ELKHART, Ind.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--What is the main obstacle to getting kids to eat healthier? Research suggests that it might be simply a lack of healthy options – a situation that is even more pronounced in the Midwest.
Committed to increasing healthier options for students, Dole Food Company, grocery retailer Martin’s Supermarkets and wholesale foods supplier Caito Foods have partnered to donate salad bars to five public schools in Indiana. These self-serve produce bars will feature a wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost new choices for students at breakfast and lunch.
“Since one in three Midwest children, ages 9 to 11, is at risk or already overweight, we need to look at whole new ways to encourage healthier eating,” said Bil Goldfield, Dole’s director of corporate communications. “One of Dole’s goals is to start the nutrition conversation, and offer tangible healthy alternatives, as early in childhood as possible. By offering permanent salad bars stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, we are hopefully establishing healthier eating habits that will last a lifetime.”
The school districts receiving the new salad bars include:
- Elkhart Community Schools (Elkhart, Ind.): Two salad bars
- Fairfield Community Schools (Goshen, Ind.): One salad bar
- Southwest School Corp (Sullivan, Ind.): Two salad bars
Representatives from Dole, Caito Foods, Martin’s Supermarkets and the United Fresh Foundation presented West Side Middle School in Elkhart today with a new salad bar at a dedication ceremony.
“This new salad bar supports our commitment to health education,” said West Side Middle School Principal Kristie Stutsman. “It enables us to provide more fresh fruit and vegetables so West Side students can make fresh meal choices every day.”
“Caito Foods is pleased to partner with Dole and Martin’s Supermarkets and United Fresh to improve students’ access to fresh produce,” said Bob Kirch, president of the Indianapolis, Ind.-based wholesale food provider. “We’re proud to be able to play a role in keeping these salad bars stocked with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables, and to start impacting behaviors that could ultimately change lives.”
“Martin’s is known as a Midwest leader in high-quality fresh produce – so it’s only fitting that we help make today’s salad bars possible,” said Martin’s Supermarkets Director of Produce & Floral Ed Osowski. “Helping students and their parents discover the joys of new recipes featuring fresh fruits and vegetables aligns perfectly with the Martin’s mission.”
The salad bars were arranged through a partnership with the United Fresh Foundation to support the organization’s Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which is committed to increasing children’s produce consumption by working with the produce industry, foundations and allied businesses to support salad bars for schools nationwide. In January 2014, the Foundation announced a special Midwest focus to their campaign, aligning the initiative with their annual produce industry convention in Chicago. Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools, a special campaign under the umbrella of the national effort, is focused on supporting salad bars for schools in six Midwest states: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
“We are pleased to partner with Martin’s Supermarkets, Caito Foods and Dole to provide salad bars to schools in this area of the country, ensuring students here will have access to more fresh produce, and healthier options at lunch,” said Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association. “Salad bars are a visual representation of healthy school meals, they are popular with students who enjoy making their own healthy choices, and salad bars are often a conversation starter amongst students, school administrators and parents about the importance of eating more fresh fruits and vegetables each day.”
New USDA nutrition standards for school lunch require schools to dramatically increase the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables served to students each day, and salad bars are the easiest way for schools to meet these requirements. Research and experience in schools across the country demonstrate that children significantly increase their fruit and vegetable consumption when given a variety of choices in a school salad bar. When offered multiple fruit and vegetable choices, children respond by incorporating greater variety and increasing their overall consumption.
Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has facilitated the donation of salad bars to more than 3,500 schools, benefitting nearly 2 million students every day. Nationwide, salad bars are changing school food environments and helping students make the healthy choice, the easy choice.
About Dole Food Company, Inc.
Dole Food Company, Inc., is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit www.dole.com.
About Caito Foods
Caito Foods is the nation's premier distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a gathering of the produce industry’s most talented and passionate associates, Caito strives to make their customers successful. FreshLine, Caito’s acclaimed fresh-cut processing operation, creates the exciting Garden Highway array of value-added products and Blue Ribbon Transport provides logistics solutions to companies across the nation. Caito Foods has three Distribution Center locations serving retail and commercial customers in almost every state. For more information, go to www.caitofoods.com/
About Martin’s Supermarkets
Founded in 1947 by Jane and Martin Tarnow, Martin's Supermarkets is still family-owned and run by CEO Rob Bartels Jr. (third generation). The regional grocery store chain operates more than 20 locations throughout Indiana and southwest Michigan. In addition to catering, film processing, full-service floral departments, and traditional supermarket fare, Martin's offers ready-made meals for busy shoppers. Many of their supermarket locations feature fuel centers and nearly two-thirds of their locations feature in-store pharmacies. The company is adding drive-through pharmacies and local delivery service at some of its stores. For more information, go to www.martins-supermarkets.com/.
About the United Fresh Foundation
The United Fresh Foundation is the United Fresh Produce Association’s 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization designed to help meet the public’s need for healthy, high quality, safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. The United Fresh Foundation is devoted to enhancing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables through environmental change and public policy, and industry commitments to charitable endeavors. The Foundation is working to double the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by American children, helping to end childhood obesity in the next generation.
About Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools
Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools is a public health campaign to increase salad bars in schools across the country so that every child has the choice of healthy fruits and vegetables every day at school. Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. Founding partners are: The United Fresh Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, Food Family Farming Foundation, and Whole Foods Market. More information can be found online at www.saladbars2schools.org or www.unitedfresh.org/saladbars.
About Elkhart Community Schools
Elkhart Community Schools is a district that serves approximately 13,000 students and is known for high-quality programs, quality teachers, supportive learning environments, and strong parental and community support. Elkhart Community Schools is comprised of fourteen elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, an alternative education center, and a specialized career center. Elkhart Community Schools is committed to the continual pursuit of excellence for all students by inspiring the belief that learning is a lifelong process.