Spartan Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPTN), a leading Midwest grocery distributor and retailer based in Grand Rapids, MI, will be supporting their current Health & Wellness Initiative by introducing a free educational program to the public. Spartan partnered with Programs For Sustainable Change to bring their Cooking Together, Cooking Forever (CTCF) program to the area under the Family Fare Supermarkets banner.
Programs for Sustainable Change is an organization dedicated to making a difference by creating a set of fun and educational programs designed to increase the health and wellness of the family. A common principle for all of programs is a high level of parent involvement.
Allison Reed, RD and Corporate Dietitian for Spartan Stores, is leading the effort by contributing to nutrition education materials, resources, and video segments for each episode describing the health benefits of the cooking techniques and recipes used in the lessons. A combination of instructional videos and support materials, delivered via email and the web, are used to teach techniques and nutrition information.
“One of the major contributors to childhood and adult overweight and obesity is that a good portion of the population does not know how to cook. Cooking Together, Cooking Forever is a completely online program and is geared towards kids ages 9-16. We aim to provide instruction on an essential life skill by teaching children and their parents how to cook tasty, nutritious meals using fresh ingredients. Families can use the program at home, teachers can incorporate materials we’ve created in their lesson plans, and community groups can sign up for the program and use the tools we’ve developed as part of their nutrition education programs. Lesson plans have been developed by family and consumer sciences teachers according to national standards for family and consumer sciences education curriculum,” said Ms. Reed.
Just as children must learn reading, writing, and math, a healthy serving of nutrition and cooking education is necessary for the transition to successful, healthy adulthood. In addition, children need the teamwork of the school system and involved parents to build a strong foundation around how to select, prepare, and portion healthy foods.
The Michigan Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is solidly behind CTCF. “Michigan PTA is really excited to be part of the Cooking Together, Cooking Forever program. I'm not sure you can find a better way to break the fast food habit and build healthy eating habits than to teach children how to use fresh ingredients to cook and let them experience that cooking is fun,” according to Sandra York, Executive Director of the Michigan PTA.
According to Ms. Reed, “ROI will be measured by analyzing customer spend prior to and during program implementation. Loyalty card numbers will be captured when customers sign up for the program. Customers will be prompted to enter this information so they can receive special offers and discounts on grocery and general merchandise they will need to participate in the various cooking lessons taught in the videos. ” The program launches in October and will run throughout the 2013-2014 school year.