By: Sue Borra, Chief Health and Wellness Officer for FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation
In 2016, the FMI Foundation made huge strides to help Americans eat one more family meal at home each week. September, National Family Meals Month™ transitioned from a social media campaign to a living, breathing campaign alive in stores, on TV, on the radio, and in print and digital advertising. Some of the top examples are:
Fifty-six retailers, 15 suppliers and 36 allied organizations promoted family meals in September. Each group personalized their extraordinary efforts in unique ways including meal kits, in-store cooking classes, photo contests, community partnerships and more. The best National Family Meal Month™ campaigns will be recognized with Gold Plate Awards in January. To inspire creativity for additional 2017 National Family Meals Month™ activities, the FMI Foundation has produced retailer and supplier toolkits that are full of ideas to implement next year.
In addition to adding more pizazz to National Family Meals Month™, the FMI Foundation has completely redesigned the annual fundraising activity to highlight family meals. The brand new event called Stir It Up! is an exciting, friendly, and fun cooking challenge that will provide retail and supplier sponsors the opportunity to showcase their culinary artistry and win awards honoring Family Meals – Healthiest, Easiest, Tastiest, Most Affordable, and Best Culinary Adventure. We know food retail executives can take the heat in the boardroom, but can they cut it in the kitchen? Find out in January!
In 2016, the funds raised by the Foundation were used to award ten Food Safety Auditor Scholarships to encourage students pursuing careers in food safety. Additionally, grants were provided to important food safety programs such as Partnership for Food Safety Education program and conference, the International Food Protection Institute’s Applied Science, Law and Policy Fellowship, Institute for Food Technologists Global Food Traceability Center and the Center for Produce Safety.
These programs all reinforce the mission of the FMI Foundation to focus on research and education to address food safety, health and nutrition concerns.