Research has shown that regular meals shared at home with family provide long-term academic and societal benefits. Yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30% of American families share dinner every night. Today’s families are juggling jobs, school, sports, long commutes and other demands of a busy, modern life, often at the expense of family mealtimes at home. Food retailers can be allies.
“No matter the family structure the grocery store can play an important role in bringing people together,” says John Mount, The Coca-Cola Company’s vice president of customer marketing. “By promoting family meals, whether partially or fully prepared at the grocery store, or made from scratch using store-bought ingredients, retailers are better positioned to meet their customer needs and compete in this competitive marketplace.”
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) created National Family Meals Month in September to highlight the mealtime solutions grocers offer and to encourage families to gather for one more meal per week. By working with supplier partners like The Coca-Cola Company, retailers can highlight simple, healthy meal ideas and inspiration to help make more family meals happen — and make meaningful connections with shoppers.
The Benefits of Family Meals
The Coca-Cola Company is among those suppliers supporting FMI’s family meals effort as part of The Company’s overarching effort to encourage occasion-based purchases that include beverages. By developing solutions together with retailer partners that best serve shoppers, The Coca-Cola Company helps grocers leverage growing consumer interest in the deli area and cooking meals with fresh ingredients.
It’s not uncommon for summer meals to be more informal and catch-as-catch-can, but back-to-school signals a time for families to return to routine. Part of that schedule includes the family meal, which retailers can encourage and inspire alongside other back-to-school promotions. Furthermore, by promoting family meals at home, whether partially or fully prepared at the supermarket, or made from scratch using store-bought ingredients, retailers position themselves to better compete against the convenience offered by quick-service restaurants.
Family Meals Month represents a real opportunity for retailers. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers say that it’s very or extremely important to eat more meals together as a family5. Perhaps more significant, households reported the following changes in their behavior after engaging with the Family Meals Month campaign6:
Tools for Success
In addition to working with suppliers like The Coca-Cola Company to implement in-store family meal campaigns, food retailers can utilize the tools provided on the FMI National Family Meals website. The site includes content such as research, videos and celebrity endorsements to promote National Family Meals Month, as well as activation ideas and a database of tips and real-world examples of meal solutions effectively deployed by FMI members.
Retailers can also create awareness by including National Family Meals Month in brand communications, including social media, by using the hashtags #familymealsmonth and #raiseyourmitt — a reference to an aspect of the initiative calling for consumers to “Raise Your Mitt to Commit” to having one additional family meal at home per week.
The Gold Plate Award
In 2013, the FMI Foundation established an award to recognize grocers and suppliers who creatively participate in National Family Meals Month in September by implementing outstanding programs to encourage family meals. Examples include cooking with kids, themed dinners, breakfast with the family and more. For more information on award criteria and categories, visit the FMI Family Meals Month website.
Along with its grocer partners, The Coca-Cola Company is committed to helping families eat well together to be well together. Contact your Coca-Cola representative today to find out more about the resources The Company brings to the table.
1. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
2.“Family Meals Annotated Bibliography,” Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network
3. Pediatrics 2011
4. The Journal of Paediatric Child Health, November 2013
5. Neilsen Analysis, 2016
6. Neilsen Analysis, 2016