Here is a guest comment in response to The Packer's editorial "PBB plan deserves honest debate": From John Sauve, managering director, food and nutrition for Swardlick Marketing Group, Portland, Maine. From John:
If you have a better idea, speak up!
Great invitation......to possibly being destroyed (in a fun, friendly way of course) by the pundits and the opinionated.
But what the heck. Here goes.
So, from someone who simply has a passionate interest in the fruits and veggies world and who likes PBH as an organizational concept (yes, I am a PBH financial supporter), the better idea is: Make Produce for Better Health Foundation a significantly better and stronger foundation. Focus on improving PBH. Make PHB Great!
WOW. Killer better idea right. Innovative, right.
That's it. Pretty simple. Straightforward. Easy to grasp. Maybe a little boring as a breakthrough idea. Or maybe right on target.
Simply make an existing thing better.........a product improvement project. Stop trying to make things more complex......maybe our industry can't handle it. We're complex enough....and unfocused. We can't even decide what to say about our collective product.....fruits and veggies. As an example, we have given away our health position in the supermarket to other things like Cheerios and the entire pharmacy (generally positioned as the Health & Wellness place in the supermarket). How stupid is that....giving away our health and wellness position! In fact, has anyone ever seen a real "positioning statement" for fruits and veggies? How silly is that from an industry supposedly full of good marketing folks?
And before you destroy this reinvented PBH idea, for heaven sake, please do some homework on many other organizational structures like PBH before commenting on PBH's inability to ever do the job....or raise a lot of money. We happen to know a few......like you do. And while doing that homework, dig into the restrictions (health messaging) surrounding the proposed promotion and research order under debate right now.....somehat controlled by the USDA as you may, or may not, know.
So, it's easy. The entire fruits and veggies group, already a wonderful team, professionally and socially, under the PBH umbrella needs to get its' act together and simply make the PBH marriage of the produce industry better...a lot better. Not just a little better, a lot better.
PBH is good. Everyone knows Eliizabeth and her team are good. It's the industry that isn't so good at knowing what it wants and how to get it. This idea is about addressing both those industry weaknesses. We start with something that the industry already supports and is already good....and we make it great.
"From Good to Great" .....sound familiar?
Again, please don't say "it can't be done."...or "been there, done that"...or "how naive an idea." Please save those silly comments. There are too many silly things going around at the moment.....including that we need "at least 30 million" from first handlers to make something good happen. Not a lot of real strategic marketing thinking driving that thought.....mostly excitement and emotion and exploration....a lttle more real world homework necessary. No argument that more money is good..... but the right strategic message is better.
And how about the silly one that says that "taste" (back to the positioning observation) is the consumption driver for fruits and veggies. Really? Think real hard about that one. Of course it's important...true of food in general. It's amazing how we (including the media) fail to dissect research before making statements like "Taste is King" and applying it to fruits and veggies.....possibly taking our eyes off discovering and leveraging the real drivers of fruits and veggies 'increased consumption."
Why people select items "within" a category (fresh produce) may be different than what makes them select the category to begin with....and then what makes them truly "buy more and eat more." The research from sources like IFIC or Opinion Research is wonderful, but we do need to analyze it more closely. Do you really think we can beat Doritos or Frosted Flakes on the taste dimension? We could definitely beat Tylenol on taste but they’re in the Pharmacy......the Health & Wellness place. Must be something we can win on....right?
So, let's figure out how "it" (drive increased per capita consumption of fruits and veggies for better health) can be done......with a reinvented PBH truly dedicated to its original health focused mission......with the deliverable being "economic and social benefit for all' (actually a little anthem sounding).
And by the way, there may be "one strategy in one setting" (language from the National Action Plan suggesting "75 strategies in 9 setting".....good heavens that's a lot.....can you name just 5 of them?) that we think can really change the game.....with everyone on the playing field involved somehow in the investment and the return. All of this without the need for anything but "A Great PBH" and a committed industry.
That "big time" better idea is coming soon.
Can't wait to read how this simple, somewhat boring idea of really improving our industry's only real consumer communication vehicle gets destroyed......although no one probably really cares about this idea.......especially coming from someone they've never heard of (our group created 5 A Day The Color Way for PBH).
And , of course, this better idea could "be wrong." I've been wrong many times...I'm old (now there's an opening for a pundit)