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    Safeway, Star Athletes Help ‘Raise a Healthier Generation’

    The relaunched “Lunchbox Winners” program urges kids to eat produce, be more active.

    Safeway and Olympic figure-skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi joined forces to relaunch the grocery chain’s “Lunchbox Winners” produce program earlier this month in almost 1,500 stores across the United States. The goal of the program is to provide families with more nutritious school-lunch and snack ideas. Inspired by Safeway’s desire to support the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) “Fruits & Veggies – More Matters” and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiatives, “America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids” programs aim to produce a generation of active, healthy children.

    The Lunchbox Winners featured athlete for January is Yamaguchi, who is sharing her favorite “Winning Wrap” recipe and urging kids to realize their dreams and make better food choices. Yamaguchi, in common with the program’s last two featured athletes, soccer champ Brandi Chastain and Olympic gold-medal gymnast Dominique Dawes, may make personal appearances in Safeway locations to meet with and offer encouragement to young fans.

    “We are committed to helping our customers by offering programs that engage the whole family to make better-for-you choices and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle,” noted Steve Burnham, VP/GM, corporate produce at the Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain. “The Lunchbox Winners program gives our customers great ideas that encourage their children to eat well and stay active. It is also why we will continue to support [the] Fruits and Veggies–More Matters public-health initiative to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables, and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign.”

    Created exclusively for Safeway by Roseville, Calif.-based consumer marketing agency Consumer Effects, Intl. and running through May 2011, Lunchbox Winners spotlights a series of professional athletes to convey its message to youngsters. February’s featured athlete will be Olympic snowboard cross gold medalist Seth Wescott. Each month, shoppers will find new booklets in the store, offering easy snack and lunchbox recipes. All featured products for the recipes will be displayed and available for purchase in the produce department.

    “The campaign is a great example of how retailers can take an active role to ensure kids have healthier lunchbox and snack options every day,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of Hockessin, Del.-based PBH.

    Lunchbox Winners additionally includes an interactive website, www.LunchboxWinners.com, for both parents and kids. The site has recipes and information from featured athletes, including an “Ask the Athlete a Question” section, and provides links to further resources for parents among them www.LetsMove.gov and www.FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org. The initiative is backed by in-store radio and point-of-sale materials.

    Safeway operates 1,702 stores in the United States and western Canada.

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