Cracking the code for increased consumption - The Packer

Cracking the code for increased consumption

12/09/2013 09:45:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstBy now, you think the global fruit and vegetable industry would have figured out the promotion game.

But evidently not.

Everywhere one looks, there is concern about how populations of developed countries fall short of their targeted consumption goals. There is gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands and calls for government to help.

From Freshfel, the European Fresh Produce Association, my inbox reveals an update from the group on the topic of promotion and agriculture policy.

A Freshfel news release reports food and nutrition experts are urging European decision makers for a “novel approach” to agriculture and food policies “as existing ones are currently inappropriate to translate the recognized beneficial assets of fruits and vegetables into effective consumption practice.”

Or, put in simple terms, people aren’t eating enough fresh produce.

European produce marketers may not know the way to go, but they know the current path is not quite working. Freshfel’s Annual Consumption monitor data shows that one piece of fruit or vegetable per day/per person has been lost in the past decade.

The solution in Europe may start with the “expert group” — the heralded blue-ribbon panel, if you please — to have a close look at “market-oriented” policy initiatives relative to nutrition, research, innovation, information and promotion policies.

Of course Europe is not unique.

Even with the many health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption readily acknowledged (I won’t be tiresome and list them all), the Produce for Better Health Foundation struggles to move the consumption needs in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its 2013 State Indicator Report on fruits and vegetables,, tells us the discouraging news that 37% of U.S. adults report they consume fruits less than one time daily. For vegetables, 23% report they consume vegetables less than one time daily. Forget about 9 a day, or even 5 a day, we can’t even get everybody to eat one a day.


So there is much work to do. Everyone needs to pull together.

But it isn’t happening.

In that vein, I am having a little trouble understanding why no staffer from the Produce for Better Health Foundation was included in the Produce Marketing Association’s “Sesame Street” blue ribbon panel, er, task force.

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