(Oct. 10) Eat your colors every day.

Motivating consumers to equate specific health benefits of produce with the Technicolor spectrum of fruits and vegetables is the ambitious goal of the new 5 a Day retail merchandising plan.

A color-coded era of fruit and vegetable promotions will be launched at the New Orleans Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2002.

The new logo, featuring the slogan 5 a Day: The Color Way, features vibrant colors with stylized renderings of apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and vegetables. The artwork will be the central identity of the 5 a Day program for the next several years, said Lori Baer, manager of public relations and production for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del. She said point-of-sale materials related to the new campaign would be available for inspection by PMA attendees.

Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc., said she believes the color-based approach will be effective.

“There is so much momentum building up for the importance of good nutrition and exercise, and anything we can do to add a little sizzle is great — especially for kids,” Caplan said. In addition, she said the focus on color will remind consumers not to overcook their fresh produce.

Baer said the development of the campaign was made possible by money donated to the Produce for Better Health Foundation by Florida, and the implementation of the program was aided by grants from Arizona and California. Together, those states gave about $5 million to the Produce for Better Health Foundation this year, representing part of the money the states received in specialty crop block grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Baer declined to specify the budget for The Color Way campaign, but she said the increased level of funding has allowed the use of consumer focus groups and other tools that will increase the effectiveness of the program.

“When you have the proper resources, you can roll out a campaign properly,” she said.

The color campaign will tell consumers to eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

“Colorful fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body uses to stay healthy and fit,” says one consumer education pamphlet. Another rainbow-shaped graphic features the colors of produce and urges shoppers to “Fight cancer, heart disease & the effects of aging.”

Baer said the color campaign received approval from the PBH board in April, when she said the foundation started to go “full throttle” on the plan.

“We’ve been able to conduct focus groups about the materials we developed,” she said, noting that consumers have been positive about the logo. In addition, she said focus groups had input into the Color Way Guide and the ongoing development of the Color Way Plan Book. Both will help consumer plan their produce purchases, Baer said.

Retailers have a choice of point-of-sale materials that accompany the program. Order forms will be available at Fresh Summit 2002 at PBH booth No. 4600.

“Because it is at point of sale, we worked hard at making sure the material is FDA-approved. We’ve made sure the information buttoned up so it is not putting anyone at risk,” Baer said.

In addition to the retail program, she said the foundation is in the beginning stages of developing a color-based foodservice program.

While the PMA convention will serve as the introduction of the program to retailers, she said consumers may start to see materials in retail stores by the first of the year. The PBH staff also is working with food editors to talk about the Color Way campaign. Baer said PBH will conduct a public relations event in New York City in mid-October.

There will be no paid advertising associated with the campaign, but PBH is working to get commitments for public service announcements. She said PBH is seeking to leverage business done by PBH members with broad-cast media to secure public service spots.

Baer said the new logo will get a lot of retail and public relations support — more than the traditional 5 a Day logo.
“Our intention is not to wipe out the traditional logo, but if we want to jump to the next level, to provide a fresh look at the 5 a Day challenge, something needs to take place to shake up the scene,” she said.

She said the traditional logo still represents the program, but she noted the new logo could represent a solution to Canadian regulators’ objections to the traditional 5 a Day emblem. Since last year, Canadian authorities have objected to the health claims on individual foods.

“Time will tell how the industry feels about the logo. I have a feeling that the majority will gravitate toward the new logo,” Baer said.

While PBH officials considered 5 to 9 a Day — the National Cancer Institute promotional message will stress five to nine servings a day — Baer said PBH didn’t want to give up the brand power of 5 a Day.Baer said the Color Way program will run for several years. “This is just the beginning,” she said. Among the projects on the horizon: a promotion with Crayola for young schoolchildren.