By: Tom Cosgrove, Manager, Program and Development, FMI Foundation

Skogen's Festival FoodsWarmer weather means it’s almost time for summer- which also means it’s time to start thinking about National Family Meals Month™! Although we believe family meal time should be emphasized every month, we celebrate family meals each September. To help you prepare for this September, I’d like to highlight the activities of one of our 2016 Gold Plate Award winners, Festival Foods.

Festival Foods was selected as a Gold Plate winner for their omnichannel campaign that involved the enthusiasm and support of associates throughout their company. The Festival Family Meals campaign focused on helping families enjoy regular meals together and highlighted the resources Festival offered to those families. To showcase their National Family Meals Month™ campaign, Festival Foods used print, digital, and television advertising, social media, radio spots, partnering with community groups and vendors, and an assortment of in-store events.

One of the primary methods that Festival Foods used to promote the theme of National Family Meals Month™, featured their team of dietitians. Their retail dietitians hosted a Twitter chat and a Facebook live interview about Family Meals, and incentivized consumer participation by giving away Festival Foods gift cards and a cooking class with Festival’s dietitians. During the twitter chat, the dietitians gave advice and ideas for their favorite 20-minute meal recipes. In addition, Festival’s dietitians appeared on local news to explain the program and share plans for National Family Meals Month. The newscasters continued promoting family meals throughout the rest of the month.

Festival Foods also reached out with a personal touch to their local communities. Several store leadership teams collaborated with local schools to share the National Family Meals Month™ message. Their deli team hosted in-store samplings on Saturdays, and distributed free product as well as 5,000 Festival Foods oven mitts. These mitts popped up in consumer social media posts, further spreading awareness and the message of Family Meals. Festival’s retail dietitians increased their education on family meal solutions and worked in partnership with the deli team during Festival’s Saturday Dine at Home Deli samplings. They saw a large increase in sales for Dine at Home Deli items the week they were demoed, demonstrating their success in helping families eat a meal at home together.

Congratulations to Mark Skogen and his team at Festival Foods on their award winning National Family Meals Month™ programming!  I look forward to seeing all of the ways that the retail food industry promotes and celebrates National Family Meals Month™ this September! Learn how to join the Family Meals Month movement at