(Jan. 27) Facing perhaps its biggest year since its inception in 1991, the Produce for Better Health Foundation is counting on support from its federal partners as it transitions to a new brand identity by early next year.

The new brand identity and logo — to replace the familiar but outdated “5 a Day” message and graphic — are still under wraps, said Elizabeth Pivonka, president of PBH, Wilmington, Del.

New dietary guidelines in 2005 that recommend up to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for some consumers but as few as 5 servings for others spurred the development of a new brand and logo for the public/private 5 a Day partnership.

Pivonka said the process of the identity change is critical.

“We’re making sure the brand identity is done right and the government partnership buys into it, and that it is rolled out well,” she said Jan. 23.

Pivonka said the stakes are big for the future of the program.

“It’s bigger than anything we have done from a marketing perspective since 1991,” she said.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation is the industry umbrella organization created to spread the 5 a Day message.

The Centers for Disease Control became the lead federal agency for the National 5 a Day program in August.

The National Cancer Institute had been the lead federal agency for the 5 a Day program since its inception in 1991.

In fact, the NCI originally helped to finance the California 5 a Day program through grants. The California 5 a Day program, established in 1988, was the forerunner to the national program.

Pivonka said consumer research by New York City-based Sterling Brands — selected June 30 last year to lead the re-branding effort — has been concluded. In addition, a new graphic logo has also been chosen after being presented along with other options to several consumer focus groups.

The National 5 a Day Partnership steering committee on Jan. 18 approved the new brand direction and logo, Pivonka said.

Federal agency “buy-in” to the new brand and logo is the next stop in the evolution to a new identify for the program, Pivonka said.

PBH in mid-January delivered research to officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she noted.

The goal is to receive federal approval by March 30 — the date of the PBH board meeting.