A new color-guided, goal-oriented fruit and vegetable marketing initiative, introduced by John Sauve and David Swardlick of the Portland, Maine-based Food and Wellness Group, is called The Colors of Health.

The private-sector program is designed to actively engage people in buying and eating 5 cups per day of a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables in all forms, according to a news release from the company.

Sauve and Swardlick previously created the five-color fruit and vegetable guidance system called The Color Way, introduced as a national campaign by the Produce for Better Health Foundation in 2003.

Sauve said April 1 that the concept for The Colors of Health has been in development for several years. The Food and Wellness Group will now begin to build awareness of the Colors of Health program and begin to stimulate interest by supermarkets and other produce marketers in the weeks and months ahead, he said. The program could have both generic and custom element, depending on the brand image of retailers, Sauve said.

“We spent a great deal of time trying to identify the right approaches, the right strategy that ultimately will be understood and effective,” he said. Color is viewed as the key tool of engagement for the campaign, he said. Attendees at the Food and Nutrition Conference in Houston in 2013 had a chance to give Sauve and Swardlick input about the campaign, he said. Concepts like color, the number five, and focusing on the health aspects of fruits and vegetables are “common sense” to dietitians, he said.

“While the awareness level of More Matters might be climbing in the 20% to 30% range, the awareness level of the number five remains extremely high,” he said. Before changing their campaign to “More Matters” in 2006, “5 a day for better health” was the Produce for Better Health Foundation tag line since the national program began in 1991.

“What we have done is re-imagine it and give it a new definition,” Sauve said. He said the Colors of Health can work in concert with the Produce for Better Health efforts and the newly announced Sesame Street-themed promotion offered through the Produce Marketing Association.

“It is a foundational marketing approach that hasn’t existed in the past,” Sauve said.

Americans’ average consumption of fruits and vegetables has been flat at around 1.8 cups a day for about 20 years, according to a news release about the campaign. That consumption level is only about one-third of federal dietary recommendations.

The campaign calls on the industry to refocus on cups as a dietary measurement, since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans began phasing out the term “servings” for fruits and vegetables in 2005, Sauve said.

“The Colors of Health and its Daily Tools of Engagement will change the way people think about fruits and veggies, with color guiding the pathway to 5 cups a day,” Sauve said.


The Colors of Health has five key elements:


  • Leverage the perceived health benefits — with “to stay healthy” the top reason people eat fruits and vegetables;
  • Communicate and focus on the 5 Cups a Day goal;
  • Think Color — innovatively integrate the now well-publicized, science-based, five-color system created by The Colors of Health founders;
  • Help position and promote America’s supermarkets and dietitians as “the architects of healthy choices.”; and
  • Use the Daily Tools of Engagement to insure that colorful fruits and vegetables are top-of-mind, each and every day, with shoppers and consumers.


Swardlick said color will be used to help consumers increase variety and volume of fruits and vegetables consumed. The Colors of Health Daily Tools of Engagement use the five-color system to guide the “colorful pathway to purchase” and help make it easier — and more fun — to plan, buy, eat, and then track colors and cups every day, according to the release.

Sauve said the health benefits of fruits and vegetables is an important attribute to raise consumption. “People who say that health doesn’t drive consumption, we totally disagree with that,”he said. “We have just done such a poor job over the years as marketers that we’re to blame,” he said. The Colors of Health is a good solution to that, he said.