(July 13) DETROIT — A major Motor City produce wholesaler and fresh-cut processor is using a fitness expert to help spread the word about eating more healthful produce.

Aunt Mid’s Produce Co. will use Peter Nielsen, a health, fitness and diet advocate, to help market its produce.

“He’s pretty popular with people,” said Phil Riggio, Aunt Mid’s chief executive officer. “

Nielsen, Riggio said, is well-known in Michigan and Ohio. The former Mr. America hosts a health, fitness and lifestyle program that airs on WDIV-TV, channel 4, an NBC affiliate, and WWJ Newsradio 950 AM. People send e-mail questions to Nielsen asking him health and fitness questions, Riggio said.

Starting Aug. 1, Nielsen will feature Aunt Mid’s products and use them in discussing the nutrients in produce such as celery and carrots, Riggio said. Aunt Mid’s plans to use his picture and recipes and health tips on its packaging.

Both Nielsen and Aunt Mid’s want to focus on educating people about the problems of obesity, which could soon overtake smoking as the nation’s leading cause of death.

Founded in 1948, Aunt Mid’s is a third-generation, family-owned produce wholesaler, repacker and fresh-cut processor that has $50 million in yearly produce sales, Riggio said.