NEW ORLEANS — Even though the federal government is pushing for more fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches and encouraging Americans to fill at least half of their plates with produce at each meal, there is still a public perception that some fresh produce is less nutritious and less fresh than it is, according to members of the United Fresh Produce Association’s fresh-cut processor board.
“For some reason there is the perception that fresh-cut isn’t as healthy as processed or frozen,” said Jan Berk, vice president of San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
As the new chairwoman of the United Fresh fresh-cut board, Berk is more than a little concerned about that perception. She was one of three panelists who discussed the challenges of improving the image of fresh-cut produce during a seminar at the association’s 2011 show May 3.
To help fresh-cut processors meet those challenges United Fresh created a toolkit, which is expected to be available to members via the Internet in mid-May. The kit includes generic marketing labels with eye-catching logos and messages such as “farm fresh, table ready,” “wholesome healthy fresh,” and “no mess, no waste.”
Phil Gruszka, vice president of marketing for Grimmway Enterprises, Bakersfield, Calif., echoed Berk’s comments and urged fresh-cut processors to focus on “getting in” with consumers. He said that repetition of the three main themes on the generic labels would help them achieve that goal.
Another tool for fresh-cut processors to use to engage the public is social media, according to Tony Freytag, director of marketing for Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash.