Generic promotion plan shouldn't be shelved just yet

10/16/2009 12:15:00 PM
Tom Karst

In my thinking, the fruit and vegetable industry is at a competitive disadvantage compared with other foods such as beef, pork and dairy, whose producers fund generic promotion efforts with mandatory assessments. Doesn’t it make sense that everybody should pay their “fair share” to fund generic fruit and vegetable promotions rather than sap the resources of PBH staff to constantly raise funds?

Klutes is correct. The idea of a promotion board concept does need more time to permeate the industry consciousness before final judgment is passed.

But whatever the outcome of the debate about mandatory assessments, the produce industry must continue to fly its banner of faith with conviction.

The creed of belief shouldn’t be discarded just because of difficulty and unmet expectations. As I used to kiddingly remind my kids when they complained to me about something: Come now, did George Washington call off crossing the ice-swollen Delaware River in 1776 just because conditions were miserable?

We believe in fruits and vegetables, the power of fresh produce and the saving power of the Good News if consumers will only believe and eat 5 (to 9) a day. We are fruits and vegetables, the Rx for what ails the modern world.

I think some in the industry believe “the message” is so powerful that it doesn’t need any help. Their thinking goes something like this: Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are good for you, so why bother? The government will do the heavy lifting for us.

It might be preferable if the USDA would give the industry $30 million a year for generic promotion, but that won’t happen. As Klutes suggests, the industry is expected to make its own down payment to own the message.

The industry can’t lose faith in its unifying message and the banner that it marches under. If that banner is trampled on and discarded, what else will be left that unites the industry?

E-mail tkarst@thepacker.com and follow him on Twitter @tckarst.

What's your take on efforts toward a generic promotion board? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.


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