Industry coalition continues to move the needle in the produce department.
The bins and shelves of many produce departments are graced with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables atop a garden-green stick figure. This logo, belonging to the More Matters campaign of the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), has been guiding American shoppers to eat more fruits and vegetables for almost a decade. Nearly 25 years after the creation of the first nationwide produce campaign, More Matters continues to impact the fruits and vegetables Americans put in their cart and on their plate.
From 5 a Day to More Matters
PBH was formed in May 1991 in a partnership with the National Cancer Institute to co-sponsor the new 5 A Day for Better Health program. In 2007, the naming of a new lead government partner, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), led to a new name — Fruits & Veggies – More Matters — and the simultaneous creation of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance, a group of health organizations, government agencies, and produce industry groups working together to increase access to and demand for fruits and vegetables. PBH serves as the brand manager, and the CDC oversees scientific decisions, More Matters criteria, and key health messages.
Industry support grew from 60 produce companies and commodity boards in the early 1990s to more than 400 donors and licensees representing growers, shippers, packers, processors, merchandisers, commodity boards, trade associations, food industry organizations, health professionals, and supermarkets.
“Over the course of 16 years [as vice president of produce and floral at Schnucks], I worked with PBH on both 5 A Day and More Matters,” says Mike O’Brien, vice president, sales and marketing, Monterey Mushrooms, Watsonville, CA. “Increasing produce consumption for the health of our nation is one of my passions.”
“Oppy has supported PBH since the beginning,” notes Brett Libke, general manager, East Coast, The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy), Vancouver, Canada. “I became a member of the PBH board a few years ago, and it’s a great initiative to be part of.”
Working With Industry
More Matters seeks to motivate shoppers to overcome challenges preventing them from buying and eating more fruits and vegetables. The campaign reaches out with industry- and market-related packaging and materials, traditional and social media and outreach to health influencers and others.
“Our research shows that moms who say they see the More Matters logo on packaging and in stores are more likely to buy fruits and vegetables; and More Matters on a product connects that product to health,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive of Produce for Better Health Foundation, Hockessin, DE.
The More Matters campaign encourages industry partners to display its logo on packaging, signage, and promotions; promote both National Nutrition Month (March) and Celebrate Fruits & Veggies — More Matters Month (September); connect through the Internet and social media; work with supermarket dietitians; adopt a local school; utilize PBH toolkits; and attend the PBH Annual Conference.
“Retailers are key in getting the message to consumers through the More Matters logo and store signage,” says O’Brien of Monterey Mushrooms. “Placing the logo on promotional tools such as recipes and product usage signs also helps grow consumption.”
“We use the More Matters logo on every package, box, and bag, plus our website and traditional and online marketing materials. We also use the logo on company presentations,” explains Kaylyn Bender, manager of marketing, Market Fresh Produce, LLC, Nixa, MO. “We want to show 100 percent support of this great program. Also, recognition of the More Matters program helps support our reputation of providing quality products. Quality makes a big difference in produce.” “We place the More Matters logo on all of our consumer packaging in order to support the cause and the many health attributes of the fruits inside the package,” says Roger Pepperl, marketing director, Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, WA.
The program’s consumer website (MoreMatters.org) encourages consumers to look for the More Matters logo, visit the website for information, start good eating habits early in life, and use social media to stay connected with the program.
“Our primary target audience is moms with children ages 10 and younger, so influencing Mom is our key area,” says Pivonka. “We also offer materials for children on both MoreMatters.org and FoodChamps.org, our website designed specifically for kids ages 2 to 8. Here, they can have fun with games, coloring sheets, activity pages, and kid-friendly recipes while learning interactively about fruit and veggies.”
Social Media Sales
“Since social media is one of the best ways to communicate the meaning of More Matters — and PBH does such a great job developing fun, relevant content — we took the opportunity to integrate messages on our many social media platforms,” says Libke of Oppy. “We co-host a Twitter party that aligns More Matters with one of our newer brands, Outrageously Fresh. It’s the perfect opportunity to introduce our new line of greenhouse snacking items to consumers looking to integrate more produce into their family’s meal plans.”
Stemilt’s Pepperl also recognizes the value of social media. “We have a page on our website that links to the More Matters website. We also host an annual Twitter party with PBH where we talk about a topic related to fresh fruits. Last year, our topic was smoothies. We fold the More Matters program into our social pages, and sponsored recipes and content through the More Matters social network, which reaches an impressive number of consumers.”
PBH recognizes the role played by industry members in sharing More Matters. Yearly, it names industry Champions and Role Models who best share More Matters in traditional and social media, advertising and packaging, and promote National Fruits & Veggies — More Matters Month. PBH also encourages partners to “like” its Facebook page, “follow” on Twitter and Pinterest, “retweet” and “repost,” join More Matters Twitter parties, as well as blog about More Matters.
Cross-promoting More Matters throughout departments increases the number of shopper touchpoints with the More Matters message and the pharmacy is a natural partner. “In conjunction with our pharmacy team, the dietitians at The Little Clinic/Kroger provide More Matters recipes and tips on select pharmacy prescription inserts,” says Allison Kuhn, MS, RDN, LD, director, retail dietetics, The Little Clinic, Cincinnati.
“Giving our customers easy access to fruit- and veggie-focused recipes makes healthy eating more convenient, and inspires customers to interact more at the pharmacy level. We focus on top chronic conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and hypertension, enabling us to provide fruit and veggie messaging to those shoppers who need it most. To date, nearly 2 million patients received this messaging, which contributes to medication adherence. In addition, the use of our More Matters logo corresponds with our PBH-branded produce bags and select private label products, serving to unify fruit and vegetable messaging throughout the store.”
]More Matters is moving the needle in the produce department. “Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption is going up slowly and steadily,” says Pivonka of PBH. “The percentage of moms likely to purchase products with the Fruits & Veggies — More Matter logo has risen to 49 percent, up from 39 percent in 2007, and 49 percent of moms are very/extremely motivated by More Matters (compared to 24 percent in 2007). PBH exceeded its goals for website visits, opt-in email participants, industry role models, and social media.
Vegetable consumption is up among children and young adults, although somewhat down overall. Children of all ages are consuming more fruit, particularly berries, bananas, apples, and oranges, at all meals while adults (ages 18 to 44 years) are eating more berries, bananas, and other fruit at breakfast.
“We made good progress and have a positive outlook for fruit and vegetable consumption in shoppers younger than 40 years of age but consumption is down in shoppers older than 50, a trend we are looking to reverse,” says Pivonka.
Strategies and Goals
PBH follows a three-year strategic plan to help the organization create public value, fulfill its mission, meet mandates, and serve its stakeholders effectively, efficiently, and responsibly. The PBH executive committee reviews this plan each year and makes necessary adjustments for continued success. Goals and strategies for 2016 include expansion for PBH’s industry and professional partners:
- Provide legitimate health and/or structure/function claims about fruits and vegetables.
- Expand beyond supermarket dietitians to include other dietitians and consumer influencers who can help with messaging.
- Target C-stores, drug stores, and value/dollar stores as venues for message dissemination. Implement a grassroots advocacy plan that encourages consumers to spread the message and includes promotion of online giving.
- Celebrate the 25th anniversary
“Stemilt truly believes in More Matters and its work,” says Pepperl. “The goals of PBH and More Matters align well with our marketing goals and values. Everything we do with PBH supports our direct-to-consumer marketing efforts and products. The team at PBH is incredible and being a partner is truly a win-win scenario. Unlike many “sponsorships,” the benefits PBH provides are long-lasting and well-thought-out, and support the cause and goals of our company.”
“Being a More Matters partner opens the doors for exciting conversations with our retail partners as well as those we’d consider competitors, except for the fact that we’re united in the goal to build fruit and vegetable consumption,” says Libke of Oppy. “The More Matters promotional umbrella can move a high volume of produce while educating consumers about easy ways to prepare and serve more fruits and vegetables.”
Mike O’Brien of Monterey Mushrooms notes, “having the industry come together in a noncompetitive way grows the pie, and we all get a bigger piece.”