Parents have more options than five years ago to make sure their children can eat a healthy, balanced meal when they dine out.
Now it’s even easier thanks to first lady Michelle Obama and Darden Restaurants.
The Partnership for a Healthier America, a private nonprofit that works with the first lady, secured a commitment from Darden (which operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains among others) to make fresh produce side items the default with kids meals.
The move puts kids menu offerings more in line with the government’s own MyPlate dietary guidelines, which reserve half the plate for fruits and vegetables.
Federal nutrition efforts and the restaurant industry increasingly are doing their part to improve consumer awareness of fresh produce’s importance in diets and its presence on menus.
Whether Americans follow will their cue remains to be seen, but at least most kids don’t make dining decisions themselves.
Unlike many segments of the food industry, produce marketers are fortunate to benefit from this push for better nutrition, but it shouldn’t sit back and leave the heavy lifting to others.
Fruit and vegetable marketers’ innovation in fresh convenience items for foodservice (McDonald’s Apple Dippers come to mind) has paid off handsomely for the trade’s profits and consumers’ health.
In a dynamic marketplace like the food industry, marketers can’t afford to sit still. More lobbying and continued product innovation are crucial.
The first lady said it best: Let’s move.
Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.