A key audience the American Pecan Council (APC) has identified and been pleased to gain inroads into is the world of credentialed health and wellness professionals (registered dietitian nutritionists, physicians, nurses, fitness professionals, etc.) This community of highly engaged and influential individuals are passionate about promoting holistic, healthy living and educating those who look to them to make informed food choices that will nourish and fuel one’s body. Naturally, we wanted to put pecans in front of these professionals!
In 2020, we hired Eat Well Global, a strategic communication consultancy that specializes in reaching change agents in food and nutrition, to develop and amplify APC’s engagement with this important group. Since then, we have conducted qualitative and quantitative health influencer research and have relied on Eat Well GlobalX’s expertise in this sphere to gain an understanding of dietitians’ pecan perceptions and behaviors. This has enabled us to tailor our outreach strategy, messaging and engagement to make strides in reaching this community.
Our topline objective is to increase consumption of recommendation and positive sentiment for pecans among targeted health professionals. Our three strategic approaches for doing so are:
- Position pecans’ heritage story as an interest hook and key differentiator.
- Leverage pecans’ unique trifecta: encompassing taste, satisfaction and nutritional value.
- Elevate the experience of pecans as the ”foodie” nut for all.
Developing a Network of Pecan Proponents
To keep APC and pecans top of mind for health professionals that engage directly with consumers, we launched a Health Professional (HP) Influencer Network called the Pecan Powerhouses Network in March 2020. We updated our current website with a hub for Health Professionals, including a dedicated HP Resources page. Through engaging directly with Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) at in-person and virtual events, such as FNCE and Today’s Dietitian, sharing APC key messaging through sponsoring dietetic practice groups (DPGs) and partnering with high-profile influencers, we’ve promoted the Pecan Powerhouses Network, and membership has taken off! We are now reaching nearly 600 enthusiastic, credentialed health and wellness professionals on a regular basis.
Our Pecan Powerhouse members receive quarterly newsletters featuring our innovative recipes, cutting-edge research and engaging educational resources to help them foster their professional growth and spread the word about the power of the Original Supernut. Open and click-through rates for these emails are well above industry standards. RDNs are more likely to recommend foods they are familiar with and consume themselves, so our goal is to meet our Pecan Powerhouse members right where they’re at and turn them into enthusiastic and educated fans who are keen on sharing pecans’ unique health benefits and culinary applications with their communities, patients and clients.
Pecan Powerhouses Quarterly Webinar Series
This year, we’ve invested in increasing our touchpoints with our Pecan Powerhouse members, launching a quarterly webinar series open to all health and wellness professionals. To date, we’ve hosted three out of four of these engaging, 30-minute webinars, which we’ll give you a peak into below.
Q1: “A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the American Pecan Council”
In this inaugural webinar, we highlighted APC’s role in telling the unique story of pecans, America’s native nut, and its commitment to providing education around pecans’ heritage. Executive Director Alex Ott was the main speaker and engaged the audience with a portion of Q&A at the end. There was terrific interest in our first event with 62 individuals tuning in live. According to a post-webinar survey, the event introduced nearly half of all registrants to APC’s role as a health information source. 77% of respondents shared that they learned something from the event, and 81% would use at least some of the information presented with their clients/patients/audience. Specifically, respondents learned about pecans’ heritage and were most likely to use APC’s nutrition and culinary resources. Last but not least, after attending the webinar, a majority of respondents said they were more likely to recommend pecans to patients and/or other individuals.
Q2: “Behind the Crop: A Day in the Life of a Second-Generation Pecan Farmer”
Building on the success of the inaugural webinar, the second webinar in the Pecan Powerhouses Network 2021 Quarterly Webinar Series dove deeper into pecans’ heritage story through the day-in-the-life of a pecan grower. We had the pleasure of having industry member Laura Harper of Del Valle Pecans provide the health professional community with a unique perspective on being a second-generation pecan farmer and her experience running a successful family pecan business. There were 53 attendees, 91% of which were registered dietitians. According to our post-webinar survey, 94% of respondents shared that they learned about pecan growing practices, and 74% would incorporate at least some of the information presented into their practice as a healthcare professional. After attending the webinar, 62% of respondents said they were more likely to recommend pecans.
Q3: “Personalize Your Practice: Solutions for Collaborative and Effective Nutrition Coaching”
The penultimate webinar in the Pecan Powerhouses Network 2021 Quarterly Webinar Series recently took place on July 28 and involved teaming up with Vanessa Rissetto, M.S., R.D., co-founder of Culina Health, a personalized nutrition coaching and online education platform. During the webinar, she shared three practical solutions for common challenges dietitians may face in providing individualized, inclusive and accessible care to patients and clients in everyday practice as well as highlighted pecans as a nutrition powerhouse. We are still gathering results and insights from this event, but be on the lookout for a full recap in an upcoming newsletter!
Building off the momentum of the first three webinars, we’re looking forward to rounding out this educational series with our Q4 webinar this September, highlighting the culinary uses of pecans in “Pecans in the Kitchen.” It is fun getting to engage with the health professional community through these virtual events and receive positive feedback as they learn more about pecans and become inspired to use and recommend them. If you know a health professional who would be interested in attending, encourage them to apply to become a Pecan Powerhouse Network member by visiting AmericanPecan.com today!