SN has recognized Fresh Express with its Supplier Leadership Award for Community Outreach for the supplier's campaign with Harris Teeter to raise funds to put salad bars in schools.
Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Chiquita, has an ongoing commitment to the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program, but it has a special connection to the most recent campaign with Harris Teeter.
“Our mission at Chiquita is improving world nutrition, and this is a perfect fit,” said Bob Stallman, general manager of salads and healthy snacking, Chiquita Brands International.
The text-to-donate campaign allows Fresh Express, Harris Teeter and Harris Teeter shoppers to help raise funds to put salad bars in schools located near them.
“Chiquita’s recently moved our headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., and this was a neat opportunity being new to our community to partner with Harris Teeter, a very strong local retailer here, to make a commitment right here to schools where we live and work now,” Stallman told SN.
To donate $5, customers just have to text “SALAD” to 80077 by Oct. 11 or go to program’s website, and Fresh Express will match donations up to $15,000.
“This one is really bringing in community participation, which I think is probably one of the most exciting things about the program — people in the community can actually help their community,” Stallman said.
He pointed out that the convenience of texting allows customers to even donate while waiting in line at Harris Teeter.
Tina Harder, account executive at AugustineIdeas, the advertising agency that organized the campaign, agreed.
“Today, with the increase of people using smartphones in-store, people are going mobile, and we wanted to make it easy for people to donate right away,” she said.
Setting up the campaign wasn’t very difficult, according to Stallman, who said the most important aspect was figuring out how to make customers aware of the program.
On that end, Harris Teeter has been promoting the campaign with in-store signs. In addition, it has also been making produce guides available to help parents learn how to work more fruits and vegetables in kids’ lunches.
Harris Teeter and Fresh Express, working in collaboration with other suppliers and United Fresh Produce Association — who is a founding partner in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program — will give at least 5,000 students in 10 schools access to salad bars through this campaign, according to a press release.
To be considered for a salad bar, schools can apply to the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools website, saladbars2schools.org. However, in order to receive a salad bar, schools must be willing to do some work on their end.
“They apply for the salad bar and make a commitment themselves that they are going to have fresh produce available in their schools,” Stallman said.
“So that means they need the right refrigeration in their schools and the right safe handling techniques. So there’s a lot the school needs to do as well.”
Through its past work with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, Fresh Express has seen the salad bars make a difference.
“It’s been outstanding so far in several communities we have already done this program in. You know that surprisingly enough, it’s not that hard to get kids to eat their vegetables. You have to make it available to them. If it’s not available they’re not going to eat fruits and vegetables,” he said.
On top of making children more engaged at school with healthy eating, Stallman said that Fresh Express is trying to help them bring healthy habits home and create a life-long habit of eating fruits and vegetables.
The program works from a business standpoint, too. Fresh Express is able to reach its future salad and banana product customers, Stallman said. “So it really can be a win for everybody.”
United by a common mission, different areas of the produce industry — supplier, consumer and retailer — have been working toward a common cause of promoting fruits and vegetables in schools through the campaign.
“All parties were/are dedicated to making a difference to bring healthier food to schools,” said AugustineIdeas’s Tina Harder.
Additional donations for the salad bars were made by Alpine Fresh, Modern Mushrooms, Monterey Mushrooms, California Giant Berry Farms, Apio, Wholly Guacamole, National Mango Board, National Watermelon Promotion Board and Marie’s Dressings.
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