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UPDATED (March 20) SAN FRANCISCO — A strong presence from supermarket dietitians helped boost the Produce For Better Health Foundation’s record attendance for its annual board meeting.

More than 200 people registered for the March 13-15 event, up more than 50% from last year, when about 130 attended, said Elizabeth Pivonka president and chief executive officer of the Hockessin, Del.-based organization.

The theme for this year’s meeting was The Consumer Connection and educational sessions were heavy on research and data from organizations like The Hartman Group, NPD Group, Integrated MarketingWorks and DGWB Advertising and Communications.

PBH continued its outreach to supermarket dietitians, with about a dozen in attendance. The organization hosted a conference concurrent with the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in October.

“Supermarkets are one of the most efficient communication methods to influence shopper food purchases,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer. “Dietitians are respected by shoppers and that is why we have so many dietitians and nutritionists at this show. I’m very excited about bringing all of these people together.”

The conference also strongly emphasized PBH’s “all forms” message. While the fresh produce category may gain ground with consumers, it’s not a net gain for fruits and vegetables as a whole.

“We can’t just keep shifting consumption between forms, we have to increase all of them,” Pivonka said.

The foundation also seated its new executive committee members at the meeting:

  • Marty Ordman, Dole Food Co. Inc., chairman;
  • Terry Murphy, Wakefern Food Corp., vice chairman;
  • Mark Campion, Taylor Farms, secretary/treasurer;
  • Howard Nager, Domex Superfresh Growers, consumer marketing and communications committee chairman;
  • John Freed, Syngenta Seed Corp., donor marketing and outreach committee chairman; and
  • Paul Palmby, Seneca Foods Corp., immediate past chairman.

The foundation named five members to its at-large executive committee:

  • Nasser Dean, Bayer CropScience;
  • Nichole Towell, Duda Farm Fresh Foods;
  • Gaines Chamberlain, Food Lion;
  • Scott Owens, Paramount Ag Cos.; and
  • Shirley Axe, Ahold USA.

They join Heather Rubin of The Walt Disney Co. and Brian Porter of Safeway Inc. on the executive committee.

PBH plans to make presentations from the meeting available on its website,