National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Applesauce or seasoned fries?

If you are "Kids LiveWell"  type of family, you might take the apple sauce. But I have my doubts have often this choice is actually made and how badly restaurants actually want families  to make the healthy choice.

The National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell initiative is laudable in the sense it has enlisted a growing roster of restaurants to offer healthy menu options for kids, including dishes with fruits and vegetables.

But nowhere in all the hype about Kids LiveWell does it talk about the marketing money spent on these healthy options, or the success of the Kids LiveWell menu items offered so far.

I have to wonder if these menu options are simply "throw-ins" with little marketing push behind them. Go here to find a list of participating restaurants and their Kids LiveWell menu options.

As pointed out by nutrition consultant Tracy Fox, the Kids LiveWell initiative would have even more clout if it documented year to year progress on the "uptake" or demand for these healthy menu options.


Reviewing progress on the farm bill, we hear reports that the House Agriculture is expected to begin mark up of of the bill fairly soon. This talk follows the subcommittee hearing on horticulture and nutrition earlier in the week.

But all is not sweetness and light; Democrats are clearly troubled about the process and steep budget cuts to nutrition programs that have been proposed.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Ben Becker of Sen. Stabenow's office passes along this web link that summarizes the farm bill as it emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Critics say the Senate farm bill is "empty spending," particularly federal subsidies on revenue-based crop insurance for program crops. Such debates have little to do with the produce industry, but do illustrate lingering public skepticism about federal farm policy.

One Washington lobbyist said the Microbiological Data Program is zeroed out  in the recently approved fiscal year 2013 agriculture appropriations budget recently passed by the  Senate Appropriations Committee. Haven't seen that in the detail of the bill yet, but elimination of the MDP program in fiscal year 2013 appropriations would be a quietly celebrated win for the industry.



Fresh Talk hotlinks...