US Dry Bean Featured in French School Menu Promotions
January 24, 2007
In 2005-2006, the United States Dry Bean Council organized a US dry bean menu promotion, in cooperation with the French food service group, Avenance. Avenance is the Health and Education catering division of the Elior Group, 3 in the European food service market, with an annual turnover in sales of $3.6 billion. Elior, with some 55,800 employees, serves 12,100 restaurants and outlets, providing meals for 2.4 million customers per day.
The target group was children aged 6 to 11 in French public schools. Over 200,000 children in 2,200 school canteens across France were served US Great Northern and dark red kidney beans.
The French Ministries of Health and Education is committed to a policy of healthy eating in schools, to help combat the rising level of obesity in French children. Avenance must, therefore, provide full nutritional information to the government for every food or food ingredient that it serves. The excellent nutritional profile of US dry beans played an essential role in getting the USDBC menu promotion approved by the French authorities.
In order to raise awareness of US dry beans and the health benefits of consuming all types of dry legumes, all 200,000 children received two information cards, with a recipe printed on the back of each. Both information cards talk about dry beans, their American origin, where they are grown, how they are used, and why it is good to eat them. The cartoon character, Lulu, tells the story of dry beans in the materials distributed to the children.
Two recipes were presented: a thick white bean and ham soup called Appalachian soup (for Great Northern beans) and Californian croquettes for dark red kidney beans. Each recipe carries the image of a small American flag. The recipes were designed to be quick and easy, to encourage the children to cook the dishes at home with their mothers.
In addition, a poster was displayed in each of the participating 2,200 school lunch rooms, showing all the different classes of US dry beans. The image used was taken from a US Dry Bean Council photo. The name of each of the US dry bean classes is given in French for the children to see and discuss with their teachers.
Following are samples of the various print materials produced for the French school menu promotion: