Editor's Note: The American Dream

Thanks to initiatives emanating from Washington, D.C., the cause for healthy diets, nutritional selections and the fight against obesity is garnering attention across the nation.

A new quarterly kids cooking magazine called ChopChop debuted this month, created to address the rising medical emergency of overweight and obese kids. ChopChop reaches its audience by harnessing the power and authority of pediatricians to partner with children and their parents/caregivers. The magazine is distributed to pediatricians who will “prescribe” the magazine during well-child visits. ChopChop is published by Kid2kid, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) corporation.

New Web sites are also cropping up. Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert launched Koodies.net this year — a social network site dedicated to foodie-oriented children and their families. Much of the content is focused on healthy diets, recipes and children’s cooking classes.

Meanwhile, I checked out Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” this week while writing up this note; 377,900 people had signed on to his national food revolution to improve school food.

The recent second Annual Dietitian Summit hosted by Field Trip Factory showcased what grocers could do to further the national movements. The two-day conference was an intimate gathering for leading professionals to meet with colleagues and peers, share information, and create an opportunity for networking and collaboration. The goal of the event was to foster an exchange of ideas among nutrition professionals in the food industry to better serve consumers. Speakers representing retailers, manufacturers, nonprofit organizations and educators discussed nutrition and health, focusing on strategies, trends, experiences and results.

Key findings relative to the grocery industry included more cohesive shopper marketing with clearer shelf-labeling systems. Additionally, nutritionists called for interactive video and health and wellness (H&W) content at point-of-sale, as well as in-store events focused on specific health concerns. Speakers, including Giant Food Stores’ Shirley Axes and Meijer’s Tina Miller, R.D., illustrated that retailers provide a unique opportunity to reach millions of customers and have a significant impact on public health. The grocery environment offers a variety of integrated opportunities to affect the health and wellness of the community.

So, as the national discussion continues, it’s time for grocers to increase their own efforts and visibility in leading education and offerings to address public health concerns. Some of those efforts are already under way and included in today’s trend alert.
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