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Safeway is partnering with Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi to relaunch the highly successful Lunchbox Winners produce program in nearly 1,500 stores across the nation.

The goal of the program is to offer parents an easy solution for school lunches and snack ideas that are better for their kids and easy for parents. The inspiration for the program came from Safeway's desire to support Fruits & Veggies - More Matters and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids programs to help raise a generation of active, healthy children. The Lunchbox Winners featured athlete for January is Olympic champion figure skater and "Dancing with the Stars" winner Kristi Yamaguchi. Ms. Yamaguchi shares her favorite “Winning Wrap” recipe and inspires kids to realize their dreams and make responsible food choices.

Just as in the first two months of this program with soccer champ Brandi Chastain and Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes, select athletes may make personal appearances in Safeway stores to interact directly with and inspire their young fans. “We are committed to helping our customers by offering programs that engage the whole family to make better-for-you choices and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle,” Steve Burnham, vice president and general manager of corporate produce for Safeway, said in a Jan. 6 press release. “The Lunchbox Winners program gives our customers great ideas that encourage their children to eat well and stay active. It is also why we will continue to support Fruits and Veggies–More Matters public health initiative to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign.” Lunchbox Winners features a variety of professional athletes who encourage children to eat well and stay active. In February the program will feature Olympic snowboard cross gold medalist Seth Wescott.

The successful program will run through the school year, ending in May. Shoppers will find new booklets in the store each month with simple snack and lunchbox recipes. All featured products for these easy-to-prepare recipes will be displayed and available for purchase in the produce department. “We are thrilled to be a part of the Lunchbox Winners campaign,” Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, added in the press release. “The campaign is a great example of how retailers can take an active role to ensure kids have healthier lunchbox and snack options every day.” The program also includes an interactive web site (www.LunchboxWinners.com) for both parents and kids. Additionally, the web site features recipes and information from featured athletes, including an Ask the Athlete a Question section. The site also links to additional resources for parents, such as www.LetsMove.gov and www.FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org.

The initiative will be promoted by in-store radio and point-of-sale materials.