Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hellmans Helping Ditch Deep Fryers in Red Deer Alberta

Hellman's working with chef Chuck Hughes developed a program to rid Ecole Camile J. Lerouge School in Red Deer Alberta of their deep fried cafeteria fare. It's part of the "Real Food Movement" Unilever's Hellman's brand initiated for more natural offerings. Hellman's refurbished their kitchen with state of the art appliances to help prepare fresh foods along with Hughes developing the menus.

Similar to the Jamie Oliver program in the UK and US where on his own dime and having great government opposition, Oliver tried to revamp school menus to include real food that was healthy and nutricious. Oliver faced opposition not just from government whose funding for kids school meals is so paltry, that he struggled to even provide a viable menu on such low dollars, but also from parents. The kids are so used to eating junk foodstuffs even at home, that introducing fresh salads, fruits and nuts was so alien to these students, their parents were sending them to school with lunch bags full of junk instead of co-operating with the pilot project. Opposition was also coming from the cafeteria workers where Oliver had to literally train these workers in how to make real food. Prior to him revamping the cafeteria program, these gals mostly just opened frozen boxes and either nuked it to death or deep fried it.  It also just about put Jamie Oliver out of business. He was so passionate about the program, he mortgaged his home and restaurants when funding became an issue.

What Jamie didn't have was a sponsor like Hellman's. Hellman's real food grant is in its 3rd year now and is part of a larger campaign launched in 2007, the year Unilever created downtown vegetable gardens bearing the Hellman's brand mark. It has since been discontinued. But Hellman's works with Evergreen a not for profit urban improvement organization.

Ogilvy and Mather is the agency. And these kinds of ideas should be sprouting up all over, they are great.