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    PBH Wants Consumers' Plates to be 'Half Full' with Produce

    Nonprofit group ready to support USDA's new MyPlate initiative

    Fresh from being approved as a national strategic partner with the USDA, Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) has unveiled its immediate and long-term plans to support USDA's new MyPlate communications initiative. A key message is to "make half your plate fruits and vegetables."

    PBH has been relaying this message to consumers since the launch of Fruits & Veggies-More Matters in 2007 and said it will enhance its efforts to convey this message to all Americans.

    "The new USDA MyPlate dovetails nicely with Fruits & Veggies-More Matters in that the plate shows consumers the proportion of fruits and vegetables in relation to other foods," said Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), "and Fruits & Veggies-More Matters provides inspiration, tips, information and other types of interactive support to make it come to life for consumers.

    "Since we have and will continue to support the consumption of 100 percent juice as well as fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits and vegetables, consistent with the dietary guidelines, we are the perfect organization within the fruit and vegetable industry to provide tools and resources directly to the consumer regarding the 'half your plate' message," she continued.

    "PMA is extremely pleased to see the USDA add the weight of its credibility and simplicity of its message to the great work being done by PBH to drive consumer consumption of fruits and vegetables," said Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of Produce Marketing Association. "The MyPlate graphic is a wonderful new tool to support the ongoing and essential work of PBH to encourage the changes in eating behavior we've championed for the past two decades." 

    Added Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association: "United Fresh applauds USDA for the new MyPlate and 'make half your plate fruits and vegetables' message which is simple, compelling and effective. The government's new 'make half your plate fruits and vegetables' message will add tremendous support to PBH's work as they interface with the consumer."

    USDA will emphasize the "make half your plate fruits and vegetables" message September through December, but PBH said it's committed to keeping the message alive and strong well after the end of this year.

    "Our intent at PBH is to play up the 'half your plate' message well beyond this year's emphasis, but in the short term we are working with USDA to support the message to the consumer in a variety of ways," says Pivonka.

    The outreach plan includes: 

    -- Motivating consumers to change their plates through a "Half My Plate Makeover" contest, promoted through social media channels.

    -- Providing guidance and inspiration by showcasing "real food" plate makeovers on Facebook, on websites, and via consumer press releases every week starting late summer.

    -- Encouraging consumers to pledge to make "half your plate" fruits and veggies by joining the America's More Matters pledge.

    -- Helping consumers to make half their plate fruits and vegetables by sharing ideas and tools on websites, through e-newsletters and social media channels, and other communication efforts.

    Longer-term plans include:

    -- Conducting women's magazine desk-side briefings with press kits of "half your plate" real food photos, recipes and costs.

    -- Replacing MyPyramid with MyPlate in PBH education materials and including "half your plate" messaging and "real food" half plate photos in new educational materials starting with the January 2012 catalog, continuing with future catalogs.

    -- Publication of a consumer book featuring "half my plate" real food photos and links to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov and www.FruitsandVeggiesMoreMatters.org.

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