One thing that strikes me when I look at the Produce Marketing Association Sesame Workshop Eat Brighter! page “See who has joined us” is that the lack of retail participation so far. That’s disappointing, and I’m wondering why more retailers aren’t jumping on board.

Why haven’t Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix, and other major retailers signed on to the Eat Brighter! promotion? Is the issue the contract that retailers have to sign (one industry leader alluded that in a recent conversation) or is it something else? Comments from readers are welcome on this point.

Mars Hill Supermarkets, Neiman’s Family Market and Schnuck Markets are retailers on the Sesame Street “go” list, but we expect more numbers than that out of this effort.

In general, I expected more buzz out of the Sesame Street Eat Brighter! promotion than we have seen so far. I know the pitch and exposure of the campaign will increase as time goes by, and hopefully by Fresh Summit in October there will be more news to share about more robust retail and supply side participation in the Sesame Street promotion.

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After a recent visit to one their suburban Kansas City stores, one of the retail chains I have been paying more attention to lately is Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., with second quarter results found here. The fast growing retailer has targeted organic and natural foods customers in ten states and keeps expanding.

 The latest news is that Sprouts will add 10 stores in the first quarter of 2015. 

Find a nice representation of the company in this high graphic “investor deck” quarterly report.

 The supermarket has “flipped the script” by making the produce department the center of the store, and the chain’s focus on competitive pricing is also attracting notice.

It would be hard to imagine going into a Sprouts store and not buying produce. I don’t know what the percentage of consumers’ expenditures on fresh produce might be at Sprouts, but I’d wager it is higher than the traditional supermarket or mass marketers. In a study published by the USDA ERS earlier this year, the agency said researchers used Nielsen Homescan purchase records for the years 1998 to 2006 to construct quarterly food shopping baskets for over 40,000 households.

From the report:

Important differences between supermarket and supercenter shopping baskets emerged. Fruits and vegetables accounted for 6.6 and 7.3 percent of food spending, respectively, at supermarkets but 4.8 and 5 percent, respectively, at supercenters. If a family of four were to eat according to USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (a minimal cost, nutritious diet), 46 percent of its food budget would go to fruits and vegetables, including 100 percent fruit juices. Commercially prepared foods constituted 45.1 percent of spending at supercenters and 37.3 percent of spending at supermarkets.

Commercially prepared foods are a large and disparate category that contains sweet and savory snacks, frozen meals, and packaged side dishes. Most of the foods in this category are high in saturated fats, sodium, or added sugar and the Dietary Guidelines recommend limited consumption.

 

TK: Before we can tell consumers to make fruits and vegetables half their plate, we should start by telling them to make half their grocery cart fruits and vegetables. It is much easier to do at Sprouts than at Wal-Mart.