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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The convenience channel is boosting its participation in the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), with Enmarket and McLane Co. Inc. joining the commitment to offer healthy choices at convenience stores.
The companies were just two of the new partners PHA announced at its fifth-annual Building a Healthier Future Summit. PHA works with honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama and the private sector to create solutions to end the childhood obesity crisis.
"The magnitude of companies standing on stage to partner with us today is an indication that companies are, now more than ever, eager and excited about bringing Americans the healthier options they are looking for," said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. "PHA is proud to see new partners with ambitious commitments, proud of its current partners who have made great progress, and proud of the immense impact we have collectively made to support a healthier America."
Enmarket's commitment is to increase the number of healthier products offered, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat and nonfat dairy, promoting healthier offerings and supporting affordability of healthier foods.
The commitment by the Savannah, Ga.-based retailer expands upon the more than 1,000 convenience stores across the country that have already partnered with PHA to enhance accessibility to healthy foods.
“We’re honored to work with the Partnership for a Healthier America, and we’re thrilled to have enmarket’s efforts in providing healthier food choices for kids and their parents recognized,” said Matt Clements, enmarket’s director of marketing. “There are many organizations involved in the PHA, but only five other convenience store chains. This underscores the fact that convenience stores can do something to improve healthier food access, and we’re happy to be at the forefront of that movement within our industry. It is a long-term commitment for enmarket.”
Enmarket has increased the availability of better-for-you snacks in its stores, with more organic, gluten-free and non-GMO options for customers. Fresh salads, sandwiches and produce are delivered multiple times each week, so enmarket can offer the freshest possible products on its shelves. Many enmarket locations also prepare fresh grab-and-go offerings daily on-site.
For its part, Temple, Texas-based McLane becomes the first grocery and chain restaurant distributor to make a commitment to PHA. According to the company, McLane has committed to launch healthier private-label products to provide affordable, nutritious options for shoppers.
In addition, McLane launched a custom supply chain solution that enables the company to deliver fresh produce to its grocery retail customers nationwide.
"We're honored to come onboard as the first grocery and chain restaurant supply chain distributor to support PHA's efforts," said Tony Frankenberger, president of McLane Grocery Distribution. "It is now more important than ever for the food, retail and distribution industries to work together to help solve the childhood obesity problem, and to offer consumers fresh and healthier products to make better food choices on a daily basis."
McLane is also supporting its employees in leading healthy lifestyles. The company will offer a free FitBit program to encourage teammates to make healthier choices and track their progress. It also plans to implement a healthier food catering guide for corporate meetings and events to ensure team members have options that include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and more.
McLane, too, will partner with PHA's signature initiatives — Drink Up and FNV — by offering marketing materials to its retail partners. Together, McLane and PHA will encourage customers to drink water more often and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, according to the distributor.
"Consumers are shopping more and more at convenience stores throughout the week, and their demand for healthier options — regardless of where they shop — is not slowing down," said PHA's Soler. "We are proud that companies like McLane are stepping in and joining the ranks to provide thousands of Americans access to nutritious foods. This is a tremendous opportunity to reach customers where they are — in convenience stores, drugstores, mass retailers and restaurants."