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Frequently Asked Questions

What is PBH State of the Plate research?

Who conducted the study?

Who funded the study?

What was the methodology?

How does the data compare with other authoritative consumption data sources?

When was the data collected?

What’s the bottom line?

Did this research include COVID-19 behaviors?

How has COVID-19 changed behaviors?

Does PBH plan conduct research to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on fruit and vegetable behaviors?

What is PBH doing to communicate the data?

What can stakeholders do to learn more and help promote the PBH State of the Plate findings?

 

What is PBH State of the Plate research?

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) State of the Plate: America’s Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Trends research is a comprehensive assessment of how, when and where people are consuming fruits, vegetables, and juices in the United States, as well as an overview of the behavioral trends affecting these consumption patterns. This research began in 2004 and is fielded every five years to illuminate macro- and micro-trends.

The 2020 PBH State of the Plate research included annual fruit and vegetable consumption frequency; drivers of consumption patterns; specific changes in consumption behaviors; common food pairings; and in-depth segmentation of heavy, medium, and light fruit and vegetable eaters as well as non-eaters.

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Who conducted the study?

PBH commissioned The NPD Group to conduct analyses based on their National Eating Trends® (NET®) database, which represents all foods and beverages that consumers report eating in- and away-from-home. PBH worked closely with The NPD Group to extract insights aimed at reversing fruit and vegetable consumption declines to benefit public health and well-being.

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Who funded the study?

PBH’s multi-sector consumption initiative, Lead The Change, unifies produce industry stakeholders and food system thought leaders to close the consumption gap and develop innovative, behavior-based solutions that help people eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables for happier, healthier lives.

The 2020 PBH State of the Plate: America’s Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Trends research was made possible by those industry leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as America’s health and happiness, by contributing to this pivotal initiative. Click HERE to see the list of funders.

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What was the methodology?

The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends® (NET®) database represents an ongoing collection of all foods and beverages consumed in- and away-from-home. The NET is weighted to match the US Census. The PBH State of the Plate analysis captures all fruits, vegetables, and juices consumed in various forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juice) and applications (e.g., as a recipe ingredient).

NET’s main measurement is eating occasions, or frequency of intake. Consumption data is averaged over a 2-year period so that the analyses are not skewed by seasonality and/or topical events. This year’s research is the first to provide preliminary information regarding how much of various fruits, vegetables, and juice are being consumed, as well as what foods and eating occasions with which they are commonly paired.

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How does the data compare with other authoritative consumption data sources?

This data is unique. Most consumption data captures the amount, or volume, of fruits and vegetables consumed. This is a very important measure, yet does not necessarily tell the complete story.

The PBH State of the Plate research primarily captures eating occasions and who, what, where, why, and how fruits and vegetables are consumed. Additionally, in the 2020 PBH State of the Plate, volume data is included for the first time. This volume data, coupled with eating frequency, aligns well with the latest USDA food intake data represented in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Therefore, this data complements US intake data by adding dimension, granularity, and context, to better inform behavior-based solutions to reverse the continued decline in fruit and vegetable consumption.

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When was the data collected?

The 2020 PBH State of the Plate data focuses on eating behaviors between 2015-2020. Annual eating occasions per capita are trended from 2004 – 2020. The data collection period ended in February 2020.

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What’s the bottom line?

The data is clear: our nation is in the midst of a fruit and vegetable consumption crisis. Fruit and vegetable intake habits continue to erode in a way that puts public health in jeopardy. Overall fruit and vegetable consumption frequency has fallen by nearly 10% since 2004 and by 3% since 2015.

While fruit has experienced some gains, vegetable and juice have both experienced double-digit losses. Some of the heaviest consumers are leading the way in decreases, and our youngest consumers are of particular concern.

On average, Americans are eating fruits and vegetables one time, or less, each per day – which may partially explain why 9 out of 10 Americans are not meeting Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.

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Did this research include COVID-19 behaviors?

PBH’s 2020 State of the Plate research covered intake between 2015-2020 and was concluded in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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How has COVID-19 changed behaviors?

With COVID-19 still ongoing, this question remains to be answered. For PBH’s part, we will be conducting custom behavioral research to further understand current fruit and vegetable eating behaviors in the coming months. What we do know now is that America’s lack of fruit and vegetable consumption is a vulnerability that the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated.

Eating to bolster one’s immune system has arguably never been as top-of-mind as it is now and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, factors such as reduced mobility to do grocery shopping, illness, and reduction or loss of income, secondary to the virus, all play a role in rising food insecurity levels. For these, and other reasons, early indicators are showing that consumer shopping, cooking, and eating behaviors have shifted since the fielding of this research. In fact, in the weeks following stay-at-home orders, large percentages of consumers reported having canned, cup, pouch, and juice forms of fruits and vegetables on hand. Additionally, purchase of citrus juicing equipment increased by double-digits during the pandemic.

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Does PBH plan to conduct research to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on fruit and vegetable behaviors?

As part of PBH’s Lead The Change Movement, PBH will soon conduct custom consumer behavioral research in an effort to identify trends and increase new, more sustainable fruit and vegetable eating habits. These insights, as well as innovations identified by a broader multi-sector coalition, will be shared by PBH at the first-ever National Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Summit in 2022.

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What is PBH doing to communicate the data?

Assessing and reporting the PBH State of the Plate research is just the beginning. To reverse this consumption crisis, we must help Americans with realistic, easy steps to change fruit and vegetable behaviors.

PBH is committed to improving fruit and vegetable consumption through a national surround-sound marketing and communications program including:  new compelling content across our digital ecosystem; partnerships with retail, culinary, foodservice, nutrition and lifestyle influencers; health professional educational resources and webinars; a comprehensive member toolkit and member-supported activations; and ongoing earned and paid media activities.

PBH will continue to reach consumers with new inspirations and ideas via our Have A Plant® Movement, extensive digital ecosystem and Have A Plant® Ambassador Network.

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What can stakeholders do to learn more and help promote the PBH State of the Plate findings?

There are many ways the produce industry, influencers and all stakeholders can demonstrate their commitment to improving fruit and vegetable consumption by helping to communicate directly to consumers and/or via their influencers.

  • Visit the PBH State of the Plate Toolkit to find the research report, sample social media posts, key messages, infographic, template press release and media pitch.
  • Follow our social media channels and share the fruit & veggie love. Amplify PBH’s messages by sharing PBH posts with your followers.
  • Create your own posts, unique to your voice or channel to get people excited about eating and enjoying more fruits and vegetables. Please use #haveaplant in all your posts.
  • Include mentions of the PBH State of the Plate research in your podcast, in media segments, newsletters and blog posts.
  • Join the PBH webinar on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 to learn more and share your insights! Register HERE.
  • Host a Tweet Chat of your own, or join us for ours on Wednesday, March 31, 2021!
  • Invite the PBH team to highlight the new PBH State of the Plate research results at your meetings and/or influencer events – serving as a keynote speaker, participating in panel discussions and/or leading an interactive session or behavior-based training.

Consider incorporating PBH as a credible resource in your consumer and trade PR activities, as a spokesperson to share results of the PBH State of the Plate research, and as part of your efforts to promote your commitments and innovations to help reverse the decline in consumption.

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