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March 16, 2012

Making Social Media Work for You
USDA Issues Proposed Rule on Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
Online Resource Guide Now Available for Worksite Wellness Managers
Study Shows Convenience, Quality, Selection Associated with Higher Produce Consumption

Making Social Media Work for You

Social media is hard to ignore—these days almost every company or organization has a Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube presence, LinkedIn profile, blog, or some combination of them. It makes sense; social media is an easy way to build relationships and share information. And, it’s an effective way for companies to supplement their current marketing strategies and use new ways to create a buzz about their products and key messages. Over the past few years, PBH has had success on the social media front. Last year we saw our Facebook “likes” increase nine-fold and our Twitter followers increase 3-fold. We currently have 28,927 Facebook likes and 13,170 Twitter followers. As a result, the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® message has continued to spread, and we’ve seen an increase in new visitors to our consumer website.

However, to be successful in using social media to expand your customer relationships and increase your company’s reach, you’ll have to do more than simply set up a Facebook page or Twitter account. Last year, PBH hosted a Twitter party so that members of the industry could share social media ideas and best practices with each other. To aide you with your own social media efforts, we’d like to share some of the key takeaways from that Twitter party, along with our own experiences as things to keep in mind when creating a social media marketing plan: 

  • Consistency: It’s important to maintain a consistent presence. PBH makes it a habit to post one Facebook status update each day, 10-15 tweets, and a weekly blog entry. Your own updates don’t have to be that frequent, but remember if your customer visits your Facebook page and sees that it hasn’t been touched for over a month, chances are he/she won’t come back.
  • Variety: Keep your content interesting. Photos, video, and polls help to pique your readers’ interest more than always using standard text posts.
  • Engagement: This is probably more applicable to Facebook than some of the other social media options, but make sure you are responding to comments and questions from your followers. In addition, it’s always nice to throw out a question to your followers to get a discussion started.
  • Innovation: Stay abreast of the latest technology. There are platforms out there like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, which make managing your social media efforts much easier, with features that allow you to schedule your posts and tweets. Google + recently incorporated company pages into its platform—these are the kinds of things that are important to know early on so that your company can decide whether to get involved.

Finally, social media is a terrific way for members of the industry to leverage one another’s messages. Many of us share or “retweet” information about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. PBH also hosts monthly Twitter parties the first Wednesday of each month at 4:00 PM (ET) and our donors are encouraged to join. The topics change monthly and the parties are geared toward providing consumers with helpful information and tips on incorporating fruits and vegetables into their daily routine. Connect with PBH via Facebook or Twitter if you’re not already, and if you have any questions or ideas about social media, please feel free to contact PBH’s social medial coordinator, Janet Skibicki for more information.

USDA Issues Proposed Rule on Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Late last month, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service issued a proposed rule establishing basic requirements for the operation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in conformance with the National School Lunch Act.

Under the proposal, participation requirements are restricted to only elementary schools that offer the National School Lunch Program. Eligible schools must have at least 50 percent of their students certified as eligible for free or reduced-priced meals. Priority must also be given for schools with the highest need. To participate, schools must submit an application and may not have been documented in mismanaging any FNS program or have any other documented program violations.

View the full USDA proposed rule and view the list of FFVP schools via the Fruits & Veggies Happenings page on the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters website.

Online Resource Guide Now Available for Worksite Wellness Managers

An area of focus for the nation in recent years has been health in the workplace. More employers are recognizing that encouraging and promoting good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for employees results in fewer absences and higher productivity in the workplace. In support of these efforts, PBH has many online resources designed to promote healthy eating. A new online guide is now available for worksite wellness managers.

The online resource guide for worksite wellness managers includes:  

  • Links to downloadable consumer columns, recipes, and resources for managers.
  • Ideas to motivate employees to eat healthfully.
  • Tips for setting up social support systems for employees.
  • Ideas for improving cafeteria and vending machine options.
  • Ways to market fresh produce at work.
  • Related resources available on PBH websites.
  • An overview of PBH consumer research.
  • Featured external links.

The new online resource guide is located on the Public Sector page, the State Coordinators page, and the Private Sector page. This guide follows the development of a similar guide for Supermarket Consumer Affairs directors and dietitians as well as one for schools.

Study Shows Convenience, Quality, Selection Associated with Higher Consumption

A recent study, published in the February issue of Public Health Nutrition, suggests that the amount of fruits and vegetables people eat may have more to do with the shopping experience at the market than the actual food cost. Researchers at RTI International and the George Washington University found that convenience and an offering of quality and selection influenced how many fruits and vegetables people who lived in inner-city, low-income areas purchased.

The study examined the connection between three characteristics of the food shopping environment—quality, selection, and convenience—and the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables in an inner-city, low-income population. Cost was found not to be a factor in how many servings of fruit and vegetables the participants ate.

Researchers also found that participants who made six shopping trips a month ate more fruits and vegetables than those who shopped once a week, suggesting that increasing access to fruits and vegetables increases consumption.

For more information about this study, read the entire article or view an abstract on the research study itself.

PBH is pleased to recognize the following companies who have contributed their support of the Foundation from February 29, 2012 through March 14, 2012. Your generous contributions help support PBH’s many activities to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. To find out how you can support PBH, and grow your business in the process, contact PBH Development Director Renee Bullion or PBH Development Manager Cyndy Dennis.

Returning Trustees ($10,000+ Annual Contribution):
Hass Avocado Board

Returning Donors:
Banacol Marketing Corporation
Hunts Point Terminal Produce Co-op Association, Inc.
Mike Benben, Inc.
Mushroom Council
Sterilox Food Safety
Westside Produce Company
Wild Blueberry Association of North America


For more information, contact Kristen Stevens.


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