RETAIL PROMOTION ALIGNS PRODUCE WITH GENERAL MERCHANDISE

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Kroger Co., Wegmans Food Markets, Schnuck Markets and about 17 other supermarket chains are participating in a cross-department retail promotion involving the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Dole Food Co. and the Crayola brand."There's a Rainbow on My Plate" is an educational program that teaches young children and their families about the PBH's "5 A Day The Color Way" campaign,

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Kroger Co., Wegmans Food Markets, Schnuck Markets and about 17 other supermarket chains are participating in a cross-department retail promotion involving the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Dole Food Co. and the Crayola brand.

"There's a Rainbow on My Plate" is an educational program that teaches young children and their families about the PBH's "5 A Day The Color Way" campaign, and the importance of eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. It runs all through March, the National Nutrition Month.

Participating retailers have placed shipper displays in their produce departments. The shippers hold "There's a Rainbow on My Plate" coloring and story books, which are free with the purchase of any Dole fruit or vegetable and Crayola Erasable Twistables, a crayon with a built-in eraser and twist-up tip. Each shipper holds 80 coloring books and 80 packages of Crayola Erasable Twistables. The shippers also contain tear pads with 55-cent coupons for Dole and Crayola products.

A total of 7,000 supermarkets are participating. Other chains that have signed with the program include Safeway, Big Y Foods, Hannaford Bro.'s and Harris Teeter.

Schnuck Markets, St. Louis, got involved because the promotion not only helps kids develop healthy eating habits, but also gives additional exposure to Crayola crayons and the produce department, according to Mike O'Brien, vice president, produce, Schnuck.

"This seemed to be a win-win situation for everyone involved," O'Brien told SN.

The promotion is also running in over 12,000 elementary schools. The education program incorporates PBH's "5 A Day the Color Way" campaign. It includes lessons about different fruits and vegetables, among other information.

This is the second year that PBH has run the promotion. This year's campaign is different in that it includes a national coloring contest for children ages 4 to 12. The grand-prize winner in each category will receive a year's supply of fruits and vegetables from a local participating retailer, and other prizes.

Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif., is sponsoring the program to help make an impact on young children's eating habits, said Amy Myrdal, Dole's director of nutrition marketing and education.

"Our research shows that kids often think the produce department is boring, that it doesn't speak to them. This changes that," Myrdal said.

"Our products make it fun for children to be creative," added Dean Erlandson, vice president of sales for Crayola-maker Binney & Smith, Easton, Pa., "and we're extending the experience to inspire them to include color in all areas of their lives, including the dinner table."