Safeway is partnering with Warner Bros. Entertainment to launch a new line of Loony Tunes-festooned food and drink items for children, as an extension of the supermarket chain's Eating Right line of more nutritional foods.
Dubbed Eating Right Kids, the new line-up, which will roll out this summer, includes more than 100 food and drink products that will be promoted as helping moms pick more nutritious food for their children.
Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Barry Meyer said the deal is a way to turn its well-known cartoon characters into "ambassadors of health and fitness." He said the partnership "allows us to utilize the Looney Tunes characters' enduring popularity with kids and teens to promote a lifestyle choice that's healthier for them."
Both supermarkets and Hollywood have been pilloried by consumer groups for promoting and selling too much junk food to children, contributing to a nationwide epidemice of obesity and early health problems.
As part of the deal, Warner Bros. said it will no longer feature its Looney Tunes characters on less-healthy food packaging, other than certain ice cream products or birthday cakes.
"We've cleared the market of anything that might be considered unhealthy," said Brad Globe, prexy of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "Our Looney Tunes characters are our crown jewels. We said, 'Hey, we need to figure out how we can be part of some kind of solution and use our characters in a positive way that will improve the issues related to childhood obesity.'"
Safeway's Eating Right Kids packaging will exclusively feature such characters as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Taz, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck.
Included in the line-up are breakfast foods, portable meals, dairy, snacks and beverages.
Safeway said the products will be formulated based on the most recent dietary recommendations from several federal and state agencies, including the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the Dept. of Agriculture, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, as well as California's school nutrition guidelines.
Major Hollywood studios have been trying to push healthier eating. Disney no longer promotes its films through McDonald's and has recently stayed away from junk food manufacturers as promotional partners, Variety reported. DreamWorks Animation has featured Shrek in anti-obesity campaigns.