Fourth of five parts

(July 19) When consumers see orange juice, they think of a healthful drink. But they shouldn’t stop there.

Oranges, grapefruit, peaches and all fresh produce with orange and yellow hues contain nutrients that are important for a healthful diet.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 5 a Day the Color Way campaign identified the yellow/orange color group for its ability to help maintain a healthy heart, immune system and vision health and lower the risk of some cancers. So take time to promote the color group for these benefits.

COMMODITY GROUPS GET INVOLVED

Good vision health is one of the many advantages of consuming fruits and vegetables in the yellow/orange category. Maybe that’s why commodity boards that promote produce in this group have no trouble seeing the benefits of supporting the Color Way program.

When TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc., Mission, promotes Texas-grown oranges and cantaloupes, the program promotes 5 a Day the Color Way right along with them. In fact, TexaSweet promotes the 5 a Day program on all of its consumer materials, says Lucy Garcia, public relations director.

The organization heightens the visibility of 5 a Day by giving out color wheel magnets that consumers can stick on their refrigerators to track the colors they eat each day. It also gives away Color Way key chains at various consumer events.

At the retail level, TexaSweet representatives work with produce directors to encourage them to use point-of-purchase materials that remind consumers to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. The program also makes Color Way information available to retailers who prefer to make their own materials inhouse.

TexaSweet recipe brochures already sport the 5 a Day logo, Garcia says, but when current supplies are exhausted and the brochures are revised, they will feature the Color Way logo.

“In every piece we do, we always include the logo or the color wheel,” Garcia says.

The wide variety of peaches, plums and nectarines promoted by the California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley, spans several categories in the Color Way program. You’ll find yellow-flesh peaches and nectarines and even some varieties of plums in the yellow/orange category, says consultant Marilyn Dolan.

“Tips for Colorful and Healthful Summer Eating,” a consumer brochure developed by the tree fruit agreement, tells how tree fruit like yellow-flesh peaches, nectarines and plums fits into the Color Way plan. The brochure, which may be viewed on the organization’s Web site, www.eatcaliforniafruit.com, encourages consumers to eat produce from several color categories.

Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, La Grange, is hopeful that, despite a tight budget, the association may be able to play up the 5 a Day the Color Way program this fall at the Georgia State Fair in Perry.

The association has a booth at the fair every October, and this year, Hall says, there have been discussions with fair officials about promoting the Color Way program during some of the fair’s daily food demonstrations, perhaps by featuring a different color each day.

The association always has 5 a Day brochures available at its booth and provides links to the Color Way program under the Healthy Benefits, Educational Links and Recipes categories on its Web site, www.gfvga.org.

The association routinely gives out 5 a Day materials, like the Color Way fan, when consumers ask questions about the 30 or more commodities it promotes, including squash, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and pumpkins in the yellow/orange category.

SUPPLIERS PITCH IN

One of the most visible supporters of the yellow/orange group is Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, Calif. The company ties orange and the health benefits associated with the color to almost every promotion it sponsors.

Robert Verloop, director of sales promotion for Sunkist, says the company supports the Color Way message because its products are inherently healthy and nutritious.

“Over the last three years, we have done extensive work on our brand and one of the things that’s a core component is that people see Sunkist has a health mark. We have been building our promotions around a health theme for that reason,” he says.

Sunkist’s Little League promotion that was launched this spring is a nutrition campaign positioned around baseball. The promotion boasts that orange is “the perfect color for every team” for the health benefits it provides. Each bag of Sunkist oranges contains a baseball card of a Major League player as a Little Leaguer. The back of each card promotes the Color Way program, he says.

MountainKing Potatoes, Houston, is using the health benefits of yellow/orange produce to boost consumption of its yellow-flesh potatoes. The company’s Web site, www.mtnking.com, says that the more intense yellow color of the flesh, the higher the vitamin A levels. The peel stores good amounts of potassium, and the buttery flavor helps consumers get the taste they want while avoiding butter or margarine.

RETAIL PARTICIPATION

This summer, build a sunny summer sale with yellow and orange items. But it doesn’t even have to be in the summer. How about a summer sale in winter promoting Chilean peaches and nectarines? You also could add oranges and grapefruit to the yellow sale and incorporate a smiling sun wearing sunglasses.

Cast an orange glow to your Halloween ad and promote the logical orange items like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots that are seasonal around the holiday. Place the orange sale items in an orange strip in your ad with a black cat or ghost graphic next to it. Carry out the same theme on orange department signs with black letters describing the value of orange produce in the diet.

Give character to a nutrition message by creating yellow/orange and red carotenoid characters, or develop a contest to allow children to create the characters. Focus on carrots, citrus, bell peppers and tomatoes. However you promote the event, be sure to inform consumers of the value of carotenoids, which are phytochemicals that convert to vitamin A in the body. There are many types of carotenoids, including beta carotene, lyco-pene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Develop an art contest for children to create characters or a writing contest for children to write an action story around carotenoid characters in which they must incorporate certain facts about the phytochemicals.

You’ll relate to your Asian shoppers if you do an orange promotion for Chinese New Year, which is Feb. 9 and launches the year of the rooster. The two fruits that mean the most to the Chinese are oranges, which symbolize gold and thus wealth, and peaches, which symbolize longevity. In fact, the Buddhist god of longevity holds a peach. It’s a great time to highlight orange in your ad, and make sure you have plenty of navel oranges. They love to give them as gifts for the holiday.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc., a chain of 65 stores, emphasizes its Strive for 5 campaign with a rainbow message on its Web site, www.wegmans.com. Consumers who click on produce are encouraged to “Eat a Rainbow.” When curiosity drives them to click on that, they find an “Eat a Rainbow every day” chart with the days of the week down the left side and the colors across the top. The chart tells consumers to “fill in your fruit and veggie count by color every day. Aim to eat something of each color every day.”

The next page lists the fruits and vegetables under each color and gives tips for including a variety of colorful produce in meals, snacks and desserts.

WHO STANDS TO GAIN

The young and old can benefit from eating yellow and orange produce. Fruits and vegetables that are deep orange and bright yellow contain phytochemicals that help fight disease and promote good health.

One phytochemical found in vegetables like carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes is beta carotene. Inform consumers that beta carotene is an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and heart disease while contributing to vision health, strengthening the immune system and slowing the aging process.

Your shoppers may be surprised that cantaloupe contains the highest amount of beta carotene among fruits. The melon also contains 100% of the RDI of vitamin A and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

The elderly will benefit from eating carrots since the vegetable offers a high amount of carotenoids. Also, carrots provide 270% of the RDI of vitamin A, contributing to healthy vision.

Advise active consumers to eat yellow corn. The vegetable is a good source of vitamin A and is a low-fat option to obtain complex carbohydrates for increased energy.

Oranges, which are high in vitamin C, are a great food to promote to consumers who want to avoid catching a cold or the flu.

And for consumers who can’t handle the acidity of oranges, advise them to eat a papaya instead. The fruit offers 150% of the RDI for vitamin C. Papayas are a nutrient-dense choice that also is a good source of vitamin A, and they offer 800 milligrams of potassium per medium-sized fruit, something athletes need to prevent muscle cramping.