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WILMINGTON, Del.-- Safeway Inc., and Schnuck Markets have become the first grocers in the nation to include the "Fruits & Veggies-More Matters" logo from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) on a variety of private label frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, the foundation said yesterday.
The first packages of qualifying frozen fruits and vegetables offered under the Safeway brand are already receiving distribution at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway's stores, PBH said.
St. Louis, Mo.-based Schnucks' involvement coincided with a redesign of its private label packaging, said Mike O'Brien, v.p. of produce. "I knew that our private label people were making a label change and suggested that we consider including 'Fruits & Veggies-More Matters' wherever possible," he said. "The next thing I knew, they were showing me samples of canned vegetables sporting the new logo."
The chain made the change to encourage customers to eat more produce, O'Brien added. "We added the 'More Matters' logo to our private brand products is because all forms of fruits and vegetables count when you are trying to meet your personnel nutritional requirements," he told Progressive Grocer. "Whether it's 100 percent fruit juice, low salt canned vegetables, canned fruit in natural juices, frozen fruits and vegetables, or fresh fruits and vegetables, eating more [really does matter]."
The store brand program is part of a concerted effort by PBH to include all forms of produce in its public health initiative. The Foundation's former "5 A Day" program included canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables, as well as 100 percent juice,
"Our research shows that consumers feel relieved to know that these other forms of fruits and vegetables 'count' as part of their daily consumption," said PBH president, Elizabeth Pivonka. "If all Mom has the time for at dinner is to open a package of frozen broccoli and zap it in the microwave, then that's great. Her family is still getting a nutritious side dish."
Several other retailers have contacted the Foundation about including the Fruits & Veggies logo on packaging, said Bryant Wynes, PBH senior executive of retail marketing. "It's growing," he said. "Many retailers are now including the logo on private label fresh produce. Meijer has added the logo to their private label dried fruit packaging."
However, not all frozen or canned fruit and vegetable qualifies for the logo, and Wynes recommended that interested retailers should first contact him before adding the logo to produce packages. "Unlike fresh produce or 100 percent juice, not every frozen or canned fruit and vegetable will qualify to use the new logo," he said. "Our associates at PBH can evaluate each product's ingredient panel to make sure that item meets our 'products promotable' criteria as outlined in the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters license agreement."
PBH is a nonprofit organization created to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables. It's a member of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance, consisting of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and industry working in collaboration to expand nationwide efforts to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables for improved public health.
-- Joe Tarnowski