(May 7) In response to new nutrition guidelines, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association is unveiling My Fruits and Veggies, a campaign to boost consumption of fresh produce.

CPMA’s 5 to 10 a Day program plans to launch the campaign May 7, said Ron Lemaire, CPMA’s executive vice president and director of marketing.

My Fruits and Veggies is focused on educating consumers about their specific needs and is designed to tie in with the Canadian government’s redesigned nutrition guideline, My Food Guide, which was released in February, Lemaire said. The program has guidelines based on age and gender to steer consumers to the appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables to eat in a day.

The My Fruits and Veggies program does not replace 5 to 10 a Day, Lemaire said; rather, it is an enhancement of the brand.

“The 5 to 10 a Day brand itself has a 47% (consumer) awareness,” he said. “As the core brand, we didn’t want to lose that integrity. Even though the new program is targeted, the range is still five to 10 servings a day.”

FRESH FOR FLAVOUR

The newest generation of the 5 to 10 a Day program continues the evolution of the Fresh for Flavour Foundation. In 1972, the program wasn’t entirely focused on health and nutrition; rather, it was purely about selling more produce, said Danny Dempster, president of the Ottawa-based CPMA.

When the Fresh for Flavour Foundation began in 1972, its goal was to get Canadians to buy and consume more produce.

Back then, the average Canadian ate about 350 pounds of produce annually, Dempster said. The foundation set a goal of getting each Canadian to eat 500 pounds of fruits and vegetables.

At the time, Dempster said, the foundation was unprecedented.

“The whole purpose was to bring together the grower community and the buying community to find innovative ways to try and increase consumption,” Dempster said. “There wasn’t anybody within the government doing any kind of promotional programs.”

Fresh for Flavour Foundation board members represented a buyers group, the predecessor to the CPMA, and the Canadian Horticultural Council.

“In the very beginning, the type of promotions it ran were very much directed at the various times of the year when product was available,” he said.

Monthly promotions, for items such as Canadian potatoes, apples, harvest vegetables, cabbage, were common, Dempster said.

Provincial governments started to do their own promotions. Members of the foundation started losing interest in the nationwide scope of the promotions, Dempster said, and in 1985, the foundation shifted its focus to health and nutrition.

By 1988, the CPMA declared the foundation’s mission a success. Canadians were eating more than 500 pounds of produce per capita, Dempster said.

“For that to happen between 1972 and 1988 was fairly significant,” he said.

Consumption numbers started to level off, so the CPMA and the Canadian Horticultural Council renewed its efforts.

“Basically, we took an even stronger marketing focus,” Dempster said. “We decided we had to get people action-oriented. It was one thing to educate them and another to get them to go out and do it.”

The 5 to 10 a day messaging was born through a Fresh for Flavour Foundation campaign called Reach for It in 1993, and in 1994, the CPMA and the Fresh for Flavour Foundation amalgamated.

The CPMA and Fresh for Flavour were an obvious pair, Dempster said.

“If you look at everything we do, it is all related to increasing consumption,” he said.

In the late 1990s, the Fresh for Flavour Foundation was replaced by 5 to 10 a Day. Dempster said the foundation’s message endures through the CPMA’s many health and nutrition programs.