More than 40 retailers representing more than 19,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada now support the Eat Brighter! movement.

Retailers have started to show strong backing for the initiative and the participating suppliers, and are eager to accept the Sesame Street-branded product into their stores, according to a news release from the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association. A series of updates have been added to the program and marketing to allow produce industry members to incorporate the Sesame Street character images, royalty-free, into their marketing strategies, according to the release.

Five retailers received their own licensing to display Eat Brighter! in-store signage and dozens of other retailers have said they will accept Sesame Street-branded in their stores, according to Meg Miller, director of public relations for PMA, More retailers are expected to become licensed in coming weeks, Miller said. A full list of suppliers and retailers participating in the promotion is available on the PMA Website .

“We’re delighted by the response from both the supply- and buy-side of the industry,” Cathy Burns, president of PMA, said in the release. “We’ve spoken with each and every one of these companies, and they believe in the movement to help kids eat more fruits and vegetables. They are all industry leaders and recognize that success is defined through the collaboration and support they lend to one another.”

New updates to the program, according to the release, include:

  • Canada joins the U.S. as an approved region;
  • PLU and co-branding guidelines for packaging labels have been added;
  • thematic campaigns have been added to the marketing toolkit, including Autumn, Winter/Holiday and Spring/Grow;
  • school foodservice and commodity boards are now approved for participation; and
  • Spanish and French translations are now available.

Companies among the earliest adopters are introducing Eat Brighter! into nearly 50 product lines for retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada, according to the release.

“The goal here is grand, but simple — to change the conversation around fresh produce and inspire kids to think about fruits and veggies in a completely different way,” Todd Putman, chief marketing officer of Bolthouse Farms and chairman of PMA’s marketing taskforce, said in the release. “The U.S. is in a serious health crisis — one third of all kids are obese and our industry has the answer. The Eat Brighter! movement is exactly what we need to help the entire industry come together, change that conversation, and ultimately create healthier generations for decades to come.”