SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Fruits & Veggies — More Matters is an important part of increasing produce consumption, but it’s just a part.
Greg JohnsonWendy Reinhardt Kapsak of Monsanto talks to consultant and outgoing Produce for Better Health Foundation Chairman Marty Ordman, formerly of Dole, at the PBH's annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.Produce For Better Health Foundation president and CEO Elizabeth Pivonka said the group is working with and monitoring all the factors that increase produce consumption.
There are more than there used to be, and that’s a good thing.
“We’re keeping an eye on all the things working to increase fruit and vegetable consumption,” Pivonka said March 19 at Hockessin, Del.-based PBH’s annual conference. “It’s not just a message. It’s all these things working together.”
The March 17-19 conference increasingly targets and brings in supermarket and restaurant dietitians to hear about ways to persuade consumers to eat more produce.
Pivonka said of the 210 attendees, 30 were retail dietitians and eight were restaurant dietitians.
Only a handful of retail buyers attended, and new chairman Terry Murphy, produce procurement manager for Wakefern Food Corp., Kessbey, N.J., said one of his goals in the next year is boosting retail participation in PBH.
Marty Ordman, formerly of Dole Food Co. and now a consultant, is the immediate past chairman.
One feature of the annual conference is the roundtable business exchange, where produce groups and companies meet for 15 minutes with retailers and dietitians one-on-one.
“Supermarket dietitians are a real voice for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption,” Pivonka said, and the targeted meetings are valuable to suppliers.
Shari Steinbach, healthy living manager for Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich., said dietitians know that consumers are aware produce is healthy.
“They just don’t know what to do with them,” she said. “That’s where supermarket dietitians come in.”
More Matters is still an important message in the fresh produce industry.
“No other food group can say ‘more matters,’” Pivonka said.
PBH does an annual survey, which shows More Matters is at an all-time high in awareness among mothers at 31%. This year PBH began tracking fathers to see where their views are on fruits and vegetables, and while the results are still preliminary, Pivonka said early responses show they have significantly different views on food than moms.
She expects to be able to release those results later this year and help markets determine how to act on them.