PMA’s Burns Touts Marketing at White House Capstone Event

“Marketing works – let’s use it!” declared Produce Marketing Association (PMA) President Cathy Burns, at a recent White House capstone event for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative aimed at solving the challenge of childhood obesity.

During the Oct. 6 event, Burns was joined by local Washington, D.C., elementary school students, who helped with the final harvest of the White House garden during the Obama Administration, followed by the preparation of a meal from the garden’s bounty. Both the First Lady and President Barack Obama joined the harvest activities, along with "Sesame Street" characters Elmo and Rosita.

Burns, representing Newark, Del.-based PMA and its members, spoke about two efforts to boost fruit and vegetable consumption: eat brighter!, which targets kids age 2-5, and FNV,  which targets teens and tweens. “As a mom with a teen and a tween at home, I’m alert to what they see,” said Burns, adding, "It’s my job to be sure they grow up healthy, smart, and strong.”

Her words echoed the First Lady’s efforts through Let’s Move! to improve children’s health, and, by extension, their lives. “Through her leadership, Michelle Obama has sparked a movement we can all support,” Burns noted. “On our part, PMA is committed to driving fresh produce consumption worldwide through programs like eat brighter! and through efforts to strengthen our members’ marketing efforts.”

Burns called on industry and others to harness the power of marketing to help families make the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. She also urged the industry to accept the responsibility to lower the obesity rates for the next generation.“They won’t live as long as their parents if we don’t do something right now,” she said. “We know marketing works. Let’s be sure we’re using those tools to shape their desire for fresh produce.”

During the event, the First Lady addressed the impact of the movement, highlighting various programs, including eat brighter! – a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the Partnership for a Healthier America and PMA, which offers royalty-free use of "Sesame Street" characters to market fresh fruits and vegetables to families and kids between the ages of 2 and 5 – and FNV – a campaign executed by the Partnership for a Healthier America and supported by PMA, which uses celebrities and an iconic brand to make fruits and vegetables cool to teens and tweens.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds