Taylor Farms has increased its financial commitment to the Produce for Better
Health Foundation with a $250,000 pledge over the next five years. Taylor
Farms joins other long-time major annual contributors such as Paramount
Farms, Stemilt Growers and Syngenta, which have been at or above the
$50,000 level for several years.
"In the course of our industry conversation about the merits of a national
promotion board for fruits and vegetables this past year, we were again
impressed with the mission and the effectiveness of PBH," Bruce Taylor,
chairman and chief executive officer of Salinas, CA-based Taylor Farms, said
in a March 19 PBH press release. "PBH, with [its] sole focus of increasing fruit
and vegetable consumption among Americans with their unifying message,
'Fruits and Veggies -- More Matters,' is incredibly successful in working with
retailers and foodservice operators to get maximum leverage from industry
resources. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption by American
consumers will benefit them with a healthier diet and benefit the industry
that produces and distributes great fruits and vegetables. We are proud to be
a more significant partner in this important project."
PBH President and CEO Elizabeth Pivonka told The Produce News March 23
that the economic downturn has taken its toll on industry contributions to
the foundation, so the Taylor Farms commitment is very timely. She indicated
that at least a half-dozen longtime contributors have had to scale back their
donations this year, and the funds from Taylor Farms help make up for those
"We are both happy and humbled by this pledge of support in our mission to
increase fruit and vegetable consumption for the better health of Americans,"
Ms. Pivonka said in the press release. "It is an honor to work for an
organization that does something good for consumers as well as for the
PBH has had to readjust its budget for the past two years because of donation
losses that Ms. Pivonka believes are the result of the current economic
For 2010, PBH expects to have revenues of $4.1 million. Ms. Pivonka revealed
that about 65 percent of the foundation's income comes from the private
sector, while 26 percent of comes from net catalog sales, 8 percent comes
from in-kind contributions and 1 percent comes from grants. About 60-65
percent of the cash contributions comes from what she categorized as "fresh
industry," while the rest is derived from retailers, foodservice operators, other
processors and allied industry firms, such as crop protection and seed
It was significant that Taylor Farms mentioned the efforts of PBH to foster
conversation with regard to the national promotion program when pledging
its increased contribution. Ms. Pivonka said that while the PBH leadership
might have ruffled a few feathers with its commitment to the ill-fated
proposal, she did not believe there were significant donation losses because
Ms. Pivonka did say that PBH has refocused its efforts toward its "More
Matters" message, and she has also redirected her energies toward
expanding the reach of that program.
Ms. Pivonka spent a significant portion of her time in 2009 debating the
national promotion program idea. With that task behind her, she is trying to
expand the reach of "More Matters" beyond the fruit and vegetable sector.
Specifically she is working with other organizations, such as health advocacy
groups, to stress the importance of increasing the consumption of fruits and
vegetables as a viable method to improve the collective health of this
country's people. She said that the message does resonate with organizations
such as physician groups or nutrition advocates working against child obesity
Of course, PBH continues to tout the use of the "More Matters" campaign
materials by retailers and the use of the logo by grower-shippers. Ms.
Pivonka indicated that it does not take much for a packer to add the logo and
the message of increased consumption to its packaging. While most in the
industry are aware of the three-year old campaign, Ms. Pivonka said that
there is still a lot of work to do to spread the message to consumers.
Among new initiatives by PBH is the development of a report that exposes the
disparity between the nation's dietary goals and expenditure of government
funds in various programs. Often times those government-sponsored dietary
goals are in direct conflict with government spending. Ms. Pivonka said that
the report should be completed by the end of the year or by early 2011, in
time to give fruit and vegetable advocates some ammunition as they attempt
to increase funding for that sector in the next farm bill.
The Produce for Better Health Foundation will discuss its plans for the next
year in detail at its annual meeting, which will be held April 8-10 at the Ritz-
Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA. The meeting will feature a presentation of
PBH's plans as well as some new consumer research on fruit and vegetable
consumption and the annual fundraiser, which is a dinner auction.