Banana growers and distributors are promoting bananas as the ideal snack for a healthy, active lifestyle and using social media to spread the word.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Turbana Corp. is sponsoring three major athletic events this fall. The Sept. 23 Montreal Marathon attracted more than 25,000 walkers and runners, New York’s Bike MS race to raise funds to battle multiple sclerosis is scheduled for Oct. 21, and Virginia’s Marine Corps marathon is scheduled for Oct. 28.

On the cause front, Turbana bananas in Price Chopper will feature a promotional sticker until Nov. 3 for the Pink Ribbon Produce program, which raises money and awareness for breast cancer research.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to partner with Price Chopper for a great cause and support community efforts,” said marketing director Marion Tabard.

Dole’s Energy Bar

Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit was pleased with the success of its summer-long “Nature’s Original Energy Bar Adventure Sweepstakes,” which sent one banana lover on the adventure trip of his or her choice.

“This multimedia program, which encompassed radio, digital ads, social media, PR and in-store and in-gym collateral, successfully raised Dole Bananas awareness and sales nationally and in key markets,” said communications manager Bil Goldfield.

The campaign was based on a recent study that found bananas are just as effective as the leading sports drink at boosting energy after a workout.

Goldfield said Dole adapted elements of its Nature’s Original Energy Bar and its year-round Go Bananas Every Day campaigns to families during the busy back-to-school period.

More than 560,000 Facebook banana fans have been receiving banana-themed Dole recipes, serving suggestion, nonfood tips and trivia.

“At any given time, as many as 7,000 passionate banana followers are activity engaging with the brand,” Goldfield said.

Dole also is continuing its 366 Ways to Go Bananas in 2012 program with daily recipes, serving suggestions and household tips.

In October, Dole has invited 20 of the world’s top food and family bloggers to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., for its first banana summit.

The event features special banana meals, classes, hands-on cooking events and interactive experiences designed to encourage banana appreciation.

Chiquita and Little League

Charlotte, N.C.-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. also is focusing on active young people with its sponsorship of Little League Baseball Inc.

“The program delivered a highly targeted, retailer-focused activation of our first of three years as a national sponsor to support Little League athletes, coaches and families,” said Rob Adams, business manager for banana and specialties.

“More than 4,000 retail locations displayed point-of sale-materials at the Chiquita banana table to promote the campaign and our bananas as Official Fresh Snack of Little League baseball and softball,” Adams said.

Chiquita’s FanFun app landed the company a 2012 Manufacturer Leader Award from the Shopper Technology Institute for shopper engagement.

Of those who registered for the app, 28% visited a Chiquita banana retail location and checked in, Adams said.

“This not only shows shoppers interacting with a brand,” he said, “but it shows retailers that we’re using technology to drive consumers to their stores, adding value to stocking Chiquita products.”