(Sept. 9) Almost a third of Canadian consumers know what “5 to 10 a Day” means, and the percentage is growing, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign. Consumers in the U.S. are better informed about their country’s 5 a Day logo, but growth of the percentage has leveled off.

For the second year in a row, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Ottawa, conducted a poll to gauge the brand power of its 5 to 10 a Day program, which educates consumers on the health benefits of eating five to 10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

The survey found that 30% of Canadians know what 5 to 10 a Day means, an increase of 4% from the previous year. That’s cause for celebration, said Ron Lemaire, CPMA’s executive vice president and director of marketing.

“We weren’t surprised, but we were very pleased,” Lemaire said. “It affirmed the success of our aggressive marketing program.”

Lemaire said the results show that CPMA’s recent aggressive marketing has paid off. Of consumers who had seen or heard about 5 to 10 a Day, about 64% saw television commercials, about 24% heard radio commercials, and 22% read CPMA releases run as newspaper articles. About 39% learned of the program from health professionals.

ALMOST THERE

The survey also found that 72% of Canadians said they would eat more fruits and vegetables if they knew they would reduce their risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. Of that number, 47% report already eating three or four servings of fresh produce a day.

“That’s a dynamic number to work with,” Lemaire said. “That’s a huge group that we will target aggressively. They’re almost there already.”

In the first half of 2000, the equivalent of $5 million worth of CPMA public service announcements ran on television and radio. A year later that climbed to $13 million over the same period, Lemaire said. Airtime is donated to CPMA for the ads.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del., which coordinates the 5 a Day program, is waiting on results of research on U.S. consumers’ consumption of fresh produce before creating its own survey, which may be in September, said Elizabeth Pivonka, the foundation’s president.

“About 39% of Americans are aware of the need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day,” Pivonka said. “It’s been at that level for a couple of years. That number has hit as high as 50% for women.”

EFFORTS ABROAD

Canada isn’t the only country in which consumption-oriented programs are becoming more familiar to consumers. Frances Taccone Griffin, PBH’s director of development, said consumers in Europe as well as in countries like South Africa, are becoming more aware of the importance of healthy eating — especially as an antidote to the continued spread of American fast-food/junk-food culture.

“We’re seeing an incredible amount of interest and support for an international nutrition movement,” Taccone said.

Taccone said an international symposium on nutrition in January in Berlin is generating more buzz than it has in previous years. Taccone Griffin said most Western European countries, Japan and South Africa have good consumption programs in place, with Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Italy and other countries developing programs now.

While no study comparable to those done in Canada and the U.S. has been done in other parts of the world, Taccone Griffin said it would be helpful to have them, to confirm what anecdotal evidence suggests — that 5 a Day’s worldwide profile is growing.

“There is the will to do that kind of study,” Taccone said. “We know it needs to be done.”