ARCADIA, Calif. -- Vons here and Lowes Food Stores, Winston-Salem, N.C., are using store tours to help children become knowledgeable about nutrition.
Vons held a health and nutrition tour for elementary school students last month at the retailer's Westside Pavilion store. The tour was conducted by Lauree Bradley, Vons' nutrition specialist, and store manager Tom Jackson. Parents were also invited to participate.
"We teach children how food works in the body and how it gets from the farms to the stores. They get a total experience and see how the store operates and how good nutrition operates," Bradley told SN.
The students, who were from Warner Avenue Elementary School, also got snacks in almost every department, as well as a birthday cake.
Bradley conducts about 10 tours a month for schoolchildren, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school students. Tours last from 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the age group, but preschooler tours are only 45 minutes long.
In addition to snacks and goodies for the kids, Bradley distributes handouts to teachers that can be used back in the classroom to review what was learned on the field trip. According to Bradley, Vons has been offering health and nutrition tours at area schools for about four years.
Vons operates 315 stores in southern and central California and southern Nevada and is a division of Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.
Meanwhile, Lowes Food Stores, a 103-unit chain, which is a division of Alex Lee, Hickory, N.C., has launched the Chicago Promotion Group's "Be a Smart Shopper" program, which features store tours for grade school children.
"The curriculum is sponsored by the retailers and includes activities that drive kids and their families into the stores, including recipes and coupons," said Susan Kleinbort, president of CPG, an Evanston, Ill.-based marketing-service company.
CPG works with local grade schools and supermarket chains to implement two types of programs: consumer education and nutrition education. Lowes, which is participating in the nutrition education program, will begin doing store tours in February.
According to Kleinbort, CPG works exclusively with one chain in a market area. Twice a year, one teacher at each grade level, either K-6 or K-8, is mailed a curriculum, which is shared with the other teachers. The package includes activities and information that can be applied to daily school lessons.
Curriculum activities include exercises that make use of the Food Pyramid or teach children how to read Nutrition Facts on the backs of boxes. Also included is a template for certificates for students who complete Lowes' nutrition education program.
Lowes is the second Northeastern chain to sponsor a "Be a Smart Shopper" program. CPG expects to add two more retailers to the program in 1998, though she declined to name them.