Dole Partners with Meijer to Donate Salad Bars to Five Schools

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What is the main obstacle to getting kids to eat healthier? Research suggests that it might be simply a lack of healthy options – a situation that is even more pronounced in the Midwest.

Committed to increasing healthier options for students, Dole Food Company and Meijer have partnered to donate salad bars to public schools in Detroit, Cincinnati and South Bend, Ind. These self-serve produce bars will feature a wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables, to boost new choices for students at breakfast and lunch.

“Since one in three Midwest children, ages 9 to 11, are at risk or already overweight, we need to look at whole new ways to encourage healthier eating,” said Bil Goldfield, Dole’s director of corporate communications. “One of Dole’s goals is to start the nutrition conversation, and offer tangible healthy alternatives, as early in childhood as possible. By offering permanent salad bars stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, we are hopefully establishing healthier eating habits that will last a lifetime.”

The school districts receiving salad bars include:

Cornerstone Charter Schools Detroit: One salad bar

South Bend Community School Corp., South Bend, Ind.: Three salad bars

Dohn Community High School, Cincinnati: One salad bar

Representatives with Meijer and Dole today presented Cornerstone Charter Health High School in Detroit with a new salad bar at a dedication ceremony.

“We are all very excited about this new salad bar, which will reinforce nutrition education messages while providing students the ability to select from a variety of fruit and vegetable options each day,” said Cornerstone Charter Health High School Principal Michael Griffie.

“Meijer is best known for the freshness it offers in the grocery aisles, and we are pleased to partner with Dole to improve access to fresh produce with these salad bars,” said Brian Coates, senior produce buyer at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. “With these salad bar donations Meijer aims to really impact the lives of students by making healthy food options readily available at school.”

The salad bars were arranged through a partnership with the United Fresh Foundation to support the organization’s Let's Move Salad Bars to Midwest Schools initiative, a new multi-year campaign aimed at increasing produce consumption in children by donating salad bars to schools in six Midwest states: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The Midwest effort is a special campaign under the umbrella of the national Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has donated salad bars to more than 2,800 schools nationwide.

“We are pleased to partner with Meijer and Dole to provide salad bars to schools in this area of the country, ensuring students here will have access to more fresh produce, and healthier options at lunch,” said Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association. “Salad bars empower students to make healthy choices and get kids excited to eat their fruits and veggies at school and beyond.”

New USDA nutrition standards for school lunch require schools to dramatically increase the amount and variety of fruits and vegetable served to students each day, and salad bars are the easiest way for schools to meet these requirements. Research and experience in schools across the country demonstrate that children significantly increase their fruit and vegetable consumption when given a variety of choices in a school salad bar. When offered multiple fruit and vegetable choices, children respond by incorporating greater variety and increasing their overall consumption.

Nationwide, school salad bars are changing school food environments and helping students make the healthy choice, the easy choice.