When a child enters a grocery store, attention spans are short and aisles of snacks are very long. Many parents struggling to keep their child occupied head straight to the bakery to hand over that free cookie. But with 16% of children in Michigan now overweight, grocery chains and parents are seeking ways to teach healthier habits.
"The Meijer produce cart for kids really is an attempt to help children at a young age make healthier choices when they become adults," said Chris Wilson, the manager of the Okemos Meijer.
When children walk into Meijer, they can go up to a pint-sized produce stand, put twenty-five cents in, and grab a piece of fruit. Donations go to the Children's Miracle Network. Grocery chains used to place kid-friendly items at their height, but the new health conscious consumer is looking for something else.
"Grocery chains are carrying more and more healthy choices, so it gives parents a better idea about what to prepare for dinner to help make those meals more meaningful and more healthy," said Wilson.
The produce cart for kids is now in 40 of Meijer's nearly 200 stores. The average family visits a grocery store about nine times a month, so every in-store snack counts. 13% of Michigan children between the ages of 2 and 5 are considered obese, So good habits and bad habits can both be learned at a young age.
If nothing else, those carts may give children a few extra minutes of patience. The average grocery trip is 45 minutes.