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National Restaurant Association - NRA chief Sweeney talks healthful choices at produce association meeting

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NRA chief Sweeney talks healthful choices at produce association meeting

The restaurant industry is making big strides in increasing the availability of more healthful menu items and helping to educate consumers on those options, National Restaurant Association CEO Dawn Sweeney told members of the Produce Marketing Association at their recent board meeting.

Sweeney addressed those efforts at the PMA's June 5 meeting. She also highlighted the collaboration between the two organizations, saying, "We partnered with the PMA on Foodservice 2020, [a project that is geared toward creating] more produce-rich restaurant menus by the year 2020. Through our efforts, more restaurants are reinventing their relationships with produce [vendors] across the supply chain to ensure consistency of supply, flavor, quality, and operational efficiency."

Sweeney also outlined the growth of the NRA's Kids LiveWellSM program, which was developed as a result of the convergence of industry trends around nutrition and healthful options, and calls from health advocates, including first lady Michelle Obama, who really put the issue of childhood obesity on the front burner.

The initiative launched last July with 19 brands and 15,000 locations participating. Today, the program boasts 101 member brands and more than 25,000 locations.

"Kids LiveWell has received universally positive press," Sweeney said, but it's much more than a media strategy. It's a great program for consumers and a great boost to the public understanding of the responsiveness of the restaurant industry to their needs."

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