Industry partners are brushing up on tactics to encourage healthy eating during the busy back-to-school season, when family routines for the year begin anew.
For example, produce buyers at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer are showcasing easy suggestions to spruce up lunchboxes with under-the-radar produce, such as super sweet sugar kiss melons, stripey aloha peppers, Angel Sweet grape tomatoes, Sweet Tango apples, mini organic greenhouse cucumbers and rainbow carrots, all of which made the retailer's list of interesting items to encourage more inviting and healthier packed lunches.
Additionally, Meijer is also touting its handy, healthy I Control Kits, which are premade fresh lunches that can be found in the retailer's produce section. The lunch and snack kits include ready-to-eat options, such as diced cheese, turkey, veggies and dips, and sliced fruit.
The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have also partnered to help push produce this back-to-school season through digital campaigns and in-store programs and other resources that retailers can use with shoppers and consumers. The partnership will take place throughout September, which is both Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month and National Family Meals Month.
“By emphasizing that half of the mealtime plate should be filled with a variety of fruit and vegetables, we can introduce consumers to a range of new solutions throughout the grocery store," said Susan Borra, chief health and wellness officer for FMI and executive director of the FMI Foundation.
Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of PBH, added that PBH and the FMI Foundation have long histories of striving to "make smart food choices throughout the day. As partners, we will make a greater impact by creating solutions that enhance not only family mealtime but increase fruit and vegetable consumption,” she said. “Research shows that eating more fruit and vegetables supports healthier, happier lifestyles and together, we will support industry as well as consumers in achieving this goal—at any meal occasion.”
Giant Food is acknowledging back-to-school in its own way with its annual 2018-2019 A+ School Rewards Program, launching on Sept. 7. The Landover Md.-based retailer will allow customers to contribute donations to local schools by making qualified purchases registered on their Giant Food loyalty bonus card program.
Since the program's launch in 2000, it has raised more than $36 million that has been used to purchase items such as textbook and technology upgrades, scholarship programs, field trips and playground repairs for schools across Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware.
"For nearly 30 years we have worked hand in hand with our customers to support our local schools, delivering substantial resources that add value to the educational experience in our communities," said Gordon Reid, president of Giant Food. "We place great value on the students' education and are honored to play a supporting role in their success through the annual A+ School Rewards Program."