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Michelle Obama at podium supporting nutrition in schools

Supporting Nutrition in Schools

The focus on nutrition in schools as well as other governmental regulations might finally be paying off. Childhood obesity rates appear to be plateauing, though still unacceptably high. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is making the difference, but providing children with education on nutrition is certainly an important factor.

For the past five years, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and the Partnership for a Healthier America have been teaching children the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. They’ve made great strides in changing the way food and beverage companies market to America’s youngest consumers. Thanks to those iniativies, food companies have created healthier versions of their products, cutting 6.3 trillion calories from the nation’s diet by reformulating recipes and reducing package sizes. Many convenience stores are selling fruit, protein bars, and other healthy options; even kids meals at fast food restaurants now offer apple slices and skim milk as alternative options.

As I discussed in a previous blog post, grocery retailers across the nation are supporting nutrition in various ways. 54% of food retailers have established health and wellness programs for customers and employees, according to an FMI retailer survey. Many grocery stores have made big efforts to support nutrition in schools.

Last fall, Midwestern retailer Meijer partnered with Produce for Kids in a campaign that raised $60,000 from participating produce suppliers. Now that money is being used to fund a rock-and-roll nutrition show called “Jump with Jill” that will tour 27 schools in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The goal of the partnership between Meijer and Produce for Kids is to educate consumers, especially students, about the importance of making healthy food choices. Jump with Jill performers use musicwith health related lyrics to engage kids and teach them how to eat better. Meijer grocery stores offer a variety of fruits and vegatbles so families can live out what their kids learn about health from Jump with Jill and Produce for Kids.

In March, United supermarkets ran a Kids Free Fruit program in conjunction with National Nutrition Month that entitled children to a free snack-size apple, orange or banana while their parents shopped. United’s registered dieticians designed this program to help children reach their 1-2 servings per day of fruit. The Kids Free Fruit program provided an opportunity to develop healthy eating habits during children’s formative years.

So what is your store doing to support nutrition with America’s youth?

AWG offers our retailers two different in-store nutrition programs, NuVal and Guiding Stars. Retailers can implement these programs at their stores and partner with local schools to educate children on nutrition. For more information on in-store nutrition programs, check out our AWG Marketing Nutrition page or contact Michelle.

Why do I work at AWG? “I love working with independent retail stores to improve their in-store marketing strategies. When consumers compare products at grocery stores, many rely on in-store nutrition information and in-store advertising to make their decisions. By growing the nutrition and rebate programs at AWG stores, I implicitly help thousands of grocery shoppers make healthier choices every day.” -Michelle