Maryland businesses encourage kids to eat more fruits and veggies


— Baltimore-area businesses are taking the lead in a national movement, ‘eat brighter!’ to inspire young children and their families to eat more fresh produce. With the help of friends from Sesame Street, fresh produce supplier East Coast Fresh (Savage, Md.) and Baltimore-headquartered grocery retailer Mars Super Markets are putting emphasis, and marketing, in the produce department where Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo and several other furry faces will adorn packages of fresh fruits and vegetables. Mars is the first retailer to partner with a supplier like East Coast Fresh to offer the ‘eat brighter!’ product in stores.

East Coast Fresh, which services 2,500 retail stores east of the Mississippi, is including 20 of its 130+ products in its ‘eat brighter!’ marketing program. Ross Foca, president, said his company will measure success of the program by how many of the company’s retail partners get involved, and of course, whether East Coast Fresh sees an increase in sales.

“For sales, we truly expect them to go up, and I feel ok about that because we’re helping customers to become healthier,” Foca said. “We’re excited about increasing sales and targeting a younger generation of families with a program that’s coming with no additional costs to them.”

The ‘eat brighter!’ movement offers royalty-free access to Sesame Street characters and was forged by Produce Marketing Association, Sesame Workshop and the Partnership for a Healthier America. The initiative is supported by grocery retailers and fresh produce companies across the United States and Canada.

Mars Super Markets, a family owned business in Maryland with seventeen grocery stores in Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, and

Contests, fresh produce sampling of a variety of fruits and vegetables drew families into the produce department to learn more about healthy eating.

“We are excited to take part in this program,” Chris D’Anna, chairman and CEO of Mars Super Markets says. “The Sesame Street partnership will be a great way to engage and educate children about good nutrition and making good choices.”

To learn more about the ‘eat brighter!’ movement, visit