Obama Highlights Work of Local Supermarket Retailer

WASHINGTON -- Jeff Brown, president and chief executive officer of Brown's Super Stores, was the guest of honor seated in first lady Michelle Obama's box during President Obama’s State of the Union Address Wednesday night. The president cited the need for supermarkets in inner-city areas.

WASHINGTON -- Jeff Brown, president and chief executive officer of Brown's Super Stores, was the guest of honor seated in first lady Michelle Obama's box during President Obama’s State of the Union Address Wednesday night.

The president cited the need for supermarkets in inner-city areas. Brown has been working with the Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), a program initiated in Pennsylvania that combines state and private money to provide grants and loans for grocery-store development in underserved areas.

Tom Zaucha, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association, said, “NGA applauds President Obama’s decision to highlight the work Jeff Brown has done with FFFI. Jeff Brown is a shining example of giving back to his community and how independent retailers dedicate themselves to serving the interests of members of their local communities, resulting in the development of strong, lasting relationships with both customers and employees.”

Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO, Food Marketing Institute, also praised Brown’s work and said FMI was supportive of an effort to tackle childhood obesity spearheaded by Michelle Obama. “Grocers share her concern and look forward to collaborating with the administration on the unique role our industry can play by providing better access to food that promotes healthy lifestyles and educating our customers about nutritious foods,” Sarasin said.

Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association, said GMA is supportive of the first lady’s efforts to combat obesity, and said CPG companies have worked to create more healthful options for consumers. “In recent years, we have changed our packaging to promote portion control and we have reformulated more than 10,000 products to reduce or remove saturated fats, trans fats, calories, sugar and sodium,” she said. “In October we launched the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation -- a $20 million initiative designed to help reduce obesity, particularly childhood obesity, by 2015 by promoting energy balance in the marketplace, the workplace and schools.”

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