United Fresh Foundation, Produce for Kids, Publix Partner to Support Salad Bars and Fight Childhood Obesity

The United Fresh Foundation announced a collaboration with Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets to increase awareness about healthy eating and raise funds to donate salad bars to schools in five Southeast states – Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee — through Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. This fall, all 1,039 Publix stores, in partnership with Produce for Kids, will sponsor a sales promotion in their produce departments to benefitLets Move Salad Bars to Schools.

“Childhood obesity is a problem nationwide, but the Southeast has higher rates than the national average. Additionally, children’s fruit and vegetable consumption is lower in the Southeast. We are proud to have Produce for Kids in partnership with Publix, join us to specifically help schools in the Southeast. The salad bars will increase student’s fruit and vegetable consumption and provide healthier options at lunch,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association President. “Together with our Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools partners,we’ve donated more than 800 salad bars nationwide, and this new collaboration is a great step toward providing salad bars and healthy school meals throughout the Southeast region.”

Over the past year, the United Fresh Foundation, a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, has worked to garner produce industry support for school salad bars. Produce for Kids has embraced this goal as the focus of its “Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds” campaign with Publix.

“School salad bars are an effective way to increase children’s access to and consumption of a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day,” said Produce for Kids Marketing Director Kim Avola. “This strategy helps children meet the new MyPlate recommendations to ‘make half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal’.”

In all 1,039 Publix stores, point-of-sale materials will be on display in the produce department with a list of sponsoring products from September 29 through October 26. Shoppers can help raise funds to donate salad bars for schools by purchasing sponsored produce products, including: Pero Family Farms Stoplight Peppers, Mini Sweet Peppers, Mini Seedless Cucumbers & Organic Green Beans; Sunset Tomatoes on the Vine; Crunch Pak Sliced Apples; Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet Pineapple; Select One Tomatoes on the Vine; Del Monte Fruit Naturals Cups; Wonderful Pistachios; RealSweet Sweet Onions; Buddy Fruits The Healthy Fruit Snack; and Marie’s Dressings.

“Foods that are colorful and fresh are tempting to the eyes and the taste buds,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations. “When families shop at Publix, we want the produce department to be appealing to children and a destination. Our goal is to help develop a love for these foods at school that can then be shared with families at home.”

Earlier this month, United Fresh launched a media campaign throughout the region to raise awareness of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative and to increase the number of school applications submitted from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee through the www.saladbars2schools.org website. At the conclusion of the Publix sales promotion, Produce for Kids will make a donation to United Fresh Foundation to support Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. Produce for Kids, Publix and United Fresh will jointly select the schools in the five states to receive salad bars, which will be delivered by February 2012.

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