By: Tom Cosgrove, Manager, Program and Development, FMI Foundation
Hy-Vee Innovation

Hy-Vee had a simple goal last year as they celebrated National Family Meals Month™. They knew that, if families can simply share one more meal together each week, the health and societal benefits can be enormous.

This is how successful last year’s Hy-Vee National Family Meals Month™ campaign to encourage families to enjoy regular meals together was:

  • More than 302,000 families posted photos of themselves enjoying a meal together using the hashtag #HyVeeFamilyMeals on social media. In return, as promised, Hy-Vee donated $100,000 to Heartland, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the hungry.
  • More than 41,500 kids enjoyed a free meal at one of the 90-plus Market Grill restaurants in Hy-Vee stores when the chain offered a kids-eat-free deal in exchange for the purchase of an adult entrée.
  • At least 45 television and radio stations broadcast interviews with Hy-Vee dietitians throughout the eight Midwestern states where Hy-Vee stores are located.
  • Nearly 2.5 million people received messages about National Family Meals Month™ from Hy-Vee via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

These examples and more can be found in FMI Foundation’s Best Practices for National Family Meals Month™ 2017.

Understanding how important the annual month-long event was, the company marshalled all 84,000 of its employees – including 228 dietitians in 242 stores – in the effort.

The first step Hy-Vee took was to carefully prepare the collateral materials it would need to make its case to the consumers throughout the region it serves. This content includes:

  • TV commercials and videos that could be uploaded to social media channels
  • In-store and in-restaurant point-of-sale materials
  • Scripts for in-store intercom announcements
  • A full-color spread in the company’s Seasons Magazine

Even then, Hy-Vee wasn’t through laying the groundwork for what would eventually be a successful campaign.

Next it contacted more than 40 of its vendors and asked for their assistance in promoting its #HyVeeFamilyMeals social media campaign. It let congressional representatives and governors in the eight states it serves know about the campaign and asked for their participation.

There are more than 50 large school districts in the area Hy-Vee serves and each one of them got messaging about the campaign they could include in their school newsletters and communications with parents. The company followed that up with a news release that went to 2,600 media outlets and trade publications.

By the time September 30 rolled around, you would be hard-pressed to find anybody from Minnesota and Wisconsin down to Iowa and Illinois who hadn’t learned about Hy-Vee’s effort to encourage families to enjoy one more meal together each week.

What’s your plan for this year’s National Family Meals Month™? Go to to learn how you and your company can participate.