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Hy-Vee Inc. and Dole Food Co. teamed up to donate five salad bars to schools in central Iowa’s United Community School District, part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has donated more than 1,440 salad bars serving more than 720,000 children across the country.
“Education and experience go hand-in-hand in the development of good eating habits,” said Jason Sheridan, Hy-Vee assistant VP of produce operations. “When children have the chance to sample fresh fruits and vegetables at school, they’re more likely to ask for them at home. This is a wonderful example of how schools and businesses can work together to create healthier communities.”
As schools work to comply with the USDA’s new nutrition standards for school lunches, salad bars serve as a reasonably priced, attractive option to increase students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables. As of 2011, Iowa was the 20th most obese state in the country, according to the eighth annual “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011” report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“Research has shown that it can take at least 10 exposures to a new food before it is accepted by children,” said Marty Ordman, Dole’s VP of marketing and corporate communications. “Salad bars can increase exposure to new fruits and vegetables and create a sense of ownership for students through the selection process. And from what we are seeing, students are trying – and liking – almost everything that is being offered to them.”
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc. operates 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states.