mid-July around 3,500 free bags of watercress have been taken from the Grab-a-Bag Station in its various locations and sales of watercress in nearby stores have seen a comparable rise due to new interest in the peppery salad leaf.
The concept is very simple – free bags of watercress - however, the choice of venue is carefully considered.Over 20 million bags of watercress are sold in the UK either as watercress alone or as a mixed salad, but tend to be bought by a loyal, but older customer.UK watercress growers are desperate to trigger a new demand from a younger market and having tried everything else, think the best thing to do is to actively give watercress away for free in environments where they know the younger audience goes.
The Watercress Company identified sports clubs and gyms as the ideal venues to reach this target market with a clear message about achieving optimum sports performance that they hope will strike a chord with them.The Grab-a-Bag station (or fridge) is covered with the health benefits of eating watercress and urges visitors to the venue to take a free bag.All that’s asked in return is that the participants post their recipes using watercress on the #watercresschallenge page on watercress.co.uk
Tom Amery, MD of The Watercress Company says: “We are investing over £100,000 this year in promoting watercress and much of it is being invested in reaching the younger generation as part of a social media campaign #watercresschallenge.The Grab-a-Bag Station activity is one element of this. We are prepared to give thousands of bags away for free it if is the only way to reach younger consumers since experience shows that once tried, loyalty is quick to follow.Watercress has a distinctive peppery taste that many children struggle with and consequently watercress is not a commonly served veg during childhood.It appears that a more mature palate enjoys the taste, however, so hooking them in with that first trial is vital to establishing a new consumer base; we hope to achieve this with the Grab-a-Bag Station.If successful we aim to invest in dozens of fridges dotted all over the UK.”
Watercress is ideal for people working out in the gym as it is packed full of nutritious goodness, in fact it contains over 50 vital vitamins and minerals; gram for gram Watercress contains more calcium than milk, more folate than banana, more Vitamin C than oranges and more Vitamin E than broccoli.It is also high in fibre and rich in iron.What’s more, scientific research has shown that watercress aids recovery after exercise and prevents the DNA damage caused by intense physical activity.
As James Harper, Commercial Manager for The Watercress Company and responsible for deploying the fridge explains: “Watercress is a total powerhouse and is at its healthiest best when eaten raw.It’s fabulous in a refreshing smoothie after a work-out or just eaten fresh from the bag!Of course, it’s great in a salad or wilted onto pasta too but we’d love to hear about all the ways that people eat watercress. Our Grab-a-Bag Station will give people the chance to experiment and really understand why eating watercress is so good for you and the many ways they can use it.”
Watercress is uniquely grown in flowing spring water and while it used to be found all over the country in its Victorian heyday, when over 60% of the population regularly ate it on a weekly basis, today, Dorset and Hampshire are the key areas where it is commercially grown, largely by The Watercress Company.The chalky South Downs and the ancient aquifers that bubble up as springs are the perfect mineral-rich environment in which watercress thrives.
If you’d like your club, gym or college to take part in #watercresschallenge and benefit from free watercress for a week, email email@example.com or call 01929 401 400.
For recipe inspiration simply go to www.watercress.co.uk/recipes