Katie Toulouse, Marketing & Communications Director
Produce for Better Health Foundation
Research Shows Family Meals Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
July 28, 2020 – As the produce industry gears up to celebrate National Fruits & Veggies Month (NFVM) this September, the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is extending the reach of this year’s NFVM theme, Have A Plant® Nation, through a partnership with FMI Foundation. PBH’s National Fruits & Veggies Month and the FMI Foundation’s National Family Meals Month™ both take place in September to celebrate and elevate each corresponding year-long movement—PBH’s Have A Plant® Movement and the FMI Foundation’s Family Meals Movement. This year’s celebration presents a unique opportunity to broadly promote new research findings that reinforce the importance of family meals in a pandemic-challenged America.
A comprehensive study, recently published in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), clearly demonstrates the value of family meals. Specifically, the study showed that more frequent family meals were associated with better dietary outcomes—namely increased fruit and vegetable consumption – as well as improved family functioning outcomes. Family functioning is defined as family connectedness, communication, expressiveness and problem-solving. The key take-away: family meals build strong and lasting habits—such as eating more fruits and vegetables—that can improve both health and well-being.
“This JNEB study builds on years of previous research studies and demonstrates the extraordinary value of family meals,” said David Fikes, Executive Director of the FMI Foundation. “In light of the conclusion that family meals lead to more produce consumption, there couldn’t be a better time to highlight this news than National Fruit & Veggies Month—especially since it also happens to be National Family Meals Month!”
Given the recent global pandemic, family meals have changed quite a bit. In fact, people are eating more meals at home and more meals as a family. But questions remain including how has the dynamic of what defines a “family” changed? Has behavior changed in terms of what constitutes a meal from grocery store to family table? How are Americans dealing with meal fatigue, and how can families find new ways to create easy, healthful meal experiences to move past the fatigue?
According to Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director of Health and Well-being at FMI—The Food Industry Association, “Consumers continue to adapt during the pandemic, and families have the potential to emerge with new skills and habits that could lead to healthier eating patterns and overall well-being.”
Together, PBH and the FMI Foundation will kick-off their partnership during a free webinar hosted on PBH’s Health and Wellness Webinar Platform on Tuesday, August 11th at 2:00 p.m. ET. Specifically, the webinar will address how all stakeholders can effectively help Americans eat and enjoy more fruit- and veggie-packed family meals to support, encourage and inspire them to “stay strong.” To access the webinar, register here.
“We have always been an advocate for the Family Meals Movement and in 2019, PBH won a FMI Foundation Gold Plate Award in recognition of our exemplary work as a leading community partner,” says Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, President and CEO of PBH. “We are thrilled to be teaming up again with the FMI Foundation, especially given the dynamic nature of shoppers’ purchasing and eating behaviors during this uncertain time. We believe in the strength of our organizations collaborating to inform and inspire consumers with the health and well-being benefits of eating and enjoying more fruits and veggies as part a family meal at least one-to-two times per week. This simple habit can significantly and positively impact our collective goal of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption—ultimately improving Americans’ health and happiness.”
In addition to the webinar, the PBH and the FMI Foundation will be developing shared resources for the industry, such as infographics, as well as other communications tools to arm marketers and consumer-facing influencers with messaging about the importance of family meals and their critical connection to increasing produce consumption. Additional tactics include shared content development, coordinated influencer engagement and consumer-facing media outreach.
“We whole-heartedly embrace this moment in September to inspire people to create new habits that will turn into long-term, sustained behavior change,” says Reinhardt Kapsak. “We believe that eating more fruits and vegetables is the single most important thing people can do for happier, healthier lives, and if sharing them together with others helps Americans eat more, we will continue to extend this message far and wide.”
For more information on how retailers, suppliers and community collaborators can get involved:
- PBH’s National Fruits and Veggies Month Toolkit is available FREE for download HERE.
- FMI Foundation’s National Family Meals Month Toolkits are available FREE for download HERE.
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.
PBH is also responsible for the Lead The Change Movement—a multi-sector, multi-year initiative designed to maximize the power of PBH’s unique thought leadership position, widespread influencer network, credible scientific and market research, and, most importantly, its innovative members and partners, to lead a call-to-action for addressing the global fruit and vegetable consumption crisis. The initiative includes research, thought leadership and communication platforms to ensure the Movement speaks with One Purpose, One Voice and One Call-to-Action. For more information about the Lead The Change Movement visit: www.fruitsandveggies.org/lead-the-change.
About the FMI Foundation
Established in 1996, the FMI Foundation seeks to ensure continued quality and efficiency in the food retailing system and is operated for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. To help support the role of food retailing, the FMI Foundation focuses on research, education and resources in the area of health and well-being, which includes food safety, nutrition and social responsibility considerations. For information regarding the FMI Foundation, visit www.fmifoundation.org.