Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory

Dole Lobbies for National Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Holiday

May 21, 2015

Read the original article in The Packer.

Are Americans ready to add another holiday to the calendar? Dole Food Co. is betting they are.

The company is in New Orleans in late May for two events launching produce consumption promotions — its National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day and its Get Up and Grow! tour.

VegetablesDole is dubbing National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day a holiday and plans to mark it annually on the Thursday before Memorial Day.

The first will be May 21, when Dole and nonprofit Liberty’s Kitchen have a student nutrition rally at New Orleans College Prep. Elected officials in four California jurisdictions – counties and cities – where Dole is based have already declared it a holiday there.

CarrieAnn Arias, vice president of marketing for Dole Fresh Vegetables and Berries, said the local proclamations are just a first step.

“The day won’t officially become a national holiday until 2016, when the next issue of Chase’s Calendar of Events is published,” Arias said in an email. Dole’s application for the national holiday and date database, filed earlier this year, has been approved.

“Taking it to the next level – a federal holiday – is probably a longshot,” Arias said. “While we probably wouldn’t initiate a federal holiday campaign on our own, we’d certainly support and advocate any movement which might need to come from a larger industry association or collective.”

Three Dole divisions — Dole Fresh Fruit, Westlake Village, Calif.; Dole Fresh Vegetables, Monterey, Calif.; and Kannapolis, N.C.-based Dole Nutrition Institute — are participating. At the New Orleans rally, students will take part in games, contests and activities underscoring the benefits of produce consumption.

Social media will use the hashtag #FruitsandVeggiesDay. Backing that effort are food blogger Coryanne Ettiene; Beard and Bonnet; and Celebrations at Home. The event and its buildup can be followed on Twitter at @DoleTweets, on Pinterest at @DolePins and Instagram at @DolePics. Ettiene will give prizes to consumers answering fruit and vegetable trivia questions.

“One-third of adults and kids in the U.S. eat less than one serving of fresh produce a day, and Americans are twice as likely to be obese than the world population,” Bil Goldfield, director of communications for Dole Food, said in a news release. The company aims to help change that with the celebration and tour.

The Get Up and Grow! tour starts May 28, cosponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. It’s scheduled for four months and is projected to stop at 480 supermarkets and special events in the U.S. and Canada.

Besides sampling fruit and vegetables recipes and other activities, tour participants can take Dole’s Get Up and Grow! healthy living pledge to eat better.

Get Up and Grow! recipes include grilled banana parfait, spinach avocado hummus, grilled romaine with balsamic glazed strawberries and smoothies. Dole has named another, the charred summer salad, the “Official 2015 Salad of Summer.”

Dole chose the city because New Orleans was the first destination of its bananas imported from Honduras in 1899. The Standard Fruit Co. was the New Orleans precursor to Dole Fresh Fruit.

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