CPMA's Ron Lemaire Celebrates Half Your Plate Program and Announces a New Dietician Position
MONTREAL, CANADA - Long before the healthy-eating bandwagon left the station, produce and health went hand-in-hand and still go hand-in-hand today. But in an ever-crowded market for healthy food, a few produce folks are stepping up to make sure the messaging of fresh fruit and veg still shines through. Enter the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, which is pushing forward a few programs, both at the CPMA Convention and Trade Show on April 2-4 and beyond, to ensure consumers everywhere not only know the benefits of fresh produce, but celebrate them forever and always.
I sat down with the association’s President Ron Lemaire to find out more about the new Canada’s Food Guide and the Half Your Plate program before the grand trade show kicks off next week.
“The new Canada’s Food Guide is an important pillar of the government’s ambitious Healthy Eating Strategy. CPMA has long advocated for evidence-based policy making in the government, and the new Food Guide is a shining example of this principle. The new Canada’s Food Guide is also a unique opportunity for buyers and suppliers to push the Half Your Plate messaging and encourage Canadians to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables,” Ron explained to me. “Canadians are eager to adopt healthier diets and the new Food Guide is a vital resource for consumers to educate themselves on diet-related habits and recipes. CPMA applauds the government for the release of the new Canada’s Food Guide.”
Much of CPMA’s latest efforts hinge on the fact that over 80 percent of Canadians did not consume the recommended number of fruits and vegetables per day, according to The Economic Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption study by H. Kruger & Associates in 2016. Ron also noted that the economic burden attributable to low produce intake today is $4.4 billion in direct and indirect costs. To remedy these numbers, the Half Your Plate program was established and designed to promote the benefits of filling "Half Your Plate" with produce at every meal. The program also aims to decrease the economic burden that results in eating unhealthy foods and boost the produce industry’s sales.
“The Half Your Plate message is unmistakable. It’s a clear, easy-to-remember phrase that can guide consumers to living healthier. We’re committed to showing everyone how easy it is to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal via tips, tricks, and recipes available on www.halfyourplate.ca, our Instagram (@HalfYourPlateCanada) or Pinterest (Half Your Plate). Consumers can even ask us directly on any of these platforms,” Ron said. “In addition, the visuals in the new Canada’s Food Guide match our Half Your Plate imaging, amplifying our message. We hope to see fruit and vegetable consumption increase correspondingly. We look forward to continuing to promote this positive messaging.”
Lastly, CPMA is also welcoming a Dietician to its team to amplify their healthy eating initiatives, highlighting the Half Your Plate program as a part of its long-standing partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Canadian Cancer Society. This new position will help the association connect with health practitioners who are looking for usable resources on promoting the consumption of produce.
“We’re happy to continue to grow our network of dieticians and offer more assets to our members to drive their business. The success of Half Your Plate is a team effort, and we know that health practitioners, particularly dieticians, are on the front lines when it comes to spreading this message. Not to mention that many retailers are now adding dieticians to their staff to help guide consumers’ healthy decisions. Thus, it’s important to get our messaging out to this tight-knit network,” Ron shared. “We are eagerly anticipating having this new resource available to our members to help everyone develop their business using evidence-based information pertaining to the consumption of fruits and vegetables. We encourage all health practitioners who want to learn more about getting our promotional materials to please contact us.”
Interested in learning more and soon? Dieticians attending the CPMA Cconvention will have the opportunity to partake in the Dieticians Sessions, giving them the chance to get up close and personal with the association’s newest resource. The sessions, both interactive and educational, aim to connect the dietician community and educate attendees on important issues within their profession, including fruits and vegetables for IBS, client-based barriers that dieticians experience, food styling and food photography, Half Your Plate resources, and CPMA food safety and regulatory issues.
Registration is still open for the convention at convention.cpma.ca. Register today to take part in the biggest event dedicated to fresh produce in Canada—it is sure to be unforgettable!
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