Produce For Better Health Foundation

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April 3, 2015

Annual Conference Recap
2015 State of the Plate Report
New Officers & Executive Committee Members Approved by Trustees
2016 Annual Conference Dates & Location
Healthy Fruit & Veggie Bites Contest
April Social Media Posts
Thank You! New and Returning Donors



Annual Conference Recap


The annual conference for Produce for Better Health Foundation, The Consumer Connection, was held March 16-18 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over 200 fruit and vegetable marketers and executives, retail buyers and vice presidents, supermarket dietitians, commodity boards, supply companies, and foodservice representatives, and professors and students from universities attended the conference. The conference afforded attendees the opportunity to Build strategic alliances, Grow your brand, Learn from vibrant speakers, Partner with colleagues, and Connect with Peers.


The conference opened Monday, March 16 with a morning tour the fields and facilities of Duncan Family Farms and Legend Distributing, while members of PBH's Executive Committee and Board of Trustees held regularly scheduled meetings. The afternoon featured several tours of local supermarkets for most attendees, while members of PBH's Marketing/Communications, Research, and Donor committees met to plan out their activities for the next year. Business Exchange 1:1 Appointments were held throughout the conference affording conference sponsors the opportunity to meet with any conference attendee, including all invited retailers and supermarket dietitians.


The second day of PBH's annual conference, The Consumer Connection, was filled with informative presentations, an award recognition luncheon, and capped off by the infamous Walkabout Market Dinner, a culinary celebration of fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruit and vegetables, and 100% juice. Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., President & CEO, Produce for Better Health Foundation began the day with her annual ‘State of the Foundation' presentation, but with a new twist for 2015. Pivonka showed a video which visually brought the accomplishments and goals achieved by the Foundation in 2014 to life. A short presentation followed the video.


A few of the grantees of the University Store Tour grant program, started in 2013, shared their successes and key metrics with the attendees and demonstrated ROI for supermarkets implementing this type of program in conjunction with their local university. A presentation by Ross Denice, Student Project Lead followed. The Fresno State University marketing proposal was selected and the team were asked to present their product and associated marketing plan to conference attendees during the general session. The proposal stems from PBH's newest grant program, Formula 5: A Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Competition. The team was also awarded $2,000. Joe Derochowski from The NPD Group rounded out the morning by sharing key insights and trends in consumption of fruit and vegetables over the past 5 to 10 years, including a look at future consumption projections. PBH works with The NPD Group to purchase eating trend data and updates its State of the Plate report every five years.


PBH was honored to recognize many of the 2014 Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® Role Models and Champions during an award luncheon. The Supermarket Dietitians of the Year, PBH Ambassadors, and Excellence Award recipients were also honored during the luncheon. The afternoon featured two educational sessions: Center Synergy: How to Drive Produce Sales using Center Store Foods and How Activism has Driven the Conversation about Food. Business Exchange 1:1 Appointments also continued throughout the day. The day concluded with PBH's infamous Walkabout Market Dinner which highlighted various dishes featuring fruit and vegetables from our sponsors.


The third, and final, day of PBH's annual conference kicked off with the keynote speaker presentation, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott. The informative, entertaining and high-energy presentation outlined the best examples of success from a wide variety of large and small organizations – from business-to-business outfits to rock bands, nonprofits to entrepreneurial growth businesses. Scott energized the conference attendees to put their fear aside and be confident to apply new thinking: social media are the tools, but Real-Time is the crucial mindset. He demonstrated how to win the hearts and minds of an audience using blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Newsjacking, and other new tools, by creating content that folks are eager to share.


Sponsors and attendees finished up the last of their scheduled Business Exchange 1:1 Appointments, and the afternoon focused on three educational sessions. The first, Nutrigenomics: Understanding Nutrition from Table to Gene, was presented by Dr. Jack Vanden Heuvel, Professor of Molecular Toxicology, Penn State University & Patricia Groziak, MS, RD, Executive Director, Nutrition & Wellness, Golin. Since fruit and vegetables provide some of the most powerful disease-fighting compounds, the session provided an overview of nutrigenomics and discussed future marketing and education opportunities. Partnering with Nickelodeon™, presented by Rex Weiss, Sr. Director, CPG/HBA at Nickelodeon showed how companies can leverage the Nickelodeon brand and characters to positively influence customers. The final session was both educational and tasty! The New Flavors, New Ways exhibit-style taste session focused on specialty fruit and vegetables, the sharing of information and recipes, and tasting stations featuring products from Frieda's, Melissa's Produce, Sunkist, and Valley Produce. The conference concluded with a Botanical Beauties closing reception overlooking the mountains of Scottsdale.


“The PBH annual conference continues to grow each year, not only in terms of total attendees, but also through the topics of our educational sessions, the quality of our speakers, and through our retail attendees,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, President and CEO of PBH.


All presentations from the annual conference are located on the PBH Foundation website.


PBH is pleased to recognize the following companies as sponsors of the 2015 annual conference, The Consumer Connection:

Platinum – Campbell Soup Company, Paramount Citrus, Sunkist & Sun-Maid Growers of California

Gold – Del Monte Fresh Produce, SUNSET® & Monsanto Vegetable Seeds

Silver – Black Gold Farms, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, Earthbound Farms, Giorgio Fresh Mushrooms, Green Giant Fresh, Robinson Fresh, McDonald's, Nickelodeon™ & Syngenta

Bronze – Dole Packaged Foods & Stemilt Growers, Inc.

Benefactor – California Cling Peach Board, Can Manufacturers Institute, Chelan Fresh Marketing, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Frieda's, Green Giant Frozen & Canned, Grimmway Farms, Juice Products Association, Mariani Nut Company, Marie's, Melissa's, Naturipe, Nestle USA, Pacific Coast Producers, Pear Bureau Northwest, Produce Marketing Association, Rainier Fruit Company, Seneca Foods, & Southern Gardens Citrus

2015 State of the Plate Report


Every five years, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) releases its updated State of the Plate report, a Study on America's Consumption of Fruit & Vegetables.  PBH commissioned consumer research through The NPD Group to use its National Eating Trends database for the year ending May 2014 to examine current consumption of fruit and vegetables in the United States, including consumption levels by age, gender, life cycle, health segmentation, meal occasion, and form.  The report provides the fruit and vegetable industry, health professionals, and consumer intermediary groups with:


  • The latest fruit and vegetable consumption trends
  • Updated information on the varying demographics of fruit and vegetable consumers
  • An overview of consumption levels by lifecycle and eater segment
  • Projected growth of fruit and vegetable consumption for the next 5 years
  • Recommendations about what can be done to make the information in the report actionable


Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Trends
Per capita fruit and vegetable consumption has declined 7% over the past 5 years, primarily driven by decreased consumption of vegetables (-7%) and fruit juice (-14%). However, there is only a 2% decrease in fruit consumption during this same time period if fruit juice is excluded from the overall fruit total. The overall fruit and vegetable consumption losses are tied to two significant behaviors: a decline in the dinner side dish for vegetables driven by the desire to simplify meals (including side dish salads which also reduces the use of other salad related vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers), and reduced consumption of fruit juice at breakfast. Despite these losses, however, fruit and vegetables are still a cornerstone of the American diet; vegetables are 4 of the top 5 side dishes at the in-home dinner meal and fruit is second only to candy as a snack.


Shifting Demographics of Fruit & Vegetable Consumers
When looking at age demographics, younger consumers are eating more fruit compared to 2009. Among children ages 2-17, there is a 17% increase in fruit consumption, excluding juice. Overall vegetable consumption is down, but store fresh vegetables have grown among children (10%) and young adults over the past 5 years. While adults ages 50 and older consume the most fruit and vegetables, this group's double digit decline was a significant factor in the overall decline of fruit and vegetable consumption since 2009. A negative generational effect is occurring among these older consumers, which means that 50+ year olds today are consuming fruit and vegetables less often than their counterparts ten years ago. Conversely, a positive generational effect is occurring in those under age 40, meaning they are consuming more fruit and vegetables than their counterparts a decade ago.


Consumption Levels by Lifecycle & Eater Segment
Fruit and vegetable consumption data can be further analyzed to identify if singles, seniors or working women households are eating more or less compared to other lifecycle groups. Working Women (working parents, single female parent and dual income with no children) and Traditional Family (married with children <18 years old present; only 1 spouse employed full-time) households are consuming more fruit, but less fruit juice and vegetables, per capita over time. Only 13% of the population are Seniors (single or married, male or female head of household, age 65+), yet these households represent 17% of all vegetables consumed and 18% of all fruit consumed, excluding fruit juice. Singles (under 65 years old) represent more of the population than seniors, but account for the smallest share of consumption of vegetables or fruit.


NPD also grouped the population into 5 segments based on varying attitudes.  The three consumer segments focused on health account for 60-70% of fruit and vegetable eatings, yet only represent half of the total population.  All three of these segments, however, have shown the most decline in fruit and vegetable eatings over the last 5 years.  This is especially disturbing given that people presumably focused either on leading a healthy lifestyle or a health condition appear to be thinking less about fruit or vegetable consumption when it comes to their overall health. 


Projected Growth of Fruit & Vegetable Consumption
Considering the aforementioned generational effect, changing life stages, and other factors, consumption of total fruit and total vegetables are expected to grow roughly 4% respectively in the next 5 years, or roughly the same rate as population growth, resulting in relatively flat per capita consumption. Looking at fruit and vegetables subsets, however, there is an expected 9% growth in fruit (excluding juice) and an 8% growth in fresh vegetables expected in the next 5 years. Per capita consumption would be 5% and 4%, respectively.


Recommendations to Increase Fruit & Vegetable Consumption
Fruit and vegetable marketers should seize the opportunity to partner with companies who prepare and sell the core food groups most often associated with fruit and vegetables such as beef and poultry protein entrees, salads, and Italian dishes. Yogurt, pizza, poultry sandwiches and Mexican food are also among the fastest growing food items and complement fruit and vegetables nicely. The health benefits of consuming a variety of fruit and vegetables, varied tastes and textures, and ease of preparation should continue to be emphasized with older consumers as they continue to focus on their overall health and well-being, and their desire to simplify meals. A final recommendation is to focus on the affordable cost of fruit and vegetables. Since most fruit and vegetables are consumed in the home, it is important to inform consumers that the price of a home prepared meal is one-third the cost of the average meal way from home. Encourage price sensitive consumers to eat more meals at home by showcasing how the purchase of ready-made meals, and other convenience items from the supermarket, are less expensive than eating out.


“The good news is that we are seeing progress and positive forward-looking trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among consumers under age 40, which includes PBH's target audience of parents with young children. The efforts of many are paying off,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, President and CEO of PBH. “The bad news is that consumer groups traditionally most interested in health and who eat the most fruit and vegetables, including those ages 50 and above, are trending downward in their consumption over time.”


The full 2015 State of the Report can be found on the website in the Research section.


New Officers & Executive Committee Members Approved by Trustees


During the meeting of the PBH Board of Trustees, the members approved the following as PBH Board of Trustees 2015-2016 officers:

  • Immediate Past Chair:  Terry Murphy, Wakefern Food Corporation
  • Chairman of the Board:  Howard Nager, Domex Superfresh Growers
  • Vice Chairman of the Board:  Scott Owens, Paramount Citrus
  • Secretary/Treasurer:  Dennis Christou, Del Monte Fresh Produce


 The board also approved the other members of the 2015-2016 Executive Committee:

  • Marketing/Communications Committee Chair: Rich Paumen, Sun-Maid Growers of California
  • Donor Committee Chair: Brett Libke, The Oppenheimer Group
  • At-large Member: Shirley Axe, Ahold USA
  • At-large Member: Sarah Moberg, General Mills, representing Green Giant Frozen & Canned
  • At-large Member: Xander Shapiro, Del Monte Foods
  • At-large Member: Andrew Burchett, Monsanto Vegetable Seeds
  • At-large Member: Rich Dachman, Sysco/FreshPoint
  • At-large Member: Joan Wickham, Sunkist
  • At-large Member: Trish Zecca, Campbell Soup Company


2016 Annual Conference Dates & Location


PBH's Annual Conference, The Consumer Connection, will be held April 4-6 at The Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Registration opens Monday, August 3, 2015.

National Nutrition Month® Contest Winner


In support and celebration of the “Bite into A Healthy Lifestyle” theme for National Nutrition Month® in March, PBH hosted a “Healthy Fruit & Veggie Bites” Instagram contest, March 9-22.


The contest highlighted PBH's featured fruit and vegetable for March, honeydew and asparagus. Twelve original healthy recipes featuring the fruit or vegetable were uploaded to our Instagram channel, March 9-15 and voting occurred March 16-22 with each recipe ‘like' counting as one vote. Fifty votes were received and Laura Floss's Honeydew and Yogurt Fruit Salad was the winning recipe. Laura will receive a Nutribullet® to help her make healthy and great tasting smoothies, sauces and soups.

April Social Media Posts


Spring has sprung!  Our social media posts will help you to focus on all of the fruits and veggies that remind of us this warm and sunny time of year!


Thank You! New and Returning Donors


PBH is pleased to recognize the following companies who have contributed their support of the Foundation from February 26, 2015 through March 25, 2015. 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 the PBH Development Department.


New Board of Trustee Companies:

Braga Fresh Family Farms


New Donors:

Rijk Zwaan


Returning Trustees ($10,000+ Annual Contribution):
California Avocado Commission
Pacific Coast Producers
Silgan Containers
Sun-Maid Growers of California
The Walt Disney Company


Donors Who Increased Their Annual Contribution:
B & C Fresh Sales, Inc.
The United States Sweet Potato Council, Inc.


Returning Donors:
Affiliated Foods, Inc., Texas
California Asparagus Commission
California Fresh Fruit Association
Crown Poly, Inc.
Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
Grupo Vegetables el Rey L.L.C.
Heartland Produce
Homeland Stores
Hy-Vee, Inc.
John B. Martin & Sons Farms, Inc.
John F. Stambaugh & Company, Inc.
Market Fresh Produce, L.L.C.
Mars Super Markets, Inc.
Matthews Ridgeview Farms
Meijer, Inc.
Mushroom Council
NewStar Fresh Foods | organicgirl
Package Containers, Inc.
Potandon Produce, L.L.C.
Raley's Supermarkets
Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc.
Sbrocco International, Inc.
Sinclair Systems International, L.L.C.
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The United Family
Village Farms
Wholesale Produce Supply Company, Inc.




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