New USDA school lunch standards fit with Grins’ mission

The USDA this week announced the first major overhaul of school lunch standards in more than 15 years. The new standards aim to put more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in front of the nearly 32 million children who get their midday meal from federally funded school lunch programs.

A good summary of what the new standards will mean for the average school meal can be found in this  USDA press release. The new standards are to be phased in over a three-year period, starting in the 2012-2013 school year.

The same legislation that set these new rules also has something to say about the beverages students are offered outside of the lunch line. According to the USDA, “Foods and beverages sold in vending machines and other venues on school campuses will also contribute to a healthy diet.”
We at Grins are very happy about this news. The only reason we exist is because a school foodservice manager came to us begging for someone to develop a beverage that offered better nutrition than those already on the market, with a pleasing taste that would get kids to pick it up in the first place.
At 50 calories per 8-ounce serving, our product provides fewer calories than most sugar-sweetened beverages, and fewer than half the calories of 100 percent apple or orange juice. We have said before that in a perfect world, every child would drink water to stay hydrated, but we know reality–kids are drawn to sweet flavors. It’s our goal to give them a healthier way to satisfy those cravings and get the fluids they need to stay active and be healthy.
Grins salutes the work that Michelle Obama and the USDA have done to try to address the problem of childhood obesity through improving school lunches. Healthier, happier kids is a goal we can all grin about.

Grins featured in the Winston-Salem Journal

An article about Grins appeared in Sunday’s business section in the Winston-Salem Journal. Read the full story here. It touches on the origin of Grins, how it is formulated and what we hope to do for the wider community.

Ed and Nathan Battle of Grins. Photo from the Winston-Salem Journal.


Grins helps McLean business students learn about marketing

McLean DECA members Fuller Overby, Melanie Norton and Evelyn Robinson prepare to distribute Grins at their school.

For the DECA club at McLean High School in Northern Virginia, Grins has been the subject of a hands-on lesson in business and marketing.

Students involved in McLean’s DECA club–an international association of marketing students–set out to develop a following for Grins in the McLean community. They sold it at basketball games and with Chik-fil-A sandwiches in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Now that they’ve created a buzz, they are working to get Grins sold in the school’s snack bar.

McLean DECA’s Evelyn Robinson reports that students seemed to take quickly to the beverage, and strawberry-kiwi appears to be a favorite flavor for many.

“Grins is not as sweet and sugary as most drinks they usually choose from,” Robinson said. “Also, Grins has a different message than most drinks, and that’s one of being a drink for happy people.”

McLean students liked Grins so much that the beverage is now on sale at the Madison Deli, a popular student hangout near the school.

All of this was part of a project in which the McLean DECA students were learning how to build demand for a product within a community. They’ll present their findings as part of a statewide DECA competition in Virginia. We wish them luck in the competition, and hope to see them take their Grins research to the national level!

Grins, Wells Thompson Signature Soccer team up to bring a positive message to kids

Wells Thompson

Grins is proud to be the official beverage sponsor of the first-ever Wells Thompson Signature Soccer Camp, which will take place this Friday through Sunday at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, N.C.

The camp is put together by 28-year-old Winston-Salem native Wells Thompson, a former standout on the Wake Forest University soccer team who now plays professionally for MLS’s Colorado Rapids.

He has pulled together an impressive roster of talent with local ties. Former Wake players Austin da Luz, Zach Schilawski, Brian Edwards and Cody Arnoux, all of whom now play professionally, will assist with the camp.

But the camp is about more than just soccer. Thompson sees it as a way to give back, and to use his position as a professional player to be a positive role model for kids, wherever their careers take them.

“I think sometimes kids these days can get lost and feeling like they’re not good enough,” Thompson said. “We want to teach kids that whatever it is you want to be, go after those dreams and go after them with all your heart.”

Thompson plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the camp to Love, Light and Melody, an arts-based program that seeks to bring healing and hope to communities ravaged by extreme poverty. The nonprofit was founded in 2005 and serves three locations in North and South America.

Thompson said the camp will also include lessons about the importance of helping others, and to help drive those home, he’s asking campers to participate in a donation drive for clothes, shoes and toys, to be hosted at Winston-Salem’s Soccer Unlimited Jan. 9 – 13. Donations will be given to local organizations that can find good homes for them, and the entire community is invited to participate.

Thompson’s goals fit in with Grins’ mission to make people smile, while focusing on the positive, bringing an optimistic message to kids and giving back to the wider community.

Thompson said he likes what Grins is about, and the fact that Grins delivers a healthier option for hydration, along with great taste, makes it a good fit for his camp. Conditioning and nutrition will be part of the weekend, and he hopes to help kids build good habits early.

“It works with the things we are trying to teach kids,” he said.

For more information on the Wells Thompson Signature Soccer Camp, visit the camp’s Facebook page here. Find Grins on Facebook here.

Grins on the road – literally

If you’re on U.S. 52 southbound going through Winston-Salem, keep an eye out on the left side of the road as you ride through downtown for our new billboard. As long-time Winston-Salem residents, we are very proud that our town is home to The Official Beverage of Happy People. Drive safely!