The Colors of Health® Takes On the Challenge of Increasing Per-Capita Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in News | Comments Off on The Colors of Health® Takes On the Challenge of Increasing Per-Capita Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

The Colors of Health® Takes On the Challenge of Increasing Per-Capita Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

Private-sector venture, led by creators of The Color Way,™ introduces new color-guided, goal-oriented, marketing initiative focused on the DGA recommendations.

PORTLAND, MAINE—For more than two decades, Americans have been preached to and educated about eating more fruits and vegetables for better health. Increasing fruit and vegetables consumption has been one of the leading recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines For Americans (DGAs), as well as from most major health-promotion organizations in America—for a very long time.

So, what has actually happened to consumption levels?

Sadly, not much, even though people say the #1 reason for eating fruits and vegetables is “to stay healthy.”  In spite of all the well-intended, public- and nonprofit-sector programs, Americans have been stuck at about 2.5 cups a day for two decades: only one-half of the DGA recommendations.

The DGA Recommendations That Few Really Know.

So, what are the recommendations for fruits and vegetables? Most people’s knowledge of the actual recommendations is probably quite low.  Ask yourself—or family and friends—this question: “For an average American consuming somewhere between 2,000 and 2,400 calories a day, what is the daily DGA-recommended amount of fruits and vegetables for better health?”  Chances are high the answer will be some number with the word “servings” after it. Like: “5 servings a day,” or “5 to 9 servings,” or even “9 to 13 servings.”

First, servingsas a dietary measurement term for fruits and vegetables is no longer relevant. The DGAs began phasing out the term “servings” for fruits and veggies in 2005, and now speak only in “cups.” There is a reason for that. People know what a cup is.

The answer to the earlier question is: about 5 cups a day–2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables. Again, that’s 5 cups a day. Familiar ring, right? But that’s fully two times the amount communicated in the old “5 servings a day” message many people still think about (the old “serving” is half a cup).

Critically important, 5 cups a day is nearly double the 2.5 cups Americans are eating on average every day. That may sound daunting, but it’s real.

How do we help Americans nearly triple the amount of fruits and vegetables that they are buying and eating today, given that people usually need motivation and guidance to reach a goal that involves such a tough, but important challenge?

Introducing The Colors of Health®. 5 Colors. 5 Cups. Every Day.

coh-logo-w265It’s time to take on this challenge. It’s time for a simple and engaging marketing solution with a focus on communicating and achieving the ambitious 5 Cups a Day goal.

The Colors of Health is a color-guided, goal-oriented, marketing initiative designed to actively engage people in buying and eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables in all forms, so they can reach 5 Cups a Day for better health. With its 5-Color Guide, and its Daily Engagement Tools, The Colors of Health will change the way people think about buying and eating fruits and vegetables.

Changing the Way People Think About Fruits and Vegetables.

The Colors of Health® is now on a mission to increase daily consumption of fruits and vegetables to 5 Cups a Day by changing the way people think about fruits and vegetables in their daily lives through simple, doable marketing strategies.

These 5 simple, but critical marketing elements give The Colors of Health® its foundation for success:

  1. Leverage the perceived health benefits—with “to stay healthy” the #1 reason people eat fruits and vegetables.
  2. Communicate and focus on the 5 Cups a Day goal.
  3. Think Color—innovatively integrate the now well-publicized, science-based, 5-color system created by The Colors of Health® founders.
  4. Help position and promote America’s supermarkets and dietitians as “the architects of healthy choices.”
  5. Use the Daily Tools of Engagement™ to insure that colorful fruits and vegetables are top-of-mind, each and every day, with shoppers and consumers.

color-wheel-265Color Is The Guide. Engagement is the Key.

The key strategy in The Colors of Health® initiative is daily, active engagement through color. The well-publicized, science-based, 5-color guidance system, originally developed as “The Color Way™” by the founders of The Colors of Health®, forms the mechanism that guides consumers in shopping for, and eating, a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables. The variety in the 5 color groups (red, yellow-orange, white-brown, green, and blue-purple) signals the full spectrum of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and colorful phytochemicals that are necessary for daily nutrition and long-term health. It is almost impossible to eat something from each of the 5 color groupings without increasing variety and quantity.

Colors of Health FanbookThe concept of daily active engagement is woven into the key messaging of The Colors of Health® initiative. Both in-store and outside of the shopping environment, The Colors of Health® Daily Tools of Engagement™ use the 5-color system to guide the “colorful pathway to purchase” and help make it easier—and more fun—to plan, buy, eat, and then track colors and cups every day. The Colors of Health® motivates and activates consumer commitment to the 5 Cups a Day goal.

Supermarkets: The “Architects of Healthy Choices.”

Woman-and-Retail-KioskToday, 70%-80% of all fruits and vegetables consumed in all their forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice—are either eaten or prepared at home. Therefore, America’s supermarkets have a major opportunity to change the way people shop for and eat fruits and vegetables. If supermarkets are, indeed, the “architects of choice,” as proclaimed by Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move, then they are in the best position to make eating 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day an ever-present message through a well-designed shopper-marketing strategy. With over 400 million shopping occasions every week, at over 36,000 retail outlets, supermarkets, especially those with Registered Dietitians on staff, can do more than other organizations, institutions or agencies to educate, influence, and guide shoppers toward the achievement of 5 Cups a Day for better health.

Mission: The Color Way™ To 5 Cups A Day.

Colors-of-Health-Supermarket325The mission of The Colors of Health® is simple and clear…help get Americans to the 5 Cups a Day goal. Success will be determined based on measurable gains in per-capita consumption of fruits and vegetables…in all their forms. Success will also be measured through the economic impact, and the benefits for many business and public health interests resulting from a doubling or tripling of fruits and vegetables consumption.

In preparing to bring its initiative to the marketplace, The Colors of Health® previewed its concepts and tools before thousands of Registered Dietitians and food industry professionals at the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference. With highly encouraging and valuable feedback, the initiative has moved into final development stages. The Colors of Health® is now working to identify partnerships with supermarkets, produce suppliers, dietitians, health organizations, and others that recognize the important need and opportunity—and share the commitment—to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to the 5 Cups a Day goal.


The Colors of Health® is a division of the Food and Wellness Group, a brand development and marketing firm. Company principals, John Sauve and David Swardlick, created the original 5-color guidance system for fruits and veggies called The Color Way™, introduced as a national campaign by the Produce for Better Health Foundation in 2003. The marketing team developed and launched the breakthrough antioxidant-based marketing strategy and health campaign that repositioned Wild Blueberries “from something in a muffin to a health icon.” The Colors of Health® is a registered trademark of the Food and Wellness Group. For more information: or