The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is growing its elite ambassador network to increase the visibility of its Have A Plant campaign. The renamed PBH Have A Plant Ambassador Network -- formerly known as the PBH Fruit & Vegetable Ambassadors in Action -- has now quadrupled in size and features individuals with distinct areas of expertise and able to reach consumers at three unique points of influence: point of sale, or retail; point of flavor, or culinary and foodservice; and point of inspiration, or digital and social media lifestyle and nutrition communicators.
The move comes at a time when consumers are increasingly placing their trust in influencers with expertise in food, nutrition, health and wellness, and fitness. According to data from the Food and Health Survey put out by the Washington, D.C.-based International Food Information Council, health professionals are a trusted source of information for consumers on which foods to eat or avoid. Further, research shows that consumers trust influencers 94% more than friends or family when making shopping decisions. This is particularly true as the pandemic continues, with data showing that social media use has risen 83% since mid-March 2020. More brands than ever are looking to influencers for content creation and amplification as consumers seek credible advice on how to be happier and healthier amid a public-health crisis.
“Combined, this group reaches hundreds of thousands of millennials and Gen Z consumers each day,” noted Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of Brentwood, Missouri-based PBH. “With this unprecedented reach, PBH can uniquely deliver valuable influencer partnerships to all members of the fruit and vegetable supply chain and is poised to significantly extend the far-reaching impact of PBH’s award-winning Have A Plant Movement, which launched just two years ago. Importantly, PBH is committed to building strong relationships with these influencers to ensure they find mutual value and satisfaction in supporting PBH and the produce industry to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and, in turn, help improve public health.”
The foundation’s lineup of PBH Have A Plant Ambassadors will contribute to its recipe and Expert Advice libraries, as well as lending their expertise to Have A Plant Cook Alongs, Instagram Reels, Facebook live sessions and other social content. The network also has the knowledge and skills to engage with PBH and its members beyond digital and social media, from co-hosting virtual webinars to generating media placements, supporting retail promotions, offering strategic insights and taking part in PBH-sponsored events.
“This year is all about the continued evolution of the Have A Plant Movement along with more opportunities for the fruit and vegetable industry to connect directly to consumers,” said Katie Calligaro, PBH’s marketing and communications director. “No other organization is partnering with such a wide range of influencers to inform people wherever they make fruit and vegetable decisions. This year’s group of fruit- and veggie-lovin’ enthusiasts includes some new faces along with familiar names our followers already know and trust.”
The expanded network of PBH Have A Plant Retail Ambassadors, which engages millions of shoppers at more than 10,000 stores nationwide and online, includes registered dietitians and leaders from the following retailers: Ahold Delhaize USA, Albertsons Cos. Aldi, Big Y, Coborn’s, Fresh Thyme Market, Gelson’s, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, The Kroger Co., K-VA-T/Food City, Kwik Trip, Loblaws, Natural Grocers, Niemann Foods, Price Chopper, Pulix Super Markets, Raley’s, Redner’s Rouses, Wakefern/ShopRite, Skogen’s Festival Foods, SpartanNash, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans Food Markets and Weis Markets. The list reads like a veritable Who’s Who of The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.
Meanwhile, the network’s Culinary & Foodservice Ambassadors include Bloomin’ Brands, parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Aussie Grill by Outback, Carraba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; Sysco / Fresh Point; Datassential; Sodexo; Subway; and Taco Bell, and among its influencer ambassadors are Leslie Bonci, Active Eating Advice (Pittsburgh); Beau Coffron, Lunchbox Dad (Edmund, Oklahoma); Abbie Gellman, Chef Abbie Gellman (New York); Megan McCarthy, Healthy Eating 101 (Atlanta); Lori Taylor, The Produce Moms (Indianapolis); and Liz Weiss, Liz’s Healthy Table (Boston).
Nonprofit PBH is the only national organization dedicated to helping consumers eat more fruits and vegetables, encompassing fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, every day.