Ragu ‘Good Start’ contest targets moms

Unilever‘s Ragu line of pasta sauces is conducting a contest targeting moms, as well as a digital campaign to promote it. The promotion, launched March 1, runs through August.

The “Recipe for a Good Start” contest, starring actress and mother Molly Ringwald, encourages moms to share their favorite recipes for “giving kids a good start in life,” at Recipeforagoodstart.com. Moms who enter are asked for both a food recipe and an “emotional recipe.”

To enter the contest, consumers must give their e-mail address. They can also opt-in to Ragu’s regular e-mail newsletter, but they are not required to do so. The recipes must be original and include Ragu pasta sauce. Entries can be submitted through March 31.

“We’d like to tee up the discussion with moms and hear from them about their favorite Ragu recipes,” said Jeanine Schoen, senior brand manager at Ragu. “The idea is to help inspire moms to cook healthy recipes for their families.”

The effort is part of Ragu’s overall “Feed our kids well” brand positioning, which began in 2007. The campaign stresses Ragu’s claim of having more than a full serving of vegetables in every half cup of sauce.

Three finalists, to be voted on by entrants, will be announced May 3. The finalists will compete in a live cook-off event in New York in August with the grand prize winner receiving a $5,000 scholarship for his or her child.

Ragu will take advantage of the fact that more consumers are eating at home because of the recession, said Schoen.

“We are finding that consumers tend to be cooking more at home these days and we know that pasta and sauce are simple meals that consumers can make easily,” she said.

While disclosing its 2009 earnings, Unilever reported that market conditions “remained challenging” but promoting health benefits was helping it gain ground in North America.

Like Ragu, competitor Prego has an ongoing e-mail newsletter program in which subscribers receive e-mails with recipes, as well as coupons.

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