MIAMI – January 25, 2015 –– The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation yesterday announced a September marketing initiative with the nation’s grocers aimed at highlighting food retailers’ unique family meal programs and their commitment to bringing families back to the table, one meal at a time. Numerous studies have underscored the long-term health, academic and societal benefits of eating together as a family, yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, about 30 percent of American families share dinner every night.

With family mealtime at a critical intersection, the FMI Foundation is calling upon the industry’s collective voice and influence to launch "National Family Meals Month." This month-long FMI member communications campaign will give the grocery industry a unified theme and turnkey promotional tools to encourage consumers to lean on their local supermarket to prepare one more family meal per week at home.

National Family Meals Month was introduced last night during the FMI Foundation annual gala event, which celebrates the accomplishments and investments of the food retail industry in addressing social concerns. Cathy Polley, FMI Foundation’s executive director and FMI vice president of health and wellness, explained that National Family Meals Month will provide FMI Members with both the platform and tools for showcasing their mealtime resources.

"Our members are doing more than ever to inspire and support home cooking, from quick dinner solutions, cooking classes and nutrition advice, to shortcuts like pre-prepped ingredients and freshly prepared entrees," Polley said. "FMI’s resources will give members a new way to showcase these creative meal programs throughout September."

"Food retailers are known supporters of their communities and proponents of neighborhood values," said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. "Their commitment makes them a logical and reliable font of resources and meal solutions encouraging families to eat more meals together – an activity with known societal benefits. This campaign highlights how food retailers and wholesalers fulfill their mission of feeding families and enriching lives."

Beginning in February, FMI will offer its members a free downloadable toolkit featuring customizable promotional and social media materials that enable grocers and consumer product brands to easily integrate National Family Meals Month marketing into their existing promotional schedules. Members can access the toolkit on FMI’s Family Meals
Resources for Media:

Johns Hopkins University, Study Suggests that Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient for a Healthier Diet, November, 2014

Do Family Meals Make a Difference? By Eliza Cook and Rachel Dunifon, Cornell University College of Human Ecology, 2012

Consumer Affairs, Family dinners can help keep kids trim, October 2014

How Family Meals May Fight Obesity, October 2014

The Journal of Pediatrics, The Protective Role of Family Meals for Youth Obesity: 10-Year Longitudinal Associations, September 2014