GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spartan Stores here is the first company to launch a new online program designed to teach children basic cooking skills and develop their nutrition know-how.
The “Cooking Together, Cooking Forever” training program kicks off in October at Spartan’s Family Fare banner with a series of eight videos, released monthly. The videos include a “Nutrition Bytes” segment featuring Allison Reed, corporate dietitian at Spartan, who gives health tips related to the particular cooking technique — such as knife skills or roasting — taught in that month’s lesson.
“By teaching these cooking skills, we are giving families the tools they need to prepare healthy meals, not just by following a recipe, but actually learning how to cook,” Reed told SN. “The point of this program is to bring the focus back to home-cooked meals, get families in the kitchen, and make it easy for them to eat around the dinner table more often.
“I believe that eating more nutritious, home-cooked meals will lead to a healthier generation.”
The Cooking Together, Cooking Forever program was developed by Del Prince, Pittsburgh, which also runs the “Apples for the Students” cause-marketing program used by many supermarket operators.
"Obviously the obesity problem is … not something any one program is going to automatically correct, but it is a very simple issue — it is calories in, vs. calories out,” Mitch Sheffler, executive director, Del Prince Marketing, told SN. “We are trying to attack this from the ‘calories in’ side of the equation.
“What we have found is that parents are not teaching cooking in the home the way they used to. The old Norman Rockwell, 1950s-style image of parents teaching their kids to cook so they can do it for themselves in adulthood, is just not happening any more.”
Ben Del Prince, president of Del Prince Marketing, said the program is designed for companies that don’t necessarily have a dietitian in every store but want to reach more customers with a nutrition-based message. The program is promoted through schools, so that teachers encourage parents to have their children sign up.
Spartan pays Del Prince on a per-store basis for the use of the program, which the supermarket operator can customize to incorporate various store-specific content, such as nutritional store tours or product information.
Customers of Spartan’s Family Fare banner can sign up at www.ctcf.org/familyfare through September. The website will house all the videos as they are released, plus recipes, nutrition education materials, culinary techniques, and “fun food facts,” Reed explained.
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