New Initiatives To Improve Consumers' Diets, Eliminate Confusion

New Initiatives To Improve Consumers' Diets, Eliminate Confusion

5/7/2015 10:41 AM

We often talk about consumer confusion when it comes to nutrition, food safety fears, food labels, food trends…the list goes on.  Interestingly, new initiatives have recently emerged with a focus on simply communicating that we should all eat more fruits and vegetables for better health and a longer life. Maybe this signals the end of the constant barrage of misleading and confusing messages consumers must constantly sort through regarding food safety and healthy eating.

The first initiative we have written about previously, FNV (short for fruits-n-veggies). This initiative, launched by the Partnership for a Healthier America in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, is centered solely on promoting increased consumption of fruits and veggies.  FNV has enlisted celebrities and athletes like Jessica Alba, Kristen Stewart and the NFL's Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernik to participate in TV and social media efforts.  Hopefully, the very simple “eat more” message combined with the star power of the spokespersons will positively impact consumers’ diets. The campaign started recently in Fresno, California and Hampton Roads, Virginia but plans to expand soon.  Trade organizations, including the Produce Marketing Association, are also involved in this important initiative. 

The second intiative is called GLIMMER (Global Lifestyle Medicine Mobilizing to Effect Reform) and was begun by Dr. David Katz, the founding director of Yale's Prevention Research Center. Dr. Katz states that one of GLIMMER’s main goals is to reduce the confusion and “the unending fractious discord” about what people should eat for better health.  Dr. Katz has more than 150 experts from 16 countries signed up to help educate people about scientific consensus on diets, including the need to consume more fruits and veggies. It will be interesting to follow GLIMMER’s efforts since some of its participants serve as spokespersons for activist organizations that continually and unfairly disparage safe and healthy conventionally grown produce.  Specifically, Drs. Mark Hyman and Andrew Weil routinely work closely with the Environmental Working Group and help promote that organization’s so-called “dirty dozen” produce list. 

For the last few years, the Alliance for Food and Farming has been working to educate consumers about the safety of all produce – organic and conventional – with a goal of removing unfounded safety fears about residues which may be negatively impacting consumption.  It is hoped that these existing efforts and new initiatives, combined with ongoing outreach by organizations like the Produce for Better Health Foundation, which carry a simple “eat more” message gain traction and move the needle on stagnating fruit and vegetable consumption. 

And, maybe the participation of Drs. Hyman and Weil in GLIMMER indicates that they are ending their involvement in the perpetuation of conflicting and confusing messages to consumers about food safety and healthy eating.  After all, encouraging increased produce consumption while disparaging the more accessible and affordable choice is not only counter-intuitive but seems counterproductive to the stated goals of the GLIMMER campaign. Especially when a recent peer reviewed study found the diets of poorer Americans is getting worse.  So, cost, affordability and accessibility of fruits and veggies are important factors if we truly want to increase consumption.

The launching of both new initiatives may be just what is needed to finally drown out and/or stop activist groups’ unfair disparagement of more affordable and accessible fruits and veggies. In the meantime, the AFF will continue its efforts to provide credible food safety information to consumers so that facts, not fear, guide shopping choices. 

Read, learn, choose but eat more organic and conventional fruits and veggies everyday for better health and a longer life.

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