Wakefern Food Corp. may be among the first retailers to sign on to the Eat Brighter movement, but it hopes its competitors follow suit.
“The big thought from my retail perspective is that normally we talk about being competitors — competing against the Costcos of the world, the Wegmans of the world, the Walmarts of the world. This is a program which I hope all of my competitors use,” Derrick Jenkins, Wakefern's VP of produce and floral, said at the Eat Brighter Town Hall.
“This is not a program about item price. It's about raising the consumption for all fruits and vegetables and really helping the future children of the world to eat healthy and live brighter.”
Eat Brighter functions over and above any marketing strategy Wakefern might have around produce, such as for organic or health and wellness.
“When you can captivate children's minds and have them tell their parents, 'I want to go to the produce department and buy produce,' that's a first in our industry. You do item and price all day long, you do sampling all day long, but to have them want to buy it and not have to worry about price, that's a win for the growing industry and retailers around the world,” said Jenkins.
The retailer hopes Eat Brighter will help increase produce consumption in neighborhoods that sometimes lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We as a marketer and a retailer, we market in areas that are food deserts today and we're trying to raise the constant awareness of eating healthy. And to have this tool as part of my toolkit and merchandising to go forward, I'm excited about it,” said Jenkins.
Wakefern's ShopRite stores will take Eat Brighter beyond produce labels to talk about how food is cooked and prepared. Retail dietitians will also tap into the movement.
“It's not just going to be a produce initiative. It's going to be a whole store initiative,” said Jenkins.
Anyone with questions about joining the Eat Brighter movement is encouraged to contact Donna Bogia, PMA's director of information and customer service.