Several strategies are important for increasing fruit and vegetable (F&V)

consumption among adults, ranging from access to marketing in stores, worksites, restaurants, the internet, and more. This newsletter highlights a few approaches. Some strategies require new local policies. The successful implementation of local policies that offer greater access to F&V, however, requires consumer support before legislators will move forward such policies. The degree of support for local or state policy changes to help increase F&V consumption had not previously been assessed. To provide insight into the level of consumer support for four different state or local policy changes, Grimm et al. analyzed data from the 2008 HealthStyles survey of United States adults in which participants were asked how likely they would be willing to support those changes. The four policies included creating local farmer’s markets, access to F&V through small food stores, community gardens, or requiring city/county governments to purchase locally grown F&V in cafeterias/meetings. They found almost half of respondents supporting each of these policy changes that would help increase access to F&V.

Another policy change strategy that provided federal funding to state departments of agriculture for state-level efforts to support F&V marketing and consumption has also been evaluated. As reported here by Howlett et al., in states with a F&V marketing campaign between 2000-2005, F&V consumption remained stable or increased. Conversely, in states where a F&V marketing campaign was absent, there was a significant decrease in F&V consumption during this time.

Finally, another marketing strategy that promotes F&V in supermarkets, on packaging, and through media has been in place in the U.S. since 1991. It was promoted first as the 5 A Day for Better Health message, which transitioned to the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters message in 2007 after the US Dietary Guidelines increased the recommended F&V to as many as 13 servings per day. Rather than providing information about how many F&V to eat, which many consumers felt was overwhelming and thus unattainable, the new Fruits & Veggies—More Matters campaign seeks to provide an emotional driver that encourages Moms (the primary target audience), to feed her family F&V’s. Erinosho et al. reported that in 2007, only 2% of 3,000 consumers (men and women) could rightly name the current campaign, while 29% of consumers still thought the campaign was 5 A Day. The 5 A Day campaign had been in effect nationally for 16 years, and Fruits & Veggies— More Matters had been in effect for 5 months at the time of Erinosho et al’s analysis. This author is happy to report that as of January 2013, six years into the campaign, awareness of Fruits &Veggies—More Matters is at 26% among mothers, up from 11% in 2007.

In summary, a variety of simultaneous approaches will be needed to increase F&V consumption among adults.

See next article