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PBH and PMA Partner to Host 5 A Day Foodservice Summit

WILMINGTON, Del. - The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will organize and host a 5 A Day Foodservice Summit on July 23, 2004, immediately prior to the PMA Foodservice Conference, Tours, and Expo in Monterey, Calif.

This invitation-only 5 A Day Conference, first announced at the recent PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando, Fla., will gather executive chefs and menu developers, fruit and vegetable grower/shippers and processors, commodity boards, and associations to advance best practices in meeting the fruit and vegetable needs of consumers in foodservice operations. Attendees will be among the first to hear results of PBH-commissioned fruit and vegetable behavior research of consumers at foodservice operations. The research is being sponsored by PMA and conducted by the Hale Group.

In addition to PMA's support, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is another platinum sponsor of the event. Other organizations that have signed on to sponsor the 5 A Day Foodservice Summit include Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.; Dole Food Company, Inc.; Litehouse, Inc.; L&M Companies; Nation's Restaurant News, Sunkist Growers, Inc.; and Welch's.

In an environment concerned over increasing national obesity and rising health care costs, coupled with the fact that fruit and vegetable consumption is lowest when eating out, restaurants have long been aware that the food they serve may be a key culprit. Key objectives of the 5 A Day Foodservice Summit include:

--Sharing benchmark research on consumer attitudes regarding fruit and vegetables, and healthy menu options;
--Offering opportunities for understanding how to overcome barriers for developing healthy fruit and vegetable menu options; and
--Educating top menu decision-makers about ways to prepare, serve, and market healthy fruit and vegetable menu items as mainstream menu items for consumers.

"Consumers eat one out of every four meals away from home, so there needs to be a broader offering of fruits and vegetables on the menu," said PBH president Elizabeth Pivonka. "The 5 A Day Foodservice Summit will bring together restaurant menu developers and fruit and vegetable marketers in an interactive, solution-focused way to demonstrate not only how fruits and vegetables can play an important role in meeting consumers' demands for great-tasting and nutritious meals away from home, but also how fruits and vegetables afford a better business model for foodservice operators in today's health-conscious climate."

"This new partnership between PBH and PMA is a great way to highlight what both organizations can do to boost produce consumption," added PMA president Bryan Silbermann. "PMA's Foodservice Conference is acknowledged as the premier annual event where produce marketers and foodservice buyers network and share ideas on new products and practices. Adding the 5 A Day Foodservice Summit to the Monterey conference will focus even more attention on building consumption through better understanding of consumer preferences and menu trends. We're delighted to provide the funding necessary for the research and to work so closely with PBH to drive demand for our members' products."

PBH's behavioral research will focus on consumer trends and attitudes about away-from-home food choices, as well as incorporate data highlighting fruit and vegetable trends on menus nationwide. This 5 A Day foodservice research will also be published following the summit.
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