Monday, January 31, 2011 by Kathy Means
Consumers should make half their plates fruits and vegetables, according to today’s release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
With a strong emphasis on reducing caloric intake, fruits and vegetables are at the heart of these guidelines. We are especially pleased that the new guidelines call for consumers to make half their plate fruits and vegetables. This is an amazingly powerful image that gives consumers a concrete idea about what they should do.
We, along with many of you, have tirelessly advocated that increased produce consumption is a substantial solution to the obesity epidemic and other public health issues. Even with the dietary guidelines, there are still more communications, social science and policy improvements we can affect to make a significant impact on produce consumption.
In addition to our own government relations and public affairs efforts on the dietary guidelines and other government nutrition and feeding programs, we support a wide variety of other efforts outlined in a letter we are sending to members today.
Messages like “make half your plate fruits and vegetables” are easy to visualize and are simple and actionable for consumers. The agencies have said that in the next few months we’ll see new visual materials to capture the guidance. We don’t know whether that will be a pyramid or some other graphic, but we do know that it will highlight fruit and vegetable consumption.
Certainly our industry can use these guidelines to great advantage. Fruits and vegetables are nutrition powerhouses that also support other guidance such as reducing salt and fat intake. We also recognize that progress toward increased produce consumption will require a broad-based approach that goes beyond communications.
This guidance, combined with other PMA and member activities, puts us on the brink of significant growth in produce consumption and sales. Let us know what you think.