Tops chefs: Grocery chain offers kids' cooking classes

Dive Brief:

  • Tops will be offering cooking classes to children 12 and older to learn how to make a special Mother's Day meal, Progressive Grocer reports.

  • The 2.5-hour course features both simple and complex dishes, like chicken Florentine in puff pastry with a mushroom sauce.

  • Grace Hanusin, regional cooking school manager at Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops, told Progressive Grocer that the class is a chance for people to come together over good recipes and good food. “What’s more is that the ingredients used in these recipes are readily available for purchase in most Tops Markets, so participants can easily make these recipes at home," she told the publication.

Dive Insight:

Every parent knows that telling a child it's time to learn something isn't as likely to get as positive a response as making a lesson a game. This kind of class for children mixes something fun wth something practical.

Tops isn't alone in this endeavor. Martin's Super Markets hosted a “Jr. Chef: Easter Fun” event for youthful customers at its 19 northern Indiana and 3 southern Michigan stores. As participants learn to make fruity Peep kabobs, crunchy bunny chow, sweet Oreo bark, colorful banana split bites and tasty cucumber sandwiches, they'll be getting some healthy eating tips. 

Like a growing number of supermarket companies, Martin's has staff dietitians who can create fun and simple recipes for kids. Alternatively, a chain might ask permission to poach from the likes of PCC Natural Markets in the Pacific Northwest, where a series of menus and events enable kids as young as 2 to get some basic kitchen skills and enjoy eating the healthy snacks they prepare. PCC's class tuition includes one child and one adult, so the adult (presumably a parent) will see what the child is learning and get ideas for extending the teaching in the home kitchen.

The clear intent of such programs, whether state or grocery run, is to instill sound knowledge about healthy eating — and making healthy choices — as early as possible in a child's life. Nearly as strong a motivator is to encourage store visits, preferably with a parent or guardian, to increase the “food sense” of the young and old(er) alike.

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Filed Under: Grocery Marketing
Top image credit: Nicholas Eckhart