Costa's 'Hip' School Meals Program Rewards Kids

BOSTON - A unique, distributor-driven, healthy school-meals program is in its final test weeks at Costa Fruit and Produce here.

The program, called "Kid Fit," rewards school kids for choosing healthy meal options while going through the cafeteria line, explained Manuel R. Costa, president of the privately-held distributorship that was the ID Innovator of the Year in 2001.

"It's the most exciting thing that we're doing and we've gotten a great deal of positive feedback," beamed Costa. "It's a cool, hip program."

Costa, who has been servicing schools in New England for more than two decades, is serious about contributing to the healthfulness of children. He believes that fruit and produce have always had strong opportunities in schools but were outdone in promotional efforts by some food vendors.

"It's not just an obesity issue. Kids who don't eat right and don't have the proper nutrition learn slower and that's been proven. There is a link between good nutrition and a child's cognitive abilities," Costa opined. "We're trying to do something that is good and we think it's going to be a big hit. We need to do things that are socially conscious and good for these kids, who can't just be looked at as consumers. Somebody has to step up to the plate and say, there's a real issue here."

More about Manuel R. Costa's comments will appear in the upcoming Jan. 30 edition of ID Report

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