Working together for fruit and vegetable promotion

Development of the Fruits & Veggies – More Matters™ brand: the next stage of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption

Why a new brand?

Recommendations for intake of fruits and vegetables in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have increased for most individuals such that most moderately active adults require up to 13 servings per day – more than the former recommendation of 5 servings per day(1). However, U.S. consumption data indicates that in 2001-02, average servings per day were 4.5 for females and 5.2 for males(2). In light of new recommendations, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and its government and industry partners sought to develop a more relevant “rallying cry” that would promote consumption of fruits and vegetables. The objective was to re-brand 5 A Day to be sustainable, adaptable, and compelling, while leveraging existing programequity.

Insights from consumer research

PBH initiated a comprehensive formative research process that included 75 consumers (parents and children) in ethnographies and qualitative focus groups. The research showed that, as the role model, meal planner, shopper and cook, mom is the family’s primary influencer of healthy eating and sees taking care of her family as her primary responsibility. However, hectic lifestyles, availability of “junk” food, and complex and competing messages from a variety of sources make her role increasingly challenging. Although attitudes towards and usage of fruits and vegetables vary greatly, it is commonly agreed that they are healthy and nutritious, and the foundation for a healthy life.

Fruits generally have a more positive image than vegetables. They are viewed as easier to prepare, preferred by kids, and are consumed more as snacks. Vegetables, on the other hand are seen as less tasty, in need of “doctoring” or modifying, and as less appealing to kids. Consumers feel that their knowledge of how to cook vegetables is missing, thus vegetables are viewed as harder to prepare.

Overall, consumers believe they are getting enough fruits and vegetables over time and know that they could eat more but need to be convinced why; the most compelling motivation to consume more is “it all adds up”. The most effective messages are those that appeal to mom’s emotional need to be responsible, while leveraging functional/intrinsic values of fruits and vegetables – healthfulness, variety, great taste, and natural, for example. Messages are best received when the tone is positive and supportive with a focus on small steps, without trying to quantify “enough”. Use of numbers (5-9-13 servings) was shocking, thus not motivating, and even alienating to some. This consumer research informed the new brand positioning: Fruits & Veggies – More Matters™.

Fruits & Veggies – More Matters™ – strong, simple, forceful and positive

The success of the 5 to 9 A Day Program lies in the substantial increases it created in awareness of intake recommendations. Fruits & Veggies – More Matters™, on the other hand, is motivational, providing actionable steps to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, and inspiring moms to do so because every step they take towards consuming more matters for themselves and their families. Emotionally-based messages that focus on moms’ feelings of responsibility for taking care of her family are likely to influence moms to include more fruits and vegetables in her family’s meals and snacks. Moms also recognize the importance of fruits and veggies in the diet, believe they are a good source of sustainable energy, value cultural associations, and are surprised by the large variety that are available, including that all forms count. They are on the verge of “taking action” and say that they need tips, ideas and suggestions about how to fit them into their busy lives. The new website, does just that.

While mom is the “sweet spot”, there was no difference in message appeal when tested with other segments of the population. In fact, 2/3 said the message increased their interest in eating more fruits and veggies either extremely or very well.

The new Fruits & Veggies – More Matters™ brand is a guilt-free “rallying cry”, and provides a universal, focused message – everyone benefits from eating more.

  1. DHHS and USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005
  2. USDA, What We Eat In America, NHANES 2001-2002, September, 2005
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