USDA teams up with largest Hispanic food company to promote My Plate

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 26- First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new partnership with Goya Foods, the largest, Hispanic-owned U.S. food company, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote “My Plate” or “Mi Plato.”

The First Lady joined Bob Unanue, president of Goya Foods, today in Tampa, Florida to promote the Spanish-language version of “My Plate,” the USDA's new educational tool replacing the Food Pyramid. "My Plate" illustrates the five food groups on a plate image for proportions.

“Any culture can interpret the plate in a way that is true to their traditions,” said the First Lady at the National Supermarket in Tampa. “You just fill up half of the plate with fruits and vegetables, you start there, and you fill the rest of it with lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy products. It is just that simple.”

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She said the Administration worked with groups including the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus over the past two years to learn about Hispanic communities. 

“Hispanic parents are facing pretty much the same challenges that everyone else is,” she said. “But we also know that the Hispanic communities face unique challenges.  While one in three kids in America are overweight or obese, we know that in the Hispanic community, it's nearly two in five.”

She added that the economic recession hit Hispanic communities especially hard, making it more difficult to buy fresh, healthy food given that Hispanic neighborhoods have one-third as many supermarkets as non-Hispanic neighborhoods. 

“But also we have to understand that government doesn't have all the answers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this kind of issue,” she said. “Companies like Walgreens and SuperValu are making commitments to sell healthy food in 1,500 underserved communities. That's huge.”

Goya is using the "Mi Plato" icon on the labels of products like beans, black beans, chickpeas and pinto beans. The company is also producing coupons, pamphlets and cookbooks. 

“Thanks to Goya's new commitments, parents across the country will have the information, the tips, the recipes they need to put this framework into practice,” said the First Lady.  “And truly, that is what we miss. It's just the information. We just need to know how this works.”

“My Plate” is part of Michelle Obama's “Let's Move!” initiative. 

Goya Foods announced it will collaborate with “Let's Move!” and USDA in the following ways:

• A Goya-produced brochure featuring a series of recipes that meet the Dietary Guidelines that support MiPlato and ten tips for healthy eating. The Goya sales force will offer these brochures to 32,000 supermarkets to distribute in their communities.

• Goya will print MiPlato posters for distribution in various supermarkets and grocery stores.

• Goya will produce brochures with a Goya savings coupon that will be distributed to a variety of national Hispanic associations and organizations at the various festivals and events that Goya sponsors throughout the year.

• In the spring, Goya will launch the official MiPlato cookbook and distribute copies to their consumers.

• Goya developed comprehensive lesson plans for 4th through 6th grade students using beans as education characters, and will distribute these to elementary schools in six major cities including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami and Tampa.

• The MiPlato icon will be printed on six different Goya products including black beans, pinto beans, white beans, chick peas, red kidney beans and the sazón Goya natural and complete.

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