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PMA, Brighter Bites join to cut food waste & boost consumer health

Empowering healthy families, reducing food waste and boosting produce consumption are behind the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) partnership with Brighter Bites, a nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education and a fun food experience directly to families in under-served communities to create communities of health through fresh food.

PMA CEO Cathy Burns

“At PMA, our vision is to bring together the global produce community to grow a healthier world,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns. “Being able to grow healthier families while reducing food waste through this grass-roots, community-based program helps PMA and our members bring that vision to life. We are excited to partner with Brighter Bites to provide them with strategic insights, financial resources and partners throughout the industry that will enable them to take their multi-state program to a larger national scale. ”

Brighter Bites was inspired and created by a mom who successfully changed her children’s eating habits. She envisioned creating the same change in under served communities by channeling surplus produce to families, meeting them where their kids already are – at school and summer programs. 

Parents and other volunteers pack bags of fresh, seasonal produce for families to pick up and take home each week during two eight-week sessions during the school year and an additional eight-week session during the summer. These two bags of fresh produce contain about 50 servings of eight to 12 different produce items. 

Lisa Helfman, Brighter Bites founder with Brighter Bites bags

“Brighter Bites has grown because our program works, but also because we have incredible partners who help keep our data-proven program going across the U.S. Between local food banks, growers, suppliers, and distributors, the produce industry has bent over backwards to ensure we have enough product to meet our required 50 servings of produce per family each week” said Lisa Helfman, Brighter Bites founder and board chair. 

“We know Brighter Bites is making a difference in people’s lives and we are thrilled that the produce industry has decided to help us create long-term change in the under served communities where we currently operate with an eye for future growth.”

Delivering on the promise of fun, tasty, healthy produce
Since its inception in 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 15 million pounds of fresh produce to over 30,000 families. Its goal is to change behavior among children and their families and to increase consumption of fresh produce to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. The program has a simple formula: produce distribution, nutrition education and a fun food experience that includes sampling a recipe of the week to see just how great produce can taste.

Brighter Bites educates parents through nutrition handbooks, recipes and tip sheets, and supports teaching coordinated school health lessons in the classroom while providing teachers with the same fruits and vegetables the families receive, encouraging them to use them during in-class lessons and to change the culture of the school.

Research says it works
A two-year, peer-reviewed research study by UTHealth School of Public Health demonstrates that families ate most or all of the produce provided by Brighter Bites, which amounted to an average of 57 servings of fruits and vegetables each week. 

In addition, the research shows that once families have completed the program, their consumption of fruits and vegetables remains high – 74% of the families are maintaining the same levels of consumption as when they were getting the free weekly bags of produce.

For more information:
Cassidy Taylor
Brighter Bites
Tel: +1 302 781 5852
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