Brace yourselves, parents — because Australia’s latest collectables craze is just days away.
Hot on the heels of its wildly successful Little Shop campaign, supermarket giant Coles has just revealed details of its latest offering, Stikeez.
This time around, Coles has partnered with the Healthy Kids Association in an effort to encourage Aussie kids to eat more fresh produce.
Stikeez — and the associated Coles Fresh Rainbow Challenge — is designed to make healthy eating fun, with 24 mini fruit and veggies to collect.
Some are named after actual Coles producers, such as Marie the Mango which represents Marie Piccone from Manbulloo in the Northern Territory, Carlo the Cucumber drawing inspiration from Carlo Pippo from Fresh at Heart in Ballina, NSW and Sunny the Strawberry hailing from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge, Victoria.
From Wednesday, February 13, customers can receive one free collectable for every $30 they spend in store.
Meanwhile, the Rainbow Challenge encourages families to track their fruit and vegetable intake by crossing off all the fruit and vegetable colours of the rainbow each day.
Families can also pick up free posters to help keep track of the fresh produce in their diet.
Coles Fresh Ambassador and celebrity chef Curtis Stone has also helped create the challenge by developing easy-to-prepare recipes for kids to make with their parents.
“As a parent I know how hard it can be to get kids excited about eating their veggies so I’m really excited about helping to make them fun and tasty with my colourful recipes like ‘broc tots’, eggplant chips and rainbow pizzas,” he said.
“I can’t wait to see how Aussie families bring the Rainbow Challenge to life and have fun eating delicious healthy food.”
Coles chief operating officer Greg Davis said he expected the new craze to be a hit.
“We know our customers love new and exciting campaigns that make shopping fun. In this case we’re bringing to life our fresh produce to help parents encourage their kids to try new types of fresh fruit and veggies,” he said.
“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Healthy Kids Association to create the Coles Fresh Rainbow Challenge which helps parents reward their kids for eating more healthily.”
Collectables mania was kicked off by Coles last July, with families scrambling to get their hands on 30 mini toy versions of popular grocery staples including Weet Bix, Vegemite and Nutella during the original campaign, which was followed up by a special Christmas edition in December.
Shoppers scored one free toy with every $30 spent in-store, and before long, it had become a popular trend, with some items reportedly being sold online for astronomical prices as parents attempted to amass the entire collection for their kids.
It was so popular Facebook groups dedicated to swapping the toys began popping up on social media and swap days were held in some Coles stores.
But it wasn’t without controversy — there was widespread fury when Little Shop cases sold out across the country.
The only option left to disappointed kids and parents was online marketplaces such as eBay, where several of the coveted items were being sold for up to $35 a pop, with a complete Christmas collection including the case and all five collectables on sale for an eye-watering $100.
Another scandal was unleashed when an Aussie mum of three took to the closed Coles Little Shop — Minis Swap Group Australia Facebook group to reveal her own mother had overheard staff “bragging” about swiping the coveted collectable cases used to house the minis in the NSW town of Yamba.
Stikeez collector cases will be available for $4 and a range of drink bottles, plush toys, snack boxes and pouches will also be available in stores and online.
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