Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Aprons Program Makes for Quick Eats

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Aprons Program Makes for Quick Eats

Article excerpt

Byline: Gregory Richards, Times-Union business writer

You may have read recently about Grabb-Its, those unique little plastic bag holders that Publix is testing at its store near Julington Creek Plantation.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain is testing something else there too: The Publix Aprons program. It is designed to teach people how to cook simple healthy meals in a hurry.

When you walk into the store and bear right past the cash registers, the program is the first thing you'll notice. It has three components: A kiosk full of recipes; a cooking demonstration station; and coolers and shelves where all the ingredients and cookware needed to make the meals can be found.

So in one spot, a shopper can assemble everything needed to quickly prepare a meal from scratch, including know-how. Recently, the meal being prepared was Asian lettuce cups with noodle salad.

All the meals are designed to be made in less than 30 minutes.

"We're just trying to make customers realize that they can cook, and we can make it simple for them," said Publix store manager Jack Felts.

The Julington Creek store is Publix's test store for the region, and right now it's the only supermarket in the First Coast where the Apron's program can be found.

In stores in other regions where Publix operates, the Aprons format takes on different designs. One version has a more advanced format where shoppers can sit down and take cooking classes. Another format includes only the recipe kiosks. (The recipes can also be found online at www.publix.com). They change weekly in the stores.

Aprons is still a pilot, and there are no immediate plans to roll out the concept to additional stores, said Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens.

But so far, Aprons has gotten a wide reception, said assistant manager David Mask. People young and old, especially single adults, have been interested. "It's not just moms," he said.

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