The FMI Foundation created the Gold Plate Award in 2013 to highlight the outstanding programs implemented by the retail food industry to encourage family meals. Examples include healthy family meals, quick and easy family meals and recipes, cooking with kids, themed dinners, breakfast with the family, MyPlate meals, and much more. The award recognizes outstanding programs that food retailers and suppliers have implemented, to encourage families to share more meals, together at home, more often.
Northgate Gonzalez Markets’ “Cada Comida tiene una Historia / Every Meal has a Story” campaign took a two-prong approach. Their campaign and provided all materials (written and audio) in both English and Spanish, an effective strategy to reach and engage the 40 diverse communities they serve in Southern California. The goals of this family-owned company’s program were to bring awareness of the benefits of sharing a meal with family; share insightful tips to ease preparation of home cooked meals; and promote family meals by offering weekly specials Pilon/Deal of the week. Northgate created a special National Family Meals Month™ sticker label to place on their most popular items, building toward a full meal. Over 20,000 labels were utilized for their most popular products/Pilon’s of the week. Northgate Gonzalez Markets also ensured their associates had fun and learned the importance of family meals, in addition to their shoppers. Each store held health and wellness events for associates and shoppers. At their headquarters, each of the 10 departments had a team competing in a family-style potluck. Each department was given a different theme for their meal and over 60 employees joined the family potluck meal.
Tops Friendly Markets’ “Tops Table Time” campaign utilized six local social media influencer in their campaign to drive home the importance and benefits of sharing family meals. These influencers were given informational materials about National Family Meals Month™, as well as easy recipes to share with their audience. Tops’ marketing campaign included weekly ad circulars, in-store radio and signage, direct mail, digital media and social media. The campaign was mainly web-based and the landing page featured a comprehensive family meals toolkit that included: a 30-day challenge calendar; “no phone challenge” template; shopping lists for different ages; recipe collection/Pinterest inspiration; and ugly fridge sweepstakes. The purpose of the Tops Table Time campaign was to challenge families to share one more meal together, as well as one more activity. Separate shopping lists for family members provided a template for food shopping together. Feedback from associates and shoppers revealed that this was their most engaged year yet and that the toolkit was a success.
Hy-Vee, Inc.’s “2019 National Family Meals Month at Hy-Vee” campaign went above and beyond, with an overall purpose to increase awareness about the health and societal benefits of sharing frequent family meals and to provide information, resources, and solutions to help make eating together easier. Promotions included in-store events; tv and radio commercials; on-air news mentions; social media, digital, and print advertising; in-store signage and announcements; and community outreach. During the first week of September, families of store owners and local news celebrities participated in a family meal set up in the middle of the store during business hours. This meal included a cooking demo and was the launch of their win a free dinner contest. Over 3,000 customers (average of 750 per market) entered the contest to 'win a free family meal' and a $250 gift card to Hy-Vee for groceries. Over the course of the campaign, Hy-Vee served $12,000 worth of free family dinners and $30,000 in gift cards to 120 families across their eight-state area. Hy-Vee also offered a “Kids Eat Free,” promotion with the purchase of an adult entree at their Grille Express. This promotion alone served 30,000 children in 117 in-store restaurants. Hy-Vee registered dietitians also hosted weekly Facebook live segments featuring easy family recipes and Q & As. Each week, the store’s front case had a selection of grab-and-go dinners so that families had the option of eating once they get home or to preparing the together, making dinnertime less stressful. Lastly, Hy-Vee led efforts to secure proclamations from all Governors in their eight-state region, resulting in September being named Family Meals Month in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Wakefern Food Corp’s “ShopRite’s Family Meals Month: From Our Family to Yours,” campaign focused around the heartbeat of the company—family. Wakefern stores are owned by 50 different families. The store owners shared their family mealtime stories, pictures, and recipes with each other and customers to raise awareness on the benefits and share the joy of sharing meals with one’s family. Wakefern Food Corp. provided customers with free “From Our Family to Yours” family meals-themed recipe books featuring campaign messaging. The recipes from the booklet came from Wakefern employees, enabling them to share their family meals with their customers. Wakefern’s omni-channel marketing campaign included highway billboards, influencer-driven campaigns, over 100 registered dietitians, social media, circulars, ads, commercials, and recipe books.
Campbell Soup Company’s “Campbell’s Family Meals Month Campaign” goal was to inspire customers to enjoy simple family meals more often. Campbell’s utilized social media, digital activations, and in-store signage/displays to disseminate their campaign to consumers and health professionals. Circular coupons and monthly newsletters included promotions on family mealtime food items with links to the Campbell’s website. The Campbell’s dietitian team also created a special edition of their monthly newsletter on campbellnutrition.com that linked to resources on the benefits of family meals, branded recipe solutions, FMI resources, and showcased other non-profit organizations participating in the National Family Meals Month™ campaign.
National Pork Board’s “Meal Solutions for Schools, Retail, and Partners” campaign goal was to spread awareness on the importance of National Family Meals Month™ through heritage, and the importance of sustainable farming in partnership with Young Minds Inspired. They accomplished this by developing downloadable handouts for teachers, parents, and administrators. Emails to family and consumer sciences (FACS) educators explained the importance of National Family Meals Month™ and how it can be tied into their curriculum. Each email highlighted a different topic: pork utilized in cultural food preparation (e.g., ham pinwheels, Peruvian-style pork stir-fry); sustainable farming practices; observances such as Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) featuring Latin flavors in pork and Heart Health Month (February) related to pork’s nutritional contribution. Each email had a link to education materials with further detail on that week’s topic, handouts/worksheets for class, and a letter to be sent home highlighting what they discussed and recipes. Additional materials were available on the website to further describe how the National Pork Board is working to understand generational shifts by highlighting their sustainable practices and transparency, targeting Millennials and Gen-Z.
The Goal Plate Awards recognize retailer and supplier programs that creatively participated in National Family Meals MonthTM in September.
The FMI Foundation will be gathering information about National Family Meals Month participation by food retailers and suppliers throughout the food industry during the month of September. The Gold Plate Award winners will be decided based on each company’s participation.
The following criteria will be used in the selection of Gold Plate Award winning programs:
Winning companies will be selected in four categories: