Mini Meal Masters
Progressive Grocer|July 2018

Grocers promote produce-rich snacks and healthful lunches for back to school.

Jennifer Strailey

Back to school spells smarter snacking at ShopRite stores throughout the Northeast this fall. As a continuation of its recently launched Well Everyday program, the banner will kick off its next health-and-wellness initiative, featuring a Smart Snacking theme, on Sept. 10.

“We’ll be sharing easy, fun and nutritious ideas for those super-important mini meals,” says Natalie Menza-Crowe, director of health and wellness at ShopRite. “We’ll also be featuring ideas for afterschool snacks and portable pack-and-go snacks that are perfect for school sports and activities.”

Well Everyday is an in-store messaging program aimed at highlighting better food choices and helping customers take small steps toward better nutrition. Each Well Everyday campaign includes eye-catching aisle visuals focused on promoting nutritious options. ShopRite, a registered trademark of Keasbey, N.J.-based retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., plans to refresh the campaign every four to six weeks throughout its stores.

In its 139 stores that are staffed with dietitians, ShopRite also appeals to kids and their families through cooking classes, product samplings and store tours focused on healthy eating.

“Our topics vary from healthy lunchbox ideas, to weeknight dinner ideas, and even quick and healthy breakfast options,” explains Menza-Crowe. “We also leverage our circular and social media assets to share easy dinner recipes, ‘produce picks’ of the week, and tips on how to build a better lunchbox.”

ShopRite’s back-to-school nutritional campaigns that tackle lunchboxes and simple, healthful dinner ideas are resonating with customers.

“Last year, we featured a Build a Better Lunchbox series online and in our circular, which received a tremendous amount of positive customer feedback,” she affirms. ShopRite’s retail dietitians supported the program with in-store events and demos. Online images and videos showed consumers how to pack healthful snack boxes, taco salads and more.

ShopRite also recently launched an in-store meal cart program in which all of the ingredients for a healthy, easy dinner are cross-merchandised each week. “It makes weeknight meals a snap,” asserts Menza-Crowe.

In a separate initiative — but one that will undoubtedly appeal to families shopping for wholesome foods — ShopRite has expanded its Locally Grown program. The grocer offers a variety of products, from farm-raised beef to eggs to fresh fruits and vegetables, from family-owned farms in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and upstate New York.

Fun With Fruit

In-store dietitians can be a critically important resource in helping to make fresh produce consumption fun for kids and their families this back-to-school season and beyond.

This fall, the apple and pear experts at Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers will work with in-store dietitians and nutritionists to create social media programs designed to promote produce for school lunches.

“Stemilt is featuring a big promotion on its Lil Snapper kid-sized apple brand for back to school,” affirms Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director.

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