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Chelan Fresh, NFL team up with 2011 apples for Fuel Up to Play 60

Partnering with a national program to encourage healthy eating and physical exercise and playtime for youngsters, Chelan Fresh Marketing of Chelan, WA, is taking an active role in the fight against childhood obesity.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a campaign launched this year by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, with additional partnership support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In its role with the program, Chelan Fresh is dedicated “to helping grocery retailers bring more to students,” according to Chelan Fresh Marketing Director Terry Braithwaite.

Mr. Braithwaite told The Produce News Aug. 31 that some 70,000, or two-thirds, of the nation’s schools and 24 million students are currently involved with the Fuel Up to Play 60 curriculum. There is the potential to more than 36 million children in the campaign.

The goal, he said, is to encourage children to eat low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

“We know that to play for 60 minutes, kids have to eat right,” Mr. Braithwaite said. He added that while most of the physical activity time will be at home, schools, along with parents, must be involved in the education process.

“We want to get better food into schools,” he said.

The Fuel Up campaign started with this year’s Northwest apple harvest and will run though Super Bowl in 2012. Test markets for the curriculum include Florida and Colorado, although those markets are not NFL team-specific.

In Washington, however, the program works directly with the Seattle Seahawks.

Chelan Fresh is distributing fruit in bags and bins emblazoned with Fuel Up for 60 logos and information and providing fruit for the schools.

In prepared remarks, Mr. Braithwaite said, “Through our partnership with Fuel Up to Play 60, we are able to put healthy, delicious foods into children’s hands across the country. We’re excited to be a part of the solution and to be working with Fuel Up to Play 60 to combat this childhood obesity epidemic together.”

“This extraordinary reach validates Fuel Up to Play 60 as a vehicle for youth to make positive changes for themselves and for adults to support them,” Mr. Braithwaite’s prepared statement said. More information is available at FuelUpToPlay60.com.

Mr. Braithwaite also noted that Chelan Fresh’s PMA Fresh Summit booth No. 4875 will have corporate representatives and school team coordinators from the National Dairy Council, along members of the Seattle Seahawk organization to greet convention attendees.

In addition to the new partnership, Chelan Fresh continues its program with Disney Pixar’s “Cars 2” movie with bags and display-ready cartons that include access to worldofcars.com web site. The site is promoting a contest for Cars video games.

Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing, said the promo also aims to foster healthy food choices in young people, and it is being conducted in partnership with Sam’s Club.

Mr. Riggan said the 2011 apple season got underway the third week of August with light volume, and he said Galas were set for shipping on Sept. 9.

“We will hit volume by Sept. 15,” he said.

The varieties will ship in their normal order this later-than-usual season, and Mr. Riggan noted that Galas, Fujis and Grannies have sized somewhat smaller.

“We also have more small Reds this year,” he said, adding that weather in the weeks prior to harvest was good for fruit maturity.

Honeycrisp will be up in volume “significantly,” and Fujis saw an increase in production as well this year.