By: David Fikes, Executive Director, FMI Foundation
Americans are using family meals to stay strong – physically and emotionally – during the pandemic; and they plan to continue this positive practice when a new normal is established. The FMI Foundation conducted a national survey confirming that three-quarters of American have been having the same amount or more family meals both in-person and virtually. Moreover, these family meals have been helping people to feel more connected to their family since the pandemic started. Many even said it was the high point of their days, making family meals one of the silver linings in the dark clouds of the global pandemic.
The food industry has responded to this new energy surrounding family meals. Retailers of every size are sharing their significant plans for National Family Meals Month™ activations. At the same time commodity groups and trade associations started to unveil elaborate plans to celebrate National Family Meals Month too. Leaders like Produce for Better Health have proven extraordinary partners, enabling us to collaborate on joint promotions for National Family Meals Month and National Fruit & Veggies Month.
Our updated consumer messaging for National Family Meals Month during COVID-19 is “Stay strong with family meals.” Ironically, the totality of these trade activities has illuminated the fact that our industry also is staying strong with family meals! Our business partners have realized consumers didn’t need to be reminded to have one more family meal at home per week. Consumers already are doing that due to circumstances. Instead our National Family Meals Month collaborators are shining a light on the emotional and physical benefits we continue to get from family meals – especially in life’s difficult moments – and they are giving consumers lots of tools and tips for achieving more family meals.
Here are just a few examples of how industry groups are underscoring the ongoing benefits of family meals:
- SpartanNash’s Family Fare has developed an entire month-long celebration for National Family Meals Month including digital advertising, family-friendly video recipes, blogs and more.
- Eggland's Best is celebrating National Family Meals Month by giving fans the chance to win from hundreds of prizes to make meal time easier, including a chance to win the Grand Prize of $5,000 to help upgrade their kitchen in the Better Family Meals Instant Win Sweepstakes 2020.
- ShopRite built upon their previous family meals campaign with a new theme this year: “Just Add Family,” which acknowledges that great family moments don’t require grand meals, they just require togetherness. The supermarket is supporting the campaign via social media, broadcast TV commercials, weekly circular promotions, digital ads, dedicated online pages and outdoor billboards.
- The North American Meat Institute has conducted television interviews on local stations across the country in which registered dietitians demonstrated fun and easy ways to enjoy family mealtime with Beefshi, a sushi-style concept using prepared meats.
- Harmons is supporting the month with blog posts for the store web site and special recipes developed by the cooking school chef with recipe cards for in-store distribution. The “Taste of Harmons” podcast also featured National Family Meals Month and the retailer added a dedicated landing page to their web site to compile all of the recipes and information
- The Seafood Nutrition Partnership adopted and adapted our new messaging into a campaign telling consumers to “Stay Strong with Seafood & Family Meals.” And the association will be extending the family meals messaging throughout October during National Seafood Month.
- Hannaford has extensive promotion planned throughout the month of September including a dedicated video on YouTube; nutrition education discussions by all registered dietitians at most stores; end cap displays in 99 store locations; reference to the celebration throughout the month in local radio spots and small community newspaper publication; and a full promotion a flyer going to 2.5 million shoppers.
- The National Pork Board and USA Pulses created an entirely new campaign for National Family Meals Month, called Powerful Pairings, which provides consumers of multiple generations and ethnicities with clever meal planning ideas featuring combinations of their products.
- Food City is partnering with the National Pork Board and USA Pulses on their Powerful Pairings promotion too. All 125 stores showcase signage to promote featured recipes, as well as a kids’ scavenger hunt worksheet. Food City will promote the month in their advertising and will distribute coupons for these products. Also, merchandising displays and digital boards in stores will have Powerful Pairings information and recipes. There are weekly social media videos and posts promoting kids cooking and family meals. Weekly local TV segments and radio spots will also promote National Family Meals Month and Powerful Pairings.
These are just a few highlights from the current roster of more than 600 organizations that are actively promoting National Family Meals Month. Clearly, family meals are helping America and our industry stay strong. There is no doubt that family meals are the foundation for a healthy nation, which is why we encourage the food industry to continue the Family Meal Movement all year long.Family Meals Movement