CHANDLER, Ariz. — In an effort to get local children — and their parents — to try healthy snacks, Bashas' recently participated in the first Arizona Kids Expo, a new event geared toward connecting local families with parenting resources and services in the Phoenix area.
“We got some of our key kids' vendors to participate, to donate products,” Bashas' corporate dietitian Barbara Ruhs told SN. “Mott's made a huge donation of applesauce, with individual cups, in three flavors. The one that caught everybody's attention was their blueberry applesauce.”
Ruhs said the blueberry applesauce, decidedly blue in color, was a huge hit with kids. Their parents were particularly interested, too, because that flavor is all-natural, with no sweeteners.
Some companies, such as Earthbound Farms, gave away cents-off or dollar-off coupons for their products, and also distributed coloring books that educate kids about the origins of food. Earthbound Farms also gave away a pocket guide to choosing organic products.
Local vendors, too, participated. Hickman Farms, for example, donated “eggs on a stick,” which turned out to be another kid favorite. They were hard-boiled eggs stuck on Popsicle sticks. A variety of dips such as salsa, guacamole and flavored sour cream were made available for egg-dipping.
In addition to distributing vendors' products, Bashas conducted a drawing for $25 gift certificates for Bashas' stores.
“We had little cards that [drawing] participants were asked to fill out, with their email address, their ZIP code and some other information,” Ruhs said. “Then, on the last day of the expo, we had five pulled from the box. We emailed the winners the next day.”
Approximately 8,000 people attended the two-day Kids Expo, which was held at the University of Phoenix's football stadium in nearby Glendale.
“It was great exposure for us,” Ruhs said. “I think it's so important for supermarkets to get involved in community and charitable events. I usually don't see any other supermarkets around here at these events.”