Industry groups partner with feds on "Eat Well" initiative

3/8/2013

The Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) grocery division and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers are among several industry groups that have partnered with the federal government on a comprehensive program designed to promote healthy living.

Media groups including Corus Entertainment, Astral Media and TC Media, as well as the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Dietitians of Canada, are also participating in Health Canada’s “Eat Well” initiative, designed to help Canadians make informed eating choices at home, at the grocery store, and when dining out.

RCC members participating in the program include Costco, Walmart, Sobeys, Metro, Loblaws, Canada Safeway, Federated Co-operatives Limited and Co-op Atlantic. Their participation will range from point-of-purchase signage to social media activity and/or notices in their weekly flyer.

“The objective is to ensure that we continue to provide Canadians with the right education to help them make choices that are right for their family’s lifestyle,” said David Wilkes, senior vice-president, grocery division with the RCC. “The more we educate, the more we’re going to make people understand the right approach to their weekly shopping, and that’s going to ensure a healthy lifestyle.”

Health and wellness is a key platform for the RCC’s grocery division, joining other areas of focus such as food safety and sustainability.

Activation at the retail level, said Wilkes, is key to reaching consumers where dietary decisions are made. “It helps people make choices that are right for their lifestyle where they’re making those choices, at the grocery store,” he said. “What our members have that’s unique is the ability to reach consumers across the country.”

The program got underway this month with a focus on what Wilkes described as “food skills,” such as building a proper shopping list and understanding how percentage daily value information on food labels.

Future iterations of the program, planned for June, September and January, will address other healthy lifestyle fundamentals such as adding so-called “crunch and colour” to a grocery basket, reducing sodium intake, and trying new fruit and vegetables.

“It’s fundamental information that leads to sustainable long-term knowledge about the right choices for individual healthy lifestyles,” said Wilkes.

The in-store activations are being complemented by a series of vignettes featuring the stars of the Corus reality TV series The Wilsons that highlight the importance of healthy eating and sodium reduction. The vignettes will run on Corus-owned properties including W Network, CMT, OWN and YTV.

Vignettes starting nutritionist Catherine Lefebvre and Astral celebriety Saskia Thuot will also air on Astral’s Canal Vie, Canal D, VRAK and Teletoon, complemented by digital activations including blog posts, videos, articles, Facebook posts, tips and recipes.

Articles will appear in TC Media’s flagship publication Canadian Living and its French-language counterpart Coup de Pouce.

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