SAN FRANCISCO — Produce for Better Health Foundation, the Wilmington, Del.-based nonprofit, is gearing up to launch its new “Fruits & Veggies — More Matters” education initiative here on March 19, and has recently signed on Wal-Mart and Safeway as the newest companies to join the license agreement, which now includes 33 retail companies representing approximately 20,000 retail stores across the United States.
“The whole licensing process has just been extremely positive,” Bryant Wynes, senior executive of retail marketing for PBH, told SN. “The fact that these two large national retailers have recognized that it's a good program, that it's a worthwhile effort and have agreed to work with [us], is indicative of what will be a positive program.”
The program's March launch will follow a PBH board meeting and will take place inside the produce department of a San Francisco-area Safeway. Representatives from PBH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which worked with PBH to form the guidelines for which products can don the program's official logo, will be in attendance to watch a fruit and vegetable cook-off between two Culinary Institute of America chefs.
In addition, PBH will launch a national fruit- and vegetable-based recipe contest in which two grand prize winners will receive an expense-paid trip to the Culinary Institute of their choice, either in California or New York. The “Fruits & Veggies — More Matters” website will also have its official debut.
“It's more interactive than 5aday.com,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, president of PBH, explaining how the new site will differ from PBH's existing consumer website. “People can email us questions, and there's a mom-to-mom chat room where visitors can discuss how they use different products or how they get their families to eat more fruits and vegetables.” These and other features, including searchable, downloadable recipes and menu ideas, are primarily targeted at Generation X moms with young children at home, Pivonka explained.
Unlike national product groups, PBH does not have consumer media funding, so it must rely on the efforts of its partners, and it counts on retailers to deliver the message through in-store ads, point-of-sale materials, leaflets and other promotional mediums, Wynes said. “What we want out of the retail relationship, and what we've been able to rely on in the past, is their support and their help in communicating the message.”
Licensed retailers are provided with PBH's new 2007 Retail Advertising Toolkit, which is designed to help retailers with marketing efforts, including press releases, ad slicks, layouts and radio commercial templates for their own produce promotions, as well as all forms of fruits and vegetables — fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice products — that meet the guidelines.
“[Participating retailers are] just all over the board, and that's the great thing about it,” said Wynes.
“Obviously, because of Wal-Mart's and Safeway's size, they're going to have huge reach, and they're going to be able to deliver this message to a lot of folks,” he continued. “But I think that it's the fact that it's added onto an enormously diverse list of retailers, I'm just really proud of the people who have decided to support this effort.”
Wynes said he expects the number of participating retailers to grow, mentioning that there are a handful of additional retailers who are in line to sign on soon, but he would not disclose which retailers specifically.
“We're real confident that if not by March 19, certainly by the next couple of months, we'll virtually have most of the U.S. retailers signed up,” he said.
Current Fruits & Veggies — More Matters licensed retailers include: Associated Food Stores; Associated Grocers; Associated Wholesale Grocers; Big Y; Bozzuto's; Brookshire Grocery Co.; Clemens Markets; Dierbergs; E.W. James & Sons; Felpausch Food Centers; Food Lion; Giant Eagle; Harris Teeter; Hy-Vee; Key Food Stores Cooperative; Lowes; Meijer; Nash Finch; Price Chopper Supermarkets; Publix Super Markets; Raley's; Redner's; Roche Bros.; SaveMart; Schnuck Markets; Times Super Markets; United Supermarkets; Wal-Mart; Weis Markets; and Wild Oats Markets, as well as all retail banners operated by Ahold USA, Kroger, Safeway and Supervalu.