(UPDATED COVERAGE, 2 p.m.)  The Produce for Better Health Foundation is recognizing produce suppliers and retailers for their support of the industry’s Fruits & Veggies – More Matters campaign.

The Hockessin, Del.-based PBH plans to formally honor 19 suppliers, 14 retailers and 24 public health organizations at the organization’s annual meeting awards luncheon scheduled for April 1 in Monterey, Calif.

The PBH awarded 15 suppliers role model status for doing more than most others in supporting the organization’s mission to increase produce consumption. PBH honored four suppliers as champion status for consistently demonstrating support of the More Matters theme by featuring the More Matters logo in advertising and public relations campaigns, on product packaging and promotional materials as well as linking to PBH’s More Matters website, http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

Because it had so many winning companies this year, PBH had to separate the winners into categories, said Elizabeth Pivonka, PBH president.

“It’s the biggest number we have ever had,” she said. “Each of them has done something slightly different. We wanted to recognize those we thought were doing a very good job at helping us promote fruits and vegetables and increasing consumption.”

Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers was one of the 15 supplier role model winners.

“It’s a total combined effort to really help draw as much attention to PBH as possible,” said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager. “We really want to make sure we support that because the campaign not only affects the consumption of our fruits and vegetables which affects our company’s bottom line, if you will, but it also affects our nation’s health, which is a very critical issue for all of us going forward. It helps us all in the long run.”

Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo, Fla.-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., was another winner.

"We are extremely honored to be receiving one of the industry role model awards," said Dan Duda, Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ president and chief operating officer.  "As a family-owned company, we understand the importance of educating families on how to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into their everyday lives. We fully support and believe in these programs which encourage the increased use and consumption of  fresh produce to promote healthier eating and lifestyles. Educating consumers on the healthful attributes of fresh produce will ultimately lead to increased consumption which is vital for our industry."

The other role model winners are C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash., Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., Gills Onions LLC, Oxnard, Calif., Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Seneca Foods Corp., Marion, N.Y., Stemilt Growers LLC, Wenatchee, Wash., Sun-Maid Growers of California, Kingsburg, Welch's Foods Inc., Concord, Mass., Wild Blueberry Association of North America, Old Town, Maine, Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, Ore., Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., and McDonald's USA, Oak Brook, Ill.

PBH named these suppliers champions: Alberto-Culver USA Inc., Melrose Park, Ill., Giorgio Foods Inc., Temple, Pa., Monsanto Vegetable Seeds, St. Louis, and National Raisin Co., Fowler, Calif.

The PBH honored these retailers as role model winners: Netherlands-based Ahold NV’s Ahold USA Inc., Defense Commissary Agency, Food Lion LLC, Salisbury, N.C., Kroger Co., Cincinnati, Safeway Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., Schnuck Markets Inc., St. Louis, and Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu Inc.’s W. Newell & Co., Champaign, Ill.; Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., Kansas City, Kan., The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Montvale, N.J., Big Y Foods Inc., Springfield, Mass., Meijer Inc. Grand Rapids, Mich., Redner’s Warehouse Markets Inc., Reading, Pa., Save Mart Supermarkets Modesto, Calif., and Weis Markets Inc., Sunbury, Pa., won champion status

Last year, PBH recognized 14 role models and four champion retailers and suppliers.