Press Releases

Produce for Better Health Foundation Demonstrates a Way to Boost Sales and Excitement Around the Power of Produce Pairings During Consumer Connection Conference

April 29, 2019



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

Direct: 412-848-1644


Photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue of Love & Zest, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Pacific Coast Producers. Recipe courtesy of Ron DeSantis, Certified Master Chef of CulinaryNxt

April 25, 2019 – According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s (PBH) 2015 State of the Plate report, 82% of all vegetables and 90% of all fruit is prepared at home, creating opportunities for pairing fruits and vegetables with other foods people already know and love to create nutrient-dense meals and snacks. Not only do pairings benefit consumers, who are simply not eating enough fruits and vegetables, but they also boost sales for the broad fruit and vegetable industry and beyond.

PBH provided a half-day of retail education sessions, culinary nutrition presentations and demonstrations, as well as tasting experiences to showcase the power of produce pairings during its annual conference, the Consumer Connection, on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

Powerful Produce Pairings in Food Retail
“In 2018, PBH identified the need among consumers to pair produce with foods they already enjoy in an effort to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and boost sales,” says Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, and PBH President and CEO. “In PBH’s Powerful Produce Pairings Program, fruits and vegetables are paired with other “health halo” foods such as healthful proteins, nuts, dairy products, and whole grains to create meal and snack solutions to make produce consumption delicious and easy.”

This week at PBH’s Consumer Connection, PBH brought to life several Powerful Produce Pairings Program examples from its 2018 pilot during a panel discussion, featuring the California Walnut Board & Commission and StarKist® Creations, as well as retailers Coborn’s, Inc. and Schnuck Markets. Other program partners from the 2018 pilot included retailer Jewel Osco, Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ Dandy® celery, blueberries, and Stemilt Growers.

Ashley Kibutha, RD, LD, Supermarket Registered Dietitian Manager, Coborn’s Inc. (left) and Kara Behlke, RD, Director Health and Wellness Strategy, Schnuck Markets, Inc. (right)

“Today’s panel demonstrated the power of produce pairings by elevating the impact that retail activations can have by increasing fruits and vegetables in shoppers’ baskets,” says Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, PBH Retail Account Manager. “Shopper marketing tactics such as couponing, signage, display contests, and cross-merchandising of center store items into produce are combined with retail dietitian programs and executions, including Facebook Live segments, social media contests, classes and demos to engage shoppers along the path to purchase. In-store activations are customized to align with the individual retailer’s approach to health and wellbeing. We look forward to growing this program and making it a reality for both the industry and retail partners to help shift behavior to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Powerful Produce Pairings in Foodservice
The buck doesn’t stop at retail. We all know taste is the top reason people frequently choose certain foods and beverages. When we like the taste and the experience is delicious, we seek it out again and again – and may even make that part of our routine. Part II of Wednesday morning’s session showcased the power of produce pairings by creating deliciousness with fruits and vegetables using powerful culinary techniques.

“Research on flavor compounds in foods shows us that the more aromatic flavor compounds two foods have in common, the better they will pair. The power of a chef’s creation can introduce consumers to a new experience or way of eating a fruit or vegetable they may not have thought about before,” says Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, PBH culinary and foodservice specialist. “That’s why showcasing the work of menu developers and strategists, chefs, culinary professionals, lifestyle experts and foodservice experts at the Consumer Connection is so important as they can inspire industry and other attendees to help consumers think about and experience fruits and vegetables in new ways.”

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, Founder and President, Farmer’s Daughter Consulting (left) and Ron DeSantis, CMC, CulinaryNxt (right)

In 2018, PBH piloted the Fresh Concepts foodservice education event in Monterey, California, giving the produce industry a chance to inspire and be inspired by top-tier, influential menu R&D professionals with a passion for produce. This PBH event is poised for growth in 2019 as well.

“The work displayed during Wednesday morning’s Powerful Produce Pairings sessions is only the tip of the iceberg for what we can do in store and in foodservice here at PBH,” says Reinhardt Kapsak. “As we move forward with PBH’s new brand, and collective goal of helping consumers live happier, healthier lives by eating more fruits and vegetables every single day, we look forward to showcasing the numerous ways fruits and veggies can inspire flavorful pairings across our event and service offerings as well as our new digital and social ecosystem—all the while joining the produce industry with other nutrient-rich foods to help boost individual sales and overall produce consumption.”

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 professionalsand 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 behavior-based call-to-action is now Have A Plant™.