California Raisins Available to all Students in Nation's Second-Largest School District

Press Contact:
Melinda Coffman
California Raisin Marketing Board
(559) 248-0287
melinda@raisins.com

California Raisins Available to all Students in Nation’s Second-Largest School District

Los Angeles Unified School District Kicks Off

(FRESNO, CA. November 19, 2003) The California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB) announced today the expansion of its successful “Raisins Rock” marketing program into 450 schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The program will be officially launched on Thursday, November 20, at Glenfeliz Boulevard School. The school is holding 3 assemblies for the CRMB to talk about health and nutrition to their students.

Raisins Rock is an unconventional approach to marketing commodity-type products through foodservice programs. To compete with branded snack food and soda companies, the CRMB persuaded the USDA to replace their generic packaging with kid-friendly boxes that proclaim “Raisins Rock”. The CRMB supports the program with point-of-sale materials including sneeze guards, banners and posters.

With raisins a long time favorite of their students, LAUSD foodservice and administrative personnel recognized the potential for Raisins Rock packaging and point-of-sale materials to make California raisins even more attractive to students. They agreed to participate in the CRMB program because they felt it would encourage more students to choose nutritious alternatives to fatty and processed-sugar-loaded snacks. A unanimous vote by the LAUSD Board of Education to prohibit the sale of junk foods in school vending machines and student stores and putting strict limits on the amount of fat, sugar and sodium in any snacks sold during the school day continued to support this decision. Then, legislation to prohibit all public elementary, middle and junior high schools in the state from selling sodas on campus signed by California Governor Gray Davis in early October provided further incentive.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, the Federal Center for Disease Control considers more than 15% of American children aged 6-19 to be obese, up from 6% two decades ago. Also, doctors are seeing more children with “adult” ailments linked to obesity, including high blood pressure, clogged arteries and type-2 diabetes. These risk factors are especially high for Hispanic children, who make up the majority of students in this district.

In fact, for many pediatricians today, the country’s most pressing health issue is overweight children. Poor eating habits and lack of exercise have brought childhood obesity to an all-time high. Bursting with flavor, chewy raisins add sweetness and energy to kids’ diets. Low in sodium and fat-free, naturally sweet, providing carbohydrates, fiber, potassium and other minerals, California raisins are good to eat. Kids love them! That’s why Raisins Rock! California raisins are a natural for nutritious school lunches and snacks.

This announcement follows an order from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for over 37 million individually sized boxes of raisins to use in school foodservice programs in selected areas throughout the country. CRMB’s “Raisins Rock” marketing promotion won wide acclaim in 2002 as a pilot program for the Denver Public School’s Food and Nutrition Services.

John Beck, president of CRMB, says, “There are about 5,000 raisin farmers in California and they are adamant about kids getting turned on to healthy foods. They recognize that kids need to develop a palate for raisins because they will be tomorrow’s grocery shoppers. So CRMB’s goal is twofold: (1) help kids make healthy choices today and (2) develop tomorrow’s customer base.”

About The California Raisin Marketing Board – Created by a State Marketing Order in 1998, the California Raisin Marketing Board is 100 percent funded by 5,000 raisin grower members. Their mission is to support and promote the increased use of California-grown raisins throughout North America and to sponsor research of the fruit’s nutritional benefits. To learn more about the California Raisin Marketing Board, visit its web site at www.calraisins.org.

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