Americans Need to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

After Nearly 25 Years, It’s time to Advocate for Consumption

News Release From SafeFruitsAndVeggies.com

There is so much good stuff to say about organic and conventional produce, from studies which clearly show the safety of both to decades of research that illustrate the disease-prevention aspects of these nutrient-dense foods.  Plus, farms and farming companies continue to develop innovative, convenient fruits and vegetables, which are helping to increase consumption.

But while we are making some headway, only one in 10 Americans eat enough produce according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Why?  Because barriers to consumption still exist. One of those barriers is safety fears generated by certain groups who inaccurately disparage the more affordable and accessible forms of produce.

Among the longest and biggest offenders comes from an activist group that annually releases its so-called “dirty dozen” list.  Since 1995, this group’s fear-based ‘marketing against’ tactic disparaging the most popular produce items has been used in an attempt to promote purchasing of organic products.

Look, we completely understand advocating for your members when the information is credible and the science is strong.  The AFF advocates on behalf of organic and conventional farmers of fruits and vegetables and the safety of their products every day.  But when you raise unfounded fears based upon unsupportable science about the only food group health experts universally agree we should eat more of, it is time to revisit your approach.  Especially when peer reviewed research is showing this tactic may result in low income consumers stating they are less likely to purchase any produce—organic or conventional—after learning about the “dirty dozen” list.

Put another way, according to these research findings, this activist group may actually be marketing against their own constituents’ organic products by releasing this list.

To summarize, the “dirty dozen” list is scientifically unsupportable, it may negatively impact consumers’ purchasing decisions, and it’s possibly even detrimental to the very products the list authors are trying to promote.   After almost 25 years, it is time to retire this tactic in favor of more creative “marketing for” strategies that encourage consumption and doesn’t scare consumers.

Big Goal for United Fresh: Promoting Produce to Consumers

Voice Search Idea Studied at United Fresh BrandStorm Event

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate editor

Mary Coppola, Vice President of Marketing Communications at United Fresh Produce Assocation, is not just focused on selling brands of produce but improving marketing within the industry as a whole.

Mary Coppola, United Fresh

When it comes to promoting a brand, Coppola knows that people are more drawn to those they have background information on.

“We’ve certainly seen that when there is a brand association and there is a strong story shared with the consumer—that there are a trust, loyalty, and a desire to seek out that brand—in return, [that] means that the consumer is buying more of that product,” she explained.

Producers looking to create this kind of a connection should note that less is more, and consistently sending the same message is the best way to get consumers on board.

The marketing industry is also trying to capitalize on the consumer’s connection with technology. Coppola described new research into voice-activated search engines, called voice optimization.

“Consumers are, more and more, using a voice search to ask about products, what’s in season, and where they can buy such product,” she said. “There’s an opportunity for producers to start talking about their products, and their brands to be able to be the ones to answer those questions.”

Every year, United Fresh holds an event called BrandStorm that brings together produce marketers to update them on the latest trends and set the stage for the rest of their marketing activities throughout the year. They also hold a convention expo for professionals in the retail industry in order to educate them and give them the tools they need to help producers sell their products.

With an abundance of new technology and marketing research, the ultimate goal still remains the same.

“As an industry, I think we would all share the same sentiment: that we want consumers to eat more produce,” Coppola said.

Small Farms Must Include Marketing

Marketing Makes it or Breaks it

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Mark Gaskell is with the University of California cooperative extension as a small farm and Specialty Crop Advisor for San Luis Obispo County. Gaskell recently told California Ag Today about his work with growers and small farms in the county since 1995.

“Part of my job has to do with applied research and educational programs, and this case related to keeping small farms viable and successful,” Gaskell said. “These activities include troubleshooting problems, helping growers develop new crops and develop new market opportunities that make them more competitive.”

The big question is, what to plant and how to profit from the crops?

“I often tell growers, plan on spending half or more of your time on marketing because marketing is probably more important than growing,” he said. “Marketing is what will draw crowds. It is best to have a marketing plan for your crop before putting your seeds in the ground.”

“Some opportunities are direct sales via farmers markets or farm stand, but more often than not, those market outlets are full and there is a long waiting list,” Gaskell explained.

Growers have to then look at selling through specialized wholesalers and in some of the metropolitan areas, Gaskell said.

World Ag Expo Offers $3,000 Grand Prize for Video Contest

By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager/Reporter

World Ag Expo is calling for video submissions to tell the story of agriculture for a chance to win $3,000. The contest will focus on the theme, “Where Would We Be Without Farmers?”

Entrants are asked to tell the story of agriculture and the people who work to provide the products we enjoy. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges. The top videos will be posted at www.WorldAgExpo.org and the public will vote for their favorites beginning in December 2014.

“Farmers play an integral role in every part of our lives,” said Jerry Sinift, chief executive officer of the International Agri-Center. “We’re asking for talented individuals to portray the connection between farmers and the world they feed and clothe.”

The winner will be announced on January 30, 2015 and awarded the $3,000 cash prize. The top video will be posted on World Ag Expo’s website; will play during the show, February 10-12, 2015 in Tulare, California and the winner will be recognized at World Ag Expo.

To enter, upload your video to your own YouTube or Vimeo account and complete the online entry form on the World Ag Expo website. Videos must be at least 30 seconds long and may not exceed six minutes. Anyone of any age is eligible to enter. All videos must be submitted by December 1, 2014. Visit www.worldagexpo.org/video-contest for full rules and online entry form.