Success of the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters Initiative

Launched in 2007, the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters health initiative replaced the long-standing 5 A Day campaign. With a particular focus on moms, Fruits & Veggies — More Matters is disseminated through consumer influencers, including industry, educators and health professionals. PBH also provides insight to the industry about fruits and vegetables through various surveys.

To date, the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters effort has resulted in:

• 167 million media impressions (no multipliers)

• 5.78 billion retail impressions

• 68,000 average monthly Web site visitors

• 1,900 qualified products carrying the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo

• 45 percent of mothers who say they are more likely to purchase a product with the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo on it

• 66 percent of mothers who say they intend to serve their family more fruits and veggies

Ultimately, success is measured by changes in attitudes about, and consumption of, fruits and vegetables. To monitor change, PBH has new data obtained from two fruit and vegetable related surveys. PBH’s annual Moms survey is fielded by OnResearch annually, while PBH’s State of the Plate research is conducted by NPD Foodworld Group Research once every five years. Survey results are outlined below.

Fruit And Vegetable Consumption On The Rise In Younger Children

Children under the age of 12 appear to be eating more fruits and vegetables over the past 5 years. In fact, children less than 6 years old increased their fruit consumption by 11 percent, and those children ages 6-12 increased their consumption by 7 percent. The vegetable trend was a bit less positive, with those under age 6 consuming 3 percent more and those 6-12 consuming 2 percent more vegetables. So basically, children of mothers who are targeted by the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters campaign efforts are eating more fruits and vegetables than they were 5 years ago. Conversely, in populations where More Matters has NOT been focused, such as in the elderly, consumption has decreased. Of course, this does not imply cause and effect, but it is an interesting correlation, especially since consumers typically eat more fruits and vegetables as they age.

Moms Are Finding It Easier To Feed Their Family Fruits And Vegetables When Eating Out, Yet Only 11 Percent Of All Fruits And Vegetables Are Consumed At Restaurants

Moms’ three largest reported barriers to getting their families to eat more fruits and vegetables include members of their families having different fruit and vegetable likes and dislikes, needing new ideas about ways to prepare fruits and vegetables and not having a good range of fruits and vegetables available in restaurants.

Moms reported ease in getting their families to eat fruits and vegetables when eating out has grown. In 2010, mothers reported it easy to eat fruit (25 percent) and vegetables (17 percent) at a fast-food establishment, up from 19 percent in 2008 for fruit and 8 percent for vegetables. Thirty-seven percent of moms reported it easy to get their families to eat fruit at restaurants generally, vs. 29 percent in 2008. Moms reported ease in getting vegetables at restaurants declined, however, from 45 percent to 43 percent between 2008 and 2010.

Despite the significant increases in moms reporting ease of getting families to eat more fruit in restaurants, only 8.8 percent of all menu items include fruit, and only 3 percent of overall fruit consumption comes from restaurants. Regarding vegetables, 44.8 percent of all menu items include at least one vegetable, and 15 percent of all vegetable consumption is consumed in restaurants. Together, only 11 percent of fruits and vegetables are consumed at restaurants.

Here again, I’m pleased to see positive movement, especially in quick service restaurants. I believe that the addition of sliced apples and new salad options at McDonald’s, for example, is one of the reasons moms can report that fruits and vegetables are easier to find on menus. Obviously, with only 11 percent of all fruits and vegetables consumed at restaurants, there is a huge opportunity for growth in this venue.

Simply telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables is not enough to change behavior. Consumers have to want to eat fruits and vegetables. In our case, we want to motivate mothers to serve more to their families. Providing information about how to use fruits and vegetables and why it’s important to eat them is critical. Equally important, however, is changing what is available where people eat — on restaurant menus, at school, and in worksites. It is a culmination of all of these efforts — and many others — that ultimately will be needed to increase America’s fruit and vegetable consumption.