The FMI Foundation recognized food retailers, suppliers and community collaborators as elite contributors to the family meal movement at its annual Gold Plate Awards during the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference last week.
“We are continually impressed by the commitment of the more than 400 companies who join the family meals movement,” said Executive Director of the FMI Foundation David Fikes. “These stores make a difference in their communities and their shoppers’ lives. Today’s winners found new ways, through innovative partnerships and programs, to support families having more meals together.”
Results of a nationwide survey with Harris Poll show 36% of Americans are cooking more meals at home and eating together more often as a family, and 41% are making healthier food choices, as a result of National Family Meals Month. The National Family Meals Month campaign witnessed a 45% increase in retailer participation; a 107% increase in supplier participation; and a 159% increase in community collaborators since last year.
Fikes added, “The same Harris Poll found that 25% of Americans have seen the Family Meals Month campaign and that 84% of Americans are willing to commit to having one more family meal each week.” In 2019, 18 states proclaimed September as Family Meals Month.
The 2019 Gold Plate Award Winners
Gold Plate Award Category: Retailer 1-49 stores
Winner: Northgate Gonzalez Market
Program: Cada Comida tiene una Historia / Every Meal has a Story
Northgate Gonzalez Markets’ “Cada Comida tiene una Historia/Every Meal has a Story” campaign took a two-pronged approach. The campaign provided all materials (written and audio) in both English and Spanish, an effective strategy to reach and engage the 40 diverse communities the chain serves in Southern California. The goals of this family-owned company’s program were to bring awareness of the benefits of sharing a meal with family; share insightful tips to ease preparation of home cooked meals; and promote family meals by offering weekly specials Pilon/Deal of the week. Northgate created a special National Family Meals Month sticker label to place on its most popular items, building toward a full meal. Each store also held health and wellness events for associates and shoppers.
Gold Plate Award Category: Retailer 50-199 stores
Winner: Tops Markets LLC
Program: Tops Table Time
Tops Friendly Markets’ “Tops Table Time” campaign utilized six local social media influencers in their campaign to drive home the importance and benefits of sharing family meals. These influencers were given informational materials about National Family Meals Month, as well as easy recipes to share with their audiences. Tops’ marketing campaign included weekly ad circulars, in-store radio and signage, direct mail, digital media and social media. The campaign was mainly Web-based and the landing page featured a comprehensive family meals toolkit that included: a 30-day challenge calendar; “no phone challenge” template; shopping lists for different ages; recipe collection/Pinterest inspiration; and ugly fridge sweepstakes. The purpose of the Tops Table Time campaign was to challenge families to share one more meal together, as well as one more activity. Separate shopping lists for family members provided a template for food shopping together. Feedback from associates and shoppers revealed that this was their most engaged year yet and that the toolkit was a success.
Gold Plate Award Category: Retailer 200+ stores
Winner: Wakefern Food Corp.
Program: ShopRite’s Family Meals Month: “From Our Family to Yours”
Wakefern Food Corp’s “ShopRite’s Family Meals Month: From Our Family to Yours” campaign focused around the heartbeat of the company — family. Wakefern stores are owned by 50 different families. The store owners shared their family mealtime stories, pictures and recipes with each other and customers to raise awareness of the benefits and the joy of sharing meals with family. Wakefern provided customers with free “From Our Family to Yours” family meals-themed recipe books featuring campaign messaging.
The recipes from the booklet came from Wakefern employees, enabling them to share their family meals with their customers. Wakefern’s omni-channel marketing campaign included highway billboards, influencer-driven campaigns, over 100 registered dietitians, social media, circulars, ads, commercials, and recipe books.
Winner: Hy-Vee Inc.
Program: 2019 National Family Meals Month at Hy-Vee
Hy-Vee’s “2019 National Family Meals Month at Hy-Vee” campaign went above and beyond, with an overall purpose to increase awareness about the health and societal benefits of sharing frequent family meals and to provide information, resources, and solutions to help make eating together easier. Promotions included in-store events; TV and radio commercials; on-air news mentions; social media, digital, and print advertising; in-store signage and announcements; and community outreach. During the first week of September, families of store owners and local news celebrities participated in a family meal set up in the middle of the store during business hours. This meal included a cooking demo and was the launch of Hy-Vee’s “win a free dinner” contest. Over 3,000 customers (average of 750 per market) entered the contest to win a free family mealand a $250 gift card to Hy-Vee for groceries.
Hy-Vee registered dietitians also hosted weekly Facebook live segments featuring easy family recipes and Q&As. Each week, the store’s front case had a selection of grab-and-go dinners so that families had the option of eating once they get home or preparing the meal together, making dinnertime less stressful.
Gold Plate Award Category: Rising Star
Winner: Newport Avenue Market
Program: We Believe in Family Meals
Newport Avenue Market’s “We Believe in Family Meals” reclaimed Tuesdays during its “What’s for Dinner Tuesday” campaign. Every week, customers pre-ordered Tuesday meal kits for pickup. These changed weekly, took no longer than 30 minutes to cook and served a family of four. Each kit included recipes for the main dish, side dishes and dessert, as well as a purple oven mitt. The purple mitts represented the “Raise your Mitt to Commit” pledge to share one more family meal a week. These images were shared on social media and entered contestants to win a $100 gift card to Newport. Newport also cultivated an eight-episode video YouTube campaign to enhance their meal kits.
Gold Plate Award Category: Supplier
Winner: Campbell Soup Co.
Program: Campbell Family Meals Month Campaign
“Campbell’s Family Meals Month Campaign” goal was to inspire customers to enjoy simple family meals more often. Campbell’s utilized social media, digital activations and in-store signage/displays to disseminate their campaign to consumers and health professionals. Circular coupons and monthly newsletters included promotions on family mealtime food items with links to the Campbell’s website. The Campbell’s dietitian team also created a special edition of their monthly newsletter on campbellnutrition.com that linked to resources on the benefits of family meals, branded recipe solutions, FMI resources, and showcased other non-profit organizations participating in the National Family Meals Month campaign.
Gold Plate Award Category: Community Collaborator
Winner: National Pork Board
Program: Meal Solutions for Schools, Retail and Partners
National Pork Board’s “Meal Solutions for Schools, Retail and Partners” campaign goal was to spread awareness on the importance of National Family Meals Month through heritage, and the importance of sustainable farming in partnership with Young Minds Inspired. They accomplished this by developing downloadable handouts for teachers, parents, and administrators. Emails to family and consumer sciences (FACS) educators explained the importance of National Family Meals Month and how it can be tied into their curriculum. Each email highlighted a different topic: pork utilized in cultural food preparation (e.g., ham pinwheels, Peruvian-style pork stir-fry); sustainable farming practices; observances such as Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-October 15) featuring Latin flavors in pork and Heart Health Month (February) related to pork’s nutritional contribution.