(Feb. 14) MONTREAL — So close, yet so far.
One serving of produce is all that separates the public health messages exhorting fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. and Canada. Yet that one serving — and Canada’s nutrition labeling rules —may be enough to keep both “for better health” logos off packages and bags shipped in international commerce.
At the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 78th annual convention, Feb. 5-8 in Montreal, CPMA executive vice president Ron LeMaire announced the new fruit and vegetable promotion campaign would feature the slogan 5 to 10 a Day for Better Health.
Previously called 5 to 10 a Day: Are You Getting Enough?, the new brand keeps the graphic logo the same but incorporates health in the tagline. Use of the word health in the tagline of produce packaging is permitted by new Canadian regulatory guidelines, but a Canadian nutrition label must accompany the language.
The CPMA move follows a recent move by the National Cancer Institute’s 5 a Day to upsize its official logo from Eat 5 a Day for Better Health to Eat 5 to 9 a Day for Better Health.
An expected revision in the U.S. dietary guidelines in 2005 could pave the way for complete harmonization of the public health message, allowing 5 to 10 a Day guidelines to be used in both countries. However, that also will depend on harmonization of nutrition label requirements, since U.S. and Canadian versions of the nutrition label are slightly different.
What’s more, the U.S. doesn’t require a nutrition label for fruits and vegetables marketed with “for better health,” while Canada regulations mandate a nutrition label with the health claim, said Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del.
LeMaire said Feb. 11 the CPMA’s shift to the new tagline would be effective at the end of February, although the industry can still use remaining inventories of packaging with the old logo.
TV spots were being sent out in February with the new tagline. In 1999, the CPMA began using the slogan, “5 to 10 a Day — Are you Getting Enough?” Previous generic promotion efforts included “Reach for It,” which was launched in 1993.
He said the evolution of the tagline to include “health” is confirmed by research and resonates with the campaign’s target audience of 25- to 45-year-old women.
The new Eat 5 to 9 a Day for Better Health logo for the U.S. public health campaign promoting fruits and vegetables, which began on a national level in 1991, will exploit the top range of dietary recommendations, said Lorelei DiSogra, director of the 5 a Day program at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
At the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Pivonka said the 5 to 9 logo will be phased in over a two-year period. PBH won’t grant any new licenses to use the old 5 a Day logo, she said.
However, the 5 to 9 a Day logo won’t be the only option for fruit and vegetable marketers.
Pivonka said one hitch with both the original logo and the new NCI logo is that both trigger nutrition label requirements for produce packages shipped into Canada. The label is triggered by inclusion of the word health.
While U.S. and Canadian nutritional labels may be harmonized at some point, Pivonka points to one logo that satisfies labeling in both nations.
“For those looking for standardized North American packaging, the Color Way logo is the one logo they can use,” Pivonka said. She said that Canada’s 5 to 10 a Day logo could not be supported in the U.S. by 5 a Day government partners because it exceeds the U.S. dietary recommendation.
About 25% of the 700 produce companies licensed to use the 5 a Day logo also use the 5 a Day the Color Way logo on their produce packages, Pivonka said.
LeMaire said it remains a long-term goal to see if both 5 a Day and CPMA can work together to bring harmony and standardization to the public health campaigns.
“We all know coming together is something that has to happen. The challenge will be pulling together the two governments so they are in line with where the industry wants to go,” he said.