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Putting Plant-Forward Into Action With Powerful Pairings

Recently released Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) State of the Plate research[i] indicates that we must act NOW to ensure that the erosion in America’s fruit and vegetable consumption stops. Did you know: on average, Americans are eating vegetables just ONCE each day – and fruit even less often? PBH’s KNOW-FEEL-DO Behavioral Framework is one important tool to help reverse these trends.

Informed by our work with consumer behavior scientists, we utilize the KNOW-FEEL-DO Behavioral Framework to help break through the clutter and inspire lasting fruit and vegetable behavior change. It’s actually pretty simple – and that’s why scientists believe it works. KNOW-FEEL-DO motivates Americans with emotion-based, realistic solutions that move beyond knowledge (knowing the facts isn’t enough) to tap into how people feel about fruits and vegetables in ways that inspire more action and doing.

Tapping Into Feelings For Plant-Forward Eating

One trend that can spark more fruit and vegetable consumption utilizing KNOW-FEEL-DO behavioral techniques is Americans’ growing interest in plant-forward eating. Plant-forward eating has become increasingly popular – so we know there’s a feeling we can tap into – but it’s also never been more confusing, so the doing isn’t very easy. To spark more action and prioritize plant-forward eating, we need to cut through the clutter and clarify the key points: A plant-forward lifestyle is NOT about excluding or limiting food groups; it’s about being mindful of how to add and enjoy more plants on the plate and pairing them with foods we already love.

While people feel “plant-based” can be restrictive, plant-forward feels more achievable – something people can more easily do without strict rules. The mainstays of a plant-forward eating style include flavorful fruits and vibrant vegetables, satisfying whole grains and a variety of wholesome, nutrient-packed foods such as legumes, nuts and seeds. Other nutrient-rich foods such as low-fat milk and dairy products, seafood, lean meat, poultry, and eggs are also key and pair perfectly with plant foods.

Plant-Forward Pairings: A Match Made in Fruit & Veggie Heaven

While we know people are feeling inspired to try more plant-forward meals, how do we put this into action and make the DOing actually happen? It’s about meeting consumers where they are and making it easy so that we can focus on what really matters: helping all Americans enjoy more plant foods more often. Period.

One way to do that is by celebrating plant-forward pairings: highlighting how fruits and vegetables can be the star in people’s favorite combos – think of a bowl of cereal bursting with bananas or satisfying breakfast wraps with eggs, spinach and tomatoes; a refreshingly delicious snack of creamy yogurt with crunchy walnuts and colorful berries; a mouth-watering beef and veggie-filled stir-fry for lunch; taco Tuesdays with more avocados and creative salsa combos or pizza Fridays with more mushrooms, multi-colored peppers, and juicy pineapple; and to top it off, delicious fruit topped with an elegant dark chocolate drizzle for dessert. Yum!

To help inspire Americans with more powerful pairings like this, we partnered with the California Walnut Board to create the new Have A Plant®: The Plant-Forward Eating Guide. Filled with creative and unique plant-forward solutions, this Guide is a comprehensive resource for health professionals, culinary and foodservice experts, retail leaders and lifestyle influencers – anyone who cares about helping Americans enjoy more plant foods more often!

Making Plant-Forward Pairings Happen

As the only national organization 100% focused on helping people enjoy all forms of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice), PBH is uniquely poised to bring the KNOW-FEEL-DO Behavioral Framework approach to life and create a nation of more fruit- and veggie-loving, plant-forward advocates. Fueled by our amazing network of members representing all points of the fruit and vegetable industry, PBH is forging strategic partnerships; expanding our Have A Plant® Ambassador Network; reimagining and elevating the concept of plant-forward pairings to be inclusive of all food groups, backed by the latest 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; and continuing to support consumer behavioral research to inform how we can collaborate to positively impact fruit and vegetable consumption.

When we unite and all come together on the plate, we can help Americans create more plant-forward matches made in heaven, for happier, healthier lives! #haveaplant #leadthechange

[i] Produce for Better Health Foundation. State of the Plate: America’s Fruit & Vegetable Consumption Trends. 2020.

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