WASHINGTON – This week at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit, NACS and Cumberland Farms announced commitments to help make healthier choices more accessible and affordable.
Rahim Budhwani, 2016-17 NACS chairman and CEO of 6040 LLC, took the stage to announce that NACS has become the PHA’s first retail association partner. Through its commitment, NACS will rely on PHA’s resources and expertise to help conveniences stores provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores.
“Our commitment to PHA will enable us to provide both point-of-sale materials and nutrition guidance to help retailers market additional healthier items that meet PHA criteria. This helps the customer and helps grow sales of healthier merchandise, whether food or drinks,” said Budhwani. “This is especially important to smaller operators like me, who only have a few stores.”
Budhwani explained that NACS is also working with corner stores and bodegas located in both rural and urban food deserts, to transfer ideas for healthier options that they can use in their stores. “With the help of PHA, we are redefining what it means to be a great community partner, and we are taking this message to our entire NACS membership,” he said.
Over the next three years, NACS will make available to its members key resources to help them determine how to carry additional healthier choices, as well as provide promotional materials related to Drink Up, PHA’s marketing campaign to encourage water consumption. NACS also will provide healthier catering options at its events, including the NACS Show, one of the 40 largest trade shows in the United States. Specifically, NACS will:
- Continue to encourage appropriate NACS members to engage with PHA.
- Disseminate a web-based nutrition resource that could help convenience stores identify products as being healthier options and assist them in defining their better-for-you sets.
- Continue to engage small-format stores, specifically corner stores, that are often the only food source for residents in highly rural or urban settings.
- Develop and disseminate Drink Up marketing materials that encourage convenience store customers to stay hydrated.
- Emphasize wellness at the NACS office and at its industry-specific events.
“I’m proud to say that NACS is the first retail association to partner with PHA,” said Budhwani. “Above all, convenience retailing is about choice. It’s about providing both healthy options, and items that may be more indulgent. As an association, we also make choices, on how we deploy resources and who we partner with to enhance our industry. And through our NACS Foundation, I am proud to say that our choice is to work with the Partnership for a Healthier America.”
Adding to the eight convenience store chains that have already made commitments to PHA, Cumberland Farms, with 600 locations and 8,000 employees across the New England states, New York and Florida, has become PHA's largest convenience store partner to date. Cumberland Farms is committing to offer healthier food in its stores, supporting the affordability of healthier options, marketing and promoting these foods, and supporting the Drink Up Initiative.
“We have reinvented our supply chain, to make sure we have the capacity to support the unique demands of new, fresh and healthful inventory. We can now manufacture, warehouse and distribute more of our own high-quality, perishable foods than ever before,” said Charles Jarrett, CIO of the company, in announcing Cumberland Farms’ inaugural commitment to the PHA.
“By emphasizing and expanding our selection of healthier products, we'll reach almost 1 million customers who shop every day at our stores, including more than 70% located in food deserts,” said Jarrett, adding that Cumberland Farms will encourage its team members to make healthy choices by offering employee discounts on healthier foods and distributing more than 40,000 coupons for healthier foods every month.
“Of course, we want a nutritious diet to be attainable for everyone, including our most vulnerable neighbors. So, in the communities we're so privileged to call home, we're aiming to support our local food banks with more than 100,000 pounds of healthier product donations by the end of our commitment,” Jarrett said, adding that Cumberland Farms will review its private-label brand, based on PHA’s healthier food criteria, to ensure the right balance of healthful staples indulgent treats.
“On behalf of Cumberland Farms, I'm so honored to make this commitment to PHA,” Jarrett said. “We're already hard at work on our goals to prove the clear choice and convenient choice can, indeed, be the healthy choice for millions of Americans.”
In addition to Cumberland Farms, eight NACS retailer members have joined PHA in previously announced commitments: Kwik Trip (La Crosse, WI), Sheetz (Altoona, PA), Loop Neighborhood (Fremont, CA), Twice Daily (Nashville, TN), U-Gas (Fenton, MO; now operated by Wallis Oil Company), enmarket (Savannah, GA), Ricker’s (Anderson, IN) and Aloha Petroleum (Honolulu, HI). Three NACS distributor members also have joined PHA: McLane Company, Core-Mark International and Esstar.
Other commitments made during the PHA Summit include:
PepsiCo announces PHA as its official verifier. PepsiCo has agreed to utilize PHA's third-party verification process to verify their public announcement made in October 2016. This public announcement set specific calorie and sodium reduction goals to be achieved by 2025.
Feeding America, a nationwide network that includes 200 food banks in addition to 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, and a group of individual food banks, have joined PHA with a commitment to provide healthier options to the food insecure. In addition to Feeding America, PHA received commitments from: San Antonio Food Bank, Des Moines Area Religious Food Network, Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Capital Area Food Bank.
USTA, the national governing body for the sport of tennis and the recognized leader in promoting and developing the sport's growth on every level in the U.S., has recommitted to PHA in supporting healthy kids and communities.
Over the next three years, Mercedes-Benz is committing to an investment of $8.4 million in organizations working to train coaches in sports-based youth development for at-risk youth. This commitment will have a concentration in Atlanta.
"The diverse group of companies announcing commitments today are a testament not only to the importance of providing Americans with healthier, more convenient options but also to the importance of the public and private sectors working together to make meaningful strides in ending the childhood obesity crisis," said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. "PHA is honored to partner with new organizations as well as our current partners who are changing the culture around healthy eating and physical activity in communities across the country."