ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association here is dropping its 41-year-old produce promotion program in favor of the Produce for Better Health Foundation's 5-a-Day program.
The United program, called the Fresh Approach, is being dropped, according to association president Tom Stenzel, because of the national trade association's shifting priorities. "Over the last year we've been wrestling with what our focus as a trade association should be," Stenzel told SN. Generic consumer promotions such as Fresh Approach did not rank high among the association's newly adopted priorities, which include government relations, trade relations and industry education, he said.
In addition, Stenzel said, there has been a "nagging concern that raising money for Fresh Approach somehow competed with 5 a Day."
Stenzel said that with 5 a Day up and running and doing well -- the program began in 1991 -- the need for Fresh Approach wasn't as strong.
The goal of 5 a Day is to increase the average daily consumption of fruits and vegetables to five daily servings. It is run by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Newark, Del., in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, and is funded by the produce industry.
The Fresh Approach, managed by United since 1953, was totally funded by the industry. Last year, the industry contributed $250,000 to the program. Stenzel said he's hopeful that by dropping Fresh Approach more money will be freed up for 5 a Day.
"We would love it if all those people who gave to Fresh Approach would now give that money to 5 a Day," he said.
The move drew praise from the Produce for Better Health Foundation, which oversees 5 a Day and is jointly run by the National Cancer Institute.
"We certainly welcome the support of United," said Ted Campbell, director of produce for Supervalu, Minneapolis, and president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Newark, Del. "It's nice to see all of us working together as one industry."
He said United's decision is "timely and desirable" in that it might give a much needed boost to the foundation's fund-raising efforts. He said he's "certainly hopeful" that former Fresh Approach contributors will "swing their valuable support to 5 a Day."
As of last month, the foundation still needed to raise an additional $600,000 to meet its 1994 budget goal of $1.5 million.
Although United will no longer produce materials and programs under the Fresh Approach banner, Stenzel said that one recently added element to the Fresh Approach -- the National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month -- will continue. Held each June, Fresh Month is designed to get industry segments to work together to develop programs to increase consumer awareness of fresh produce.
Stenzel said the association will continue to work with industry segments to encourage their involvement in Fresh Month. "It fits in very nicely with our top priorities in that it brings buyers and suppliers together," he said.