Produce For Better Health Foundation

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Sat, Jan 19, 2019

Trade Release

January 23, 2018


Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, RDN
Produce for Better Health Foundation
8816 Manchester Road, PMB #408
Brentwood, MO 63144-2602
Direct Phone: 703-862-4070

Peeling Back the Onion on Emotional Well-being May Help Americans Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

Produce for Better Health Foundation’s emerging research highlights overall life satisfaction and happiness as a potential missing link in the consumer produce consumption conundrum


The New Year is notorious for resolution making—and breaking—with many resolutions associated with healthier eating and increased physical activity. But what if tapping into the feelings or emotions associated with healthful behaviors was the key starting the year off right? Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) consumer insights shed new light on New Year’s resolutions by complementing emerging data that indicates increased fruit and vegetable consumption may be predictive of improved happiness, life satisfaction and overall well-being.1


The healthfulness of fruit and vegetables, and the recommendation to consume more, has been widespread dogma for decades. Yet, intake continues to fall below recommended levels. In fact, trended PBH research shows not only declining intake over time but also a declining perception in produce healthfulness;  many believe fruit and vegetables are simply not “easy” to serve or place on our plates.2 This phenomenon spurred PBH to explore emotional connections that could help improve public health through increased fruit and vegetable consumption.


The research of more than 2,000 Americans showed a correlation between days per week in which fruit and vegetables were consumed and reported levels of life satisfaction and happiness. Those who reported eating fruit and vegetables every day of the week were significantly more likely to report being happy and satisfied with their life as a whole. Those who ate the most fruit and vegetables pointed to several physical, emotional and social benefits associated with their habitual consumption, including pride in their choices; feeling good in their day-to-day activities; alleviation of physical illness; and confidence in their future health.3


“Consumers expect and want their food to be healthful, but sometimes “healthy” just isn’t enough. We need to emotionally connect with consumers and help them find deeper reasons to eat more fruit and vegetables—every single day and at every eating occasion,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, President and CEO of PBH. “Additional research should be conducted to learn more about the nature of this correlation, but we think we are onto something.” Jason Riis, PhD of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania agrees.


“Human behavior is largely driven by emotion, so influencing behavior is about understanding how to create the right kinds of emotional experiences at key moments,” states Riis. “Fruit and vegetable consumption could be associated with many different positive emotional experiences, including pride (in eating healthful food); satisfaction (in preparing healthy food for loved ones); affiliation (in sharing foods that have rich historical and cultural traditions); joy (in eating and sharing delicious, culturally important foods); and comfort (in developing eating habits that support a long and healthy life).  Leveraging these emotional connections could help drive produce consumption.”


Consumers point to several barriers to increasing their intake of fruit and vegetables, including convenience, preparation time, spoilage and variation in family member preferences. Incorporating all forms of fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice) can help alleviate many of these barriers. In fact, PBH research continues to show over time that increased household availability2 and use3 of all forms of fruit and vegetables is associated with increased intake of healthful produce overall.


“What if we could help Americans consume even one more fruit and vegetable per day and one more day per week? What if choosing a variety of types and forms of fruit and vegetables helped them get there?” Reinhardt Kapsak adds. “Incremental and continuous improvement in fruit and vegetable consumption, and how it will benefit the public’s overall health and well-being, is what excites us. Now, we have another potential motivator in emotional well-being to help us connect with consumers and drive produce consumption.”


About the Produce for Better Health Foundation 

Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) is the only national organization dedicated to increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, in all forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice).


Since 1991, PBH has invested decades into developing trended insights on attitudes toward all forms of fruit and vegetable consumption, in addition to campaigns and partnerships with government, food industry stakeholders, health professionals and other thought leaders to collaborate, facilitate, and advocate for increased intake. Campaigns include first, the 5-A-Day program and now, the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters public health initiative. Fruits & Veggies—More Matters is the nation's largest public-private, fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative. To learn more, visit and Follow Fruits & Veggies—More Matters on Facebook or Twitter.

PBH also chairs the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), consisting of government agencies, non-profit organizations and industry working collaboratively to increase nationwide access and demand for fruit and vegetables in all forms for improved public health. To learn more, visit


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'Source Note: Mujcic R and Oswald AJ. Evolution of Well-Being and Happiness After Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables. Am J Pub Health. 2016; 106: 1504-1510.


2Source Note: Produce for Better Health Foundation. Primary Shoppers’ Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Fruit & Vegetable Consumption, 2012-2016. Available at:


3Source Note: Produce for Better Health Foundation. Novel Approaches to Measuring and Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, 2017. (to be published)



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