Industry Addresses Why Fruits and Vegetables are Getting Left Behind in the Plant-Forward Dialogue during the “Connect with Fresh Media Program”
December 19, 2019 – The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and Produce Business magazine teamed up to present the Connect with Fresh Media Program — an invite-only lunch workshop for media, including influential consumer-media journalists, writers, registered dietitians, lifestyle bloggers, as well as food and culinary experts, held during the New York Produce Show and Conference at the Javits Center in New York City on December 12th.
Sponsored by Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, the Connect with Fresh panel embodied representatives from the entire produce industry supply chain, including:
- Jim Prevor, Perishable Pundit, as the moderator;
- Will Horowitz, restaurateur;
- Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH);
- Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Growers, LLC;
- Tanya Steel, International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP); and
- Robert Schueller, Melissa’s Produce.
The goal of the panel conversation was to bring these voices together to propose new ways fruits and vegetables can reclaim their rightful place in the plant-forward dialogue.
Everyone knows Americans are falling short on eating enough fruits and vegetables every day. But there’s a current of advocacy going on right now, particularly in digital and social media around “plant-based foods and diets”. PBH’s Have A Plant™ Movement positions fruits and vegetables as critical to the plant-forward movement and opens up a platform for the produce industry to leverage the momentum.
“We’re relying on PBH to create a significant change in the culture and believe in the organization to be capable of doing so,” said Jim Prevor, during the panel discussion. “This is why the industry supports this effort, as it lays the foundation for getting people to interact with and enjoy fruits and vegetables for different reasons.”
“There’s a difference between what people know about fruits and vegetables and what they actually feel and do,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and CEO of PBH. “PBH’s recent behavioral research taps into the emotional connection people have with fruits and vegetables – for example fruits exert joy, and sweetness, while vegetables represent a sense of pride and intelligence. Have A Plant™ provides an opportunity to arm influencers and industry to redefine how we talk about fruits and vegetables with consumers and tap into that emotional connection.”
There was a high level of engagement from the audience, including a question about recent food safety incidents’ and their corresponding impact on consumer trust and potentially, future consumption.
“As an industry, we owe it to ourselves to make sure we’re believing in the practices our companies undertake and believe in our products,” said Roger Pepperl of Stemilt Growers. “There’s an opportunity to leverage digital and social ecosystems like PBH’s platforms to be transparent about agricultural practices within the context of education to build consumer trust.”
“If we want to advance the dialogue around plant-based, which includes fruits and vegetables, we have to start talking to consumers more than we’re talking to ourselves,” says Prevor. “The time is now to embrace the tools that organizations like PBH are giving us and change the conversation to position fruits and vegetables to what people think of first.”
A group of elite New York-based media RDs and influencers attend the media luncheon to learn about the Have A Plant™ Movement and to advance the plant-forward dialogue to showcase fruits and vegetables first.
About Produce Business Magazine
Entering its 35th year of “initiating industry improvement” with editorial directed toward the high volume buying segment of industry, Produce Business also organizes The New York Produce Show and Conference, which celebrated its 10th year and offered specialized co-located events rounding out 4 days of education, networking, commerce and consumer-media outreach. The event was held December 10-13, 2019.
About the Produce for Better Health Foundation
Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is the only national organization dedicated to helping consumers live happier, healthy lives by eating more fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, every single day.
Since 1991, PBH has invested decades into developing trended insights on attitudes toward all forms of fruit and vegetable consumption, in addition to campaigns and partnerships with government, food industry stakeholders, health professionals and other thought leaders to collaborate, facilitate and advocate for increased intake. Campaigns included first, the 5-A-Day program, and then, the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters public health initiative. While five fruits and vegetables each day is great advice, and more will always matter, PBH’s new behavior-based call-to-action is Have A Plant™. Rooted in behavioral science, PBH’s transformative Have A Plant™ movement is an invitation that will inspire people with compelling reasons to believe in the powerful role fruits and vegetables can play to create happy, healthy and active lives.
Be sure to join the Have A Plant™ movement and get new recipes, snack hacks, meal ideas and other tips from chefs, registered dietitians, as well as food and wellness experts by visiting www.fruitsandveggies.org. Follow us on Facebook @fruitsandveggies; on Twitter @fruits_veggies; on Instagram @fruitsandveggies; on Pinterest @fruits_veggies; and on LinkedIn at Produce for Better Health Foundation. And remember to #haveaplant.