WASHINGTON – Yesterday at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) fifth annual Building a Healthier Future Summit, Savannah, Georgia-based enmarket and the McLane Company announced their commitment to join the PHA and provide healthier food choices for consumers. Franklin, Tennessee-based ESSTAR, a natural food sales, marketing and distribution company that partners with convenience stores to implement its healthy food stations, was also recognized.
Enmarket joins Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Twice Daily, U-Gas and Vintners Distributors Inc. in supporting the nationwide effort.
“We’re honored to work with the Partnership for a Healthier America, and we’re thrilled to have enmarket’s efforts in providing healthier food choices for kids and their parents recognized,” said Matt Clements, enmarket’s director of marketing. “There are many organizations involved in the PHA, but only five other convenience store chains. This underscores the fact that convenience stores can do something to improve healthier food access, and we’re happy to be at the forefront of that movement within our industry. It is a long-term commitment for enmarket.”
Enmarket has increased the availability of better-for-you snacks in its stores, with more organic, gluten-free and non-GMO options for customers. Fresh salads, sandwiches and produce are delivered multiple times each week, so enmarket can offer the freshest possible products on its shelves. Many enmarket locations prepare fresh grab-and-go offerings daily on site.
Enmarket’s restaurant concept, The Eatery, includes fresh made-to-order offerings such as sandwiches, salads, burritos, premium coffee and smoothies. Also, in support of PHA’s initiatives, enmarket will integrate Drink Up branding into store promotions and incorporate FNV marketing collateral across its stores to encourage more customers to drink water more often and eat more fruits and vegetables. (Read more on enmarket’s initiatives in NACS Magazine).
“Today there are more convenience stores than warehouse clubs, supercenters, dollar stores, supermarkets and drug stores combined,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler, in a press release. “With more and more consumers demanding healthier options, there is a huge opportunity for growth among the expanding number of convenience stores, like enmarket, that are stepping up to meet this demand for healthier products and make the healthy choice the convenient choice.”
As part of McLane’s commitment, the grocery and foodservice supply chain services company will enhance its healthier-for-you offerings and support PHA’s goal of solving the childhood obesity crisis within a generation. McLane is the first grocery and chain restaurant distributor to make a commitment to PHA.
“We’re honored to come on board as the first grocery and chain restaurant supply chain distributor to support PHA’s efforts,” said Tony Frankenberger, president of McLane Grocery Distribution. “It is now more important than ever for the food, retail and distribution industries to work together to help solve the childhood obesity problem, and to offer consumers fresh and healthier products to make better food choices on a daily basis.”
In addition to providing healthier options for customers across the country, McLane will support its employees in leading healthy lifestyles. The company will offer a free FitBit program to encourage their teammates to make healthier choices and track their progress. McLane will also implement a healthier food catering guide for corporate meetings and events to ensure team members have options that include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and more. McLane will also partner with PHA’s Drink Up and FNV initiatives by offering marketing materials to its retail partners. Together, McLane and PHA will encourage customers to drink water more often and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.
“Consumers are shopping more and more at convenience stores throughout the week, and their demand for healthier options—regardless of where they shop—is not slowing down,” Soler said. “We are proud that companies like McLane are stepping in and joining the ranks to provide thousands of Americans access to nutritious foods. This is a tremendous opportunity to reach customers where they are—in convenience stores, drug stores, mass retailers and restaurants.”
In addition to enmarket and McLane, Mars Food U.S. also pledged to improve the nutritional quality across its product portfolio, including reducing sodium and added sugars, increasing vegetable servings, increasing whole grains, and updating its nutrition criteria to reflect 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by 2021.
More convenience stores are partnering with their communities to provide healthy food and information, such as through PHA. The NACS reFresh initiative works with retailers to find ways to connect with and promote these healthy and community-oriented projects. A number of free resources including toolkits, reports, podcasts and how-to videos have already been created to help convenience retailers overcome distribution challenges, strategically target customers with better-for-you items and determine just how “fit for fresh” their stores are.
PHA is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of the nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. Supported by honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama, PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. PHA ensures that commitments are kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress its partners are making to show everyone what can be achieved by working together.