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Has Have a Plant had its day?

have a plant

PHOENIX – The Have a Plant brand turns five this year, and the produce industry needs to use it more to give produce consumption a boost.

At last week’s Consumer Connection conference, held by the Foundation for Fresh Produce BB #:157162, under the International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962, attendees learned about emerging technologies, food trends, and FFP strategies to increase fresh produce consumption.

Headshot of Greg Johnson, Produce Blue Book's Director of media development.
Greg Johnson, Vice President of Media

Unfortunately, another thing we learned is that produce consumption has slightly decreased in recent years.

In my opinion, an inspiring brand is not one of the problems though.

The leaders of the Produce for Better Health Foundation hit on a winner five years ago, and the FFP plans to keep using it to promote consumption, after PBH and IFPA merged at the start of 2023.

Lauren Scott, executive director of FFP and chief strategy officer for IFPA, explained FFP’s four goals: boost fruit and vegetable appeal; nurture passionate fruit and vegetable professionals; improve fruit and vegetable access; and scale industry partner access.

And she said Have a Plant will remain an important message from FFP.

“Every time you eat, have a plant,” Scott said.

Raising consumption

Other speakers at Consumer Connection presented ideas and solutions to the consumption slump.

Sharese Roper, director of industry and partner engagement for FFP, said access remains a problem for many consumers, but even more, the industry needs to inspire those that have access to more often choose fruits and vegetables over other foods.

Emily Holdorf, influencer and community manager for FFP, said marketers need to shift messaging to acknowledge that over half of the global population is in the millennial and Gen Z groups, and they have different desires and outlooks than older generations.

For instance, she said despite being digital natives, they crave connections to friends and family and are trend conscious. Produce brands should reach them outside of traditional channels and embrace pop culture more.

Gen Z is also more health-focused than other generations, under indexing in alcohol consumption, and over indexing in meat alternatives.

“We need to reclaim ‘plant-based,’ because we are the plants,” Holdorf said.

Alex DiNovo, president and COO of DNO Produce BB #:134515 and FFP chairman, said the produce industry has been better at being more forceful in its messaging but has to keep it up.

“We can’t wait to be involved,” he said. “We have to knock on doors. We have to move fruits and vegetables from being a luxury for a few to being a right for all.”

“We have to change the trajectory of human health by increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables.”


Greg Johnson is Vice President of Media for Blue Book Services