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November 4, 2011

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Increases Student Consumption
Healthy Foods = Healthy Business
Marketing of Sugary Drinks Targets Teens, Kids
Front-of-Package Labeling Report Released
Featured Healthy Plate Section Popular with Consumers
Promote Your Holiday Events Via the Fruit & Veggie Happenings Page
PBH to Attend New York Produce Show & Conference

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Increases Student Consumption

A report released by the Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA shows schools participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for the 2011-2012 school year are having a positive impact on the consumption of produce by students. Consumption of fruits and vegetables increased by 15 percent as compared to consumption in non-participating schools. The program is also seen as having an impact on students in low income areas where there is limited access to fruit and vegetables and children are at the greatest risk of poor health outcomes. 

You may access the entire Food and Nutrition Service interim report here. To see which schools are participating in the FFVP, please visit the Fruit & Veggie Happenings page on the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters consumer website.

Healthy Foods = Healthy Business

According to a new report from the Hudson Institute, food and beverage companies with a higher percentage of their sales coming from healthier or “better-for-you” products perform better financially. “Better-for-you” products were defined as no-, low-, and reduced-calorie items, as well as products that are generally perceived as healthier, such as yogurts and whole grain cereals. 

The report analyzed the sales of 15 major companies and found that sales of these healthier products drove more than 70 percent of sales growth from 2007 to 2011. In addition, the report found that in comparison with companies that sold lower than average better-for-you products, those that sold more of these items: 

  • Showed a 50 percent growth in operating profit, compared with 20 percent for other companies.
  • Outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 60 points on average, compared with roughly 40 points for other companies.
  • Delivered returns to shareholders 15 percentage points higher than those of other companies.
  • Recorded reputation ratings 30 percent higher than those of other companies.

The findings provide incentive for more companies to look at incorporating the strategy to place additional emphasis on selling healthier food and beverage options as well as developing more nutritious foods. Read the full press release for more information.

Marketing of Sugary Drinks Targets Teens, Kids

According to a new report from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, marketing of sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks to youth has doubled in recent years, despite industry pledges to market fewer unhealthy beverages to children. 

The report, Sugary Drink FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score), analyzed marketing practices of 14 major companies and the nutritional content of around 600 products for its study. In addition to finding the overall marketing of unhealthy beverages to youth had increased, the study found that black and Hispanic youths were viewed by these companies as a source of future growth for sugary drink sales—these teens saw 80 to 90 percent more TV ads for sugary drinks compared with white youths.

Some of the recommendations from this study include:  

  • Develop and market child-friendly products with less sugar and no artificial sweeteners or colors.
  • Make nutrition and ingredient information more easily accessible.
  • Disclose caffeine content on packages and online.
  • Stop targeting teens with marketing for sugary drinks or caffeinated products.
  • Remove nutrition-related claims from high-sugar products.

View the full report and recommendations from the Sugary Drink FACTS.

Front-of-Package Labeling Report Released

The Institute of Medicine released its Phase II report on front-of-package (FOP) labeling with a recommendation that the rating system be simplified in order to help consumers make better choices. 

The current wide variety of systems available on products is confusing to consumers. The report recommendation calls for a simple FOP nutrition rating system that shows calories in household measures and points for healthfulness of the product based on nutrients of most concern, which enables consumers to recognize healthier products by the number of points and calorie information. Visit the Institute of Medicine website for more information about this report.

Featured Healthy Plates Section Popular with Consumers

The Healthy Plate section of the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters consumer website has turned into a social media fan favorite in recent months. As part of PBH’s efforts to support the USDA MyPlate guidelines, each sponsored plate is featured as the “ideal” of how a healthy plate should look. Consumers are able to obtain the nutrition information about the featured plate and the cost to make the plate, as well as get the recipe and re-create the plate themselves. There’s even a grocery list so the consumer can shop for all the ingredients necessary to make the meal. 

These healthy plate images and their related recipe and nutritional information are regularly used in PBH’s social media efforts. PBH tweets examples of healthy plates and is finding that these tweets are taking on a life of their own as they are being retweeted to others numerous times. 

“It makes sense that consumers are responding to a visual,” said PBH CEO and President Elizabeth Pivonka. “It’s one thing to tell them to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, it’s another to show them what a healthy plate looks like and provide them with the instruction on how to create it.” 

Another area of the Healthy Plate section is the Before and After Plate Comparison, another social media fan favorite. Here a typical image (before) is shown and then a remake image (after) of the same dish is provided. Consumers are encouraged to compare the two images and decide where their own plates fit in. They are then shown how to make the switch to the healthier version. 

The healthy plates have also been used via Twitter as recipe options for Twitter followers to use for dinner, lunch, or breakfast ideas. Visit the Healthy Plate section to see all the plate options, tips, and MyPlate Makeover Challenge information.

Promote Your Holiday Events Via the Fruit & Veggie Happenings Page

Holiday cooking demonstrations, toy or food drives—the holiday season provides many opportunities for festive events! It’s easy to promote these events through our Fruit & Veggie Happenings Page. Consumers use this page to search for local activities in their communities by entering their zip codes. There is currently a wide variety of events listed in the database such as store events, school programs, farmers markets, and classes. 

PDFs, photos, and information about the same event or activity occurring at multiple locations can also be uploaded, making it easy and convenient to populate this interactive tool. Visit the Fruit & Veggie Happenings page to enter your holiday event information and please contact Janet Skibicki if you need assistance.

PBH To Attend New York Produce Show & Conference

“Celebrating Fresh” is the theme of the 3-day conference PBH will attend in New York City, November 7 – 9, hosted by the Eastern Produce Council and Produce Business magazine. The event provides great networking opportunities as well as many other educational programs, including insights on produce importing/exporting to and from the Northeast region.

PBH is pleased to recognize the following who have contributed their support of the Foundation from October 17, 2011 through October 31, 2011. Their 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.

New Board of Trustees ($10,000+ Annual Contribution):
Tony & Darlene Rodgers

New Donors:
Rousseau Farming Company

Returning Trustees ($10,000+ Annual Contribution):
The Oppenheimer Group

Returning Donors:
Bozzuto's, Inc.
Brennan's Country Farm Market
Delicious Foods
Inidanapolis Fruit Company, Inc.
Superior Sales, Inc.
William H. Kopke, Jr., Inc.


For more information, contact Kristen Stevens.


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