Press Releases

Produce For Better Health Foundation Convenes Industry And Influencers During Engaging Two-Day Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Event

Katie Toulouse, Marketing & Communications Director
Produce for Better Health Foundation
[email protected]

October 9, 2020 – The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) closed out National Fruits & Veggies Month with its first-ever virtual influencer event held September 29-30, 2020. Fifty-plus VIPs spanning three points of influence: 1) point-of-sale (retail), 2) point-of-service (foodservice), and 3) point-of-inspiration (online) met with select sponsors, satisfying the strong desire for meaningful, memorable connectivity. According to those who attended, PBH’s Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event provided stimulating education and actionable solutions with a keen focus on inspiring consumers’ fruit and vegetable consumption.

“We surveyed our members and our vast influencer network and knew that we had to do something more than just a Zoom call or webinar. The PBH Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event served as a new and innovative pilot approach to connect the produce industry with influencers in lieu of PBH’s traditional in-person events,” said Sharese Roper, Member Engagement Director of PBH. “Thanks to our powerful sponsors and produce industry leaders, PBH delivered meaningful sessions that integrated facts, food and fun.”

“In true PBH fashion, our diverse and highly-engaging event agenda exceeded expectations,” stated Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, President and CEO of PBH. “Our interactive sessions and experiential tasting experiences, balanced with crucial conversations on food safety and the state of consumers’ consumption habits provided unique opportunities to learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives – ultimately inspiring action among attendees.”

Specifically, the PBH event closing session, titled Lead The Change from Seed to Plate: Produce Industry Leader Insights and Inspiration, included industry titans and trailblazers who shared their thoughts on how influencers can make a difference in closing the consumption gap and truly changing behavior. Led by PBH’s President and CEO, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, the conversation was dynamic, genuine and packed with candor.

Produce industry leaders closed out PBH’s Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event with a bold discussion focusing on what it will take to change fruit and vegetable consumption in the future. Panelists included (from top left to right to middle and bottom rows): Karen Caplan, CEO and President, Frieda’s, Inc.; Michael Castagnetto, President, Robinson Fresh; Herman Verveld, Chief Commercial Officer, HZPC; Mark Campion, President, Taylor Farms Retail, Inc.; Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, President and CEO, PBH; Marty Ordman, Marketing & Communications Consultant, Dole Packaged Foods, LLC; Harry Overly, President and CEO, Sun-Maid Growers of California; and Bil Goldfield, Director of Corporate Communications, Dole Food Company and PBH Chairman of the Board

“Don’t be afraid to be outrageous,” said Karen Caplan, President and CEO of Frieda’s, Inc.

“Listen to consumers first, and each other,” said Harry Overly, President and CEO of Sun-Maid Growers of California.

“Use your voice and your platforms to gain consumer insights; remember that this is a two-way communication channel,” said Mark Campion, President, Taylor Farms Retail, Inc.

“Just imagine,” said Bil Goldfield, Director of Corporate Communications for Dole Food Company and PBH Chairman of the Board. “Imagine a world where everyone is eating more fruits and vegetables. The time is now – this is our moment – where we can truly make a difference and help increase consumption. But we can only do it together,” he said.

Attendees expressed their enthusiasm utilizing live virtual chat feeds throughout the event, as well as on their own social media channels. Sponsors saw their products flooding Instagram, and PBH’s social media channels were busting at the seams with content before, during and after the event, reaching millions of consumers with powerful fruit and veggie messages and insights.

“The online engagement was the best I’ve seen from something virtual,” said Chef Todd Fisher, Duda Culinary Ambassador, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, following the culinary session on Tuesday.

Chef Todd Fisher, culinary ambassador to Duda Farm Fresh Foods led the group in a culinary demonstration, Celebrating Celery, during PBH’s Have A Plant Nation® Virtual Influencer Event.

Attendees of PBH’s Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event enjoyed Powerful Produce Pairings: The Flavor Fusion of Wine, Cheese, and Apples with Chelan Fresh and Chef Meg Raines.

“I just wanted to thank you for the most fun I have had in a virtual meeting. You all did an amazing job making the event interesting and fast-paced,” said Sanna Delmonico, MS, RDN, CHE, Associate Professor, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone. “I am cooking my way through all these delicious fruits and vegetables and will continue to post about it. Hearing stories about produce varieties, growing, processing, food safety, and more is so compelling, and you all put them together seamlessly. Well done!”

The PBH team led attendees in a celebratory sendoff toast to close out National Fruits & Veggies Month at the Party for Produce during PBH’s Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event.

“PBH would like to thank our powerful sponsors for making this momentous event possible,” says Roper.  “At a time when Americans simply are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, these trailblazers are taking a leap for their business to evolve their marketing programs and meet the demands of a new virtual world. We can’t wait to see the engagement and refreshed approaches resulting from this event.”


California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement
Chelan Fresh Marketing
Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc.
HZPC Americas Corp.

Dole Food Company
California Strawberries
Pacific Coast Producers
Seneca Foods Corporation
Stemilt Growers LLC

Chilean Fresh Fruit Association
Michigan Apple Commission
Naturipe Farms LLC
Ventura Foods/Marie’s

For a full list of all 50+ influencers, representing retail, foodservice and the PBH Fruit and Vegetable Ambassadors in Action (FVAA) Influencer Network, in attendance at the PBH Have A Plant® Nation Virtual Influencer Event, please see the September 1, 2020 Press Release.

If you are interested in engaging with influencers and connecting with consumers directly through PBH’s vast digital and social ecosystem to maximize your marketing dollars, contact Sharese Roper, Member Engagement Director of PBH.