Susan Borra, RD Chief Health and Wellness Officer – FMI Foundation Executive Director, FMI Foundation
National Family Meals Month™ was created by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation to affect change in the number of meals that families enjoy together at home each week. It began with a platform designed for food retailers and suppliers to support consumers in making family meals a reality and, in turn, help them reap the physical, social, and psychological benefits of doing so.
What began as a campaign to shine a light on the importance of family meals during September in 2015 has grown exponentially over a period of four years to a verified societal movement. At the end of 2018, the Family Meals Movement comprised:
More than 90 food retailers representing thousands of local supermarkets across North America;
More than 40 brands and suppliers touching millions of consumers;
More than 100 community collaborator groups—including significant allied medical professionals–dedicated to improving public health;
Media and celebrities who have embraced the cause.
In short, everybody is joining the Family Meals Movement—are you? One of the best ways to join the movement is to start with National Family Meals Month™ this September.
It’s hard to describe the breadth and depth of programming and activations these partners have created. For an exciting glimpse, watch this short video.
There is no doubt that National Family Meals Month and the family meals movement are having an impact. According to Nielsen data, 28 percent of the adult population have seen the campaign in 2018. To put it in perspective, this represents an estimated 91.6 million adults and more than 35 million households!
Most importantly, Nielsen data also demonstrates that mealtime behaviors are changing! This year, 9 out of 10 consumers said they took action after seeing the campaign. These new behaviors can serve as the basis for building critical healthful habits over time, benefiting the individual and family. Top consumer behavior changes reported include:
Cooking more meals at home (43%);
Making healthier food choices (37%);
Eating together as a family more often (33%);
Purchasing more fruits and vegetables (32%).
Is your store benefitting from these changes? If not, you may want to up your game as a partner to consumers in family meals this September.
The Food Marketing Institute Foundation is doing its part to continue to bring more suppliers and community partners into the movement. It also is investing in significant amounts of consumer publicity to educate folks on why family meals are so important. This includes, but is not limited to:
Significant partnerships and communications outreach with commodity groups such as The American Frozen Food Institute, The Seafood Nutrition Partnership, and The North American Meat Institute.
National publicity with celebrities like Chef Robert Irvine who have agreed to joint media outreach to promote more family meals, especially during National Family Meals Month.
Recruitment of more national brands at companies like Nestlé, Mars, and Unilever to participate and generate major consumer activations during National Family Meals Month.
Major outreach to registered dietitians who have become an army of family meals advocates.
Promotion of new published studies that demonstrate the myriad health and nutrition benefits of family meals.
The prospect to show consumers how IGA can help them achieve extra family meals is yours. This is a tremendous opportunity to be solution providers to your customers. Raise your mitt to commit. Join the Family Meals Movement now!
IGA Retailers: Visit the Shopper Events page on the IGA corporate website for Family Meals resources—including a POP kit for purchase or download—and be sure to read the Making the Most of Family Meals Month feature story for tips for event planning and promotion.