5 A Day Across the USA(tm) Cross-Country Tour Delivers Healthy Message Throughout the Nation

Produce for Better Health Foundation 
CONTACT: ROBB ENRIGHT (302-235-ADAY; ext. 18)

Washington, DC - A new candidate canvassed the nation during a two-week campaign to deliver an important message to Americans. The candidate's name was "Produce Man," the Produce for Better Health Foundation's fruit and vegetable-clad character. "Produce Man's" message was simple - eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. As the votes continue to be tabulated at the Foundation's headquarters, early reports declare "Produce Man's" campaign a landslide victory. "Produce Man" and more than 500 volunteers helped the Foundation conduct 5 A Day Across the USA(tm), a cross-country tour May 18- June 2 featuring events and activities educating thousands of consumers about the importance of eating 5 or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables to improve their health.

"For two weeks, 5 A Day was the center of attention wherever we went," said Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Foundation. "This effort resulted from the hard work of so many volunteers, who prepared for our visits and gave us a warm welcome. We couldn't have done this without the support of the tour's sponsors and volunteers. Their dedication and creativity inspired the adults and children in each community we visited. As a result, we spread the important health message of 5 A Day and also made it fun and exciting for those we met along the way."

During Foundation stops in retail stores, state capitols, media outlets, corporate headquarters, a Naval base, the nation's capitol and other venues, Foundation staff and volunteers encouraged consumers to sign a pledge card to "Take the 5 A Day Challenge" to eat 5 A Day each day for a whole year. By the end of the tour, eight huge pledge card banners were covered with signatures. In many of the cities and states, governors and mayors issued proclamations to celebrate 5 A Day. To further spread the message, the Foundation re-released its "Produce Man" public service announcement to 30 television stations in 6 markets, including: Washington, DC; Salinas; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; Wilmington/Philadelphia; and Cincinnati. The 5 A Day message certainly got some mileage as a result of this and the East and West Coast tours. With the three tours combined, the Foundation covered 9,400 miles and 50 different cities in 28 states. 

The tour began with the creation of the "World's Largest Tossed Spinach Salad" May 18 at Salinas High School in Salinas, Calif., and criss-crossed the country until a finale event near the Capitol building June 2 in Washington, DC. The route covered 6,100 miles, with stops in 17 states. The schedule included the following stops: May 18 in Salinas and Livermore, Calif.; May 19 in Pleasanton, Calif.; May 20 in Bentonville, Ark.; May 21 in Millington and Memphis, Tenn.; May 22 in Dallas, Texas; May 23 in Phoenix, Ariz.; May 24 in Salt Lake City and West Jordan, Utah; May 25 in Lenexa, Kan., and Des Moines, Iowa; May 26 in Eden Prairie and Minneapolis, Minn., and Brookfield (near Milwaukee), Wis.; May 27 in Park Ridge (near Chicago), Ill., and Indianapolis, Ind.; May 30 in Lexington, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio; May 31 in Cincinnati; June 1 in Boston and Pembroke, Mass., Wilmington, Del.; and Baltimore, Md.; and June 2 in Washington, DC. 

The 5 A Day Across the USA(tm) tour was sponsored by the following organizations: Christopher Ranch, LLC; Del Monte Fresh Produce; DNE World Fruit Sales; Dole Food Company; A. Duda & Sons; Fresh Express; Grimmway Farms; NewStar; Philadelphia Regional Produce Market; Premier Farms; Procter & Gamble; ProduceOnline.com; Ready Pac Produce; C.H. Robinson; TexaSweet Citrus Marketing; T & T Industries/ Twist-Ems; Washington Apple Commission; Western Growers Insurance Services; and Zeneca.
The Foundation visited 14 retail stores and three retail corporate headquarters, including: Albertson's, Dominick's, Fleming, Hy-Vee Food Stores, Kroger, Macey's, Marsh, Piggly Wiggly, "Pick 'N Save" (Roundy's), Safeway (store and corporate visit), Stop & Shop, SUPERVALU (corporate visit), Tom Thumb, and Wal-Mart (store and corporate visit). Retailers rolled out the red carpet for consumers and the 5 A Day Across the USA(tm) team by advertising the visits, conducting produce tastings and demonstrations, distributing 5 A Day materials and decorating the produce department and often the entire store with 5 A Day signage. At many stores, corporate- and/or division-level representatives attended the event to show their support for 5 A Day. Among the highlights was the Hy-Vee Food Store in Des Moines, where 5 A Day material and new banners were displayed throughout, declaring, "Pick A Better Snack." The slogan debuted at the store to kick off the Iowa 5 A Day Coalition's new "Pick A Better Snack" campaign.

The Washington Apple Commission's "Crispy Apple" character accompanied the team throughout the tour. "Crispy Apple" and Gary Johnson, retail marketing specialist for the Washington Apple Commission, have accompanied the team on each of the East Coast, West Coast, and cross-country journeys. In addition, other Washington Apple Commission representatives attended many events along the route. 

The "World's Largest Tossed Spinach Salad" was composed of 14,000 pounds of produce. Most of the product was donated by Premier Farms. Many other produce industry companies participated in the event, which was attended by approximately 1,000 consumers, particularly schoolchildren. The Foundation stopped at a Safeway store in Livermore, and then Safeway's corporate headquarters in Pleasanton. Safeway created banners to celebrate the arrival of the 5 A Day Across the USA(tm) team. At the headquarters, employees learned about 5 A Day and signed pledge cards. Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters and a nearby Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Bentonville welcomed the team May 20. 

For months, personnel stationed at Naval Support Activity-Mid South in Millington heard about the upcoming commissary event May 21. The event lived up to its billing, with plenty of fruits and vegetables for tasting. Piggly Wiggly's "Mr. Pig" character greeted "Produce Man" at the store in Memphis later that day. Employees of First Tennessee National Corporation also participated in the event. In Dallas May 22, the Foundation visited Fleming, FreshPoint America and a Tom Thumb store. FreshPoint treated its employees to a complete 5 A Day lunch. Tom Thumb presented the team with gift bags, including an historical book about Tom Thumb.
In Phoenix, the Foundation and Arizona Grown celebrated 5 A Day Across the USA(tm) at the state Capitol along with approximately 500 people and local dignitaries. Albertson's distributed fruit cups to consumers at the event. The team later visited an Albertson's store. On the Utah Capitol steps, the Utah 5 A Day Association proudly presented 7,052 signed pledges collected from 316 classes in 38 elementary schools statewide. The class with the most signatures attended the event and helped form the shape of the number 5 on the steps of the Capitol building. Local celebrities carved fruit and vegetable sculptures while a local chef hosted a live show. Later on at a Macey's store in West Jordan, consumers enjoyed salads, giveaways and 5 A Day music.
The tour got off to an early start the morning of May 25 with a breakfast hosted by Vance Publishing's The Packer, at its headquarters in Lenexa. Vance Publishing presented the Foundation with a $5,000 contribution, and gave a tour of its facility. More than a dozen media representatives attended an Editor's Luncheon in Des Moines later that day. Attendees included representatives from: Better Homes & Gardens, Meredith Corporation, Successful Farming, Iowa Public television and several local radio stations. The Iowa 5 A Day coalition unveiled the "Pick A Better Snack" campaign and provided a large fruit kabob for the luncheon. Elizabeth Bell explained the concept of Volumetrics-a strategy to feel full with fewer calories and eat low energy-dense foods. Bell explained that fruits and vegetables fit perfectly into this strategy. The luncheon featured several fruit and vegetable items that exemplify the Volumetrics strategy.

SUPERVALU hosted an employee-wide celebration of 5 A Day at its corporate headquarters May 26 in Eden Prairie, Minn. Employees enjoyed a breakfast featuring an assortment of fruits and juices, plus displays of carved watermelons. SUPERVALU awarded prizes for those who signed pledges. That same day, C.H. Robinson hosted a lunchtime event in the commons area of its office complex, which is adjacent to several municipal offices. The Foundation also visited with two pre-school and special education classes, where "Produce Man" distributed apples and 5 A Day stickers to each child.
At the Roundy's "Pick 'N Save" store May 26 in Brookfield, Wisc., several Dole Food Company characters joined the team to help spread the 5 A Day good cheer. The next day, at the Dominick's store in Park Ridge, a variety of produce demonstrations and tastings took place. "Produce Man" delighted consumers at the Marsh store in Indianapolis that evening. Employees and cashiers sported 5 A Day Across the USA(tm) T-shirts to help give a festive flavor storewide. 

In Lexington's Phoenix Square May 30, first grade students sang 5 A Day songs, Mayor Pam Miller issued a proclamation and consumers sampled produce. Members of the Lexington Department of Health performed as the "Salad Sisters," and sang several fun, catchy tunes. That night, the team visited a Kroger market in Cincinnati, which was decorated especially for the event. On May 31, the Foundation brought 5 A Day spirit to Procter & Gamble's world headquarters. Employees received apples, bananas and magnets at a tent near the corporate cafeteria. At lunchtime, approximately 1,500 people attended festivities at Cincinnati's Fountain Square, which featured music and booths for consumers to walk by and sample food or take home literature. More than a dozen exhibitors and vendors, including Kroger, gave away fruit, brochures and more. At Boston City Hall Plaza June 1, the Massachusetts 5 A Day Coalition welcomed the Foundation team and 3,000 others as part of "Fresh Fest 2000." Approximately 100 senior citizens participated in a "senior walk," while schoolchildren and Head Start members visited the dozen exhibits to receive free fruits and vegetables, juices, smoothies, soup and health information. That afternoon, the team visited the Stop & Shop in Pembroke, Mass.
In downtown Wilmington, the Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities celebrated 5 A Day as part of its Millennium March to Wellness program. This nutrition, fitness and wellness education effort is for the state's senior citizens. The Acme market from nearby Pike Creek created a large display in the shape of Delaware from more than 300 pounds of locally-grown produce. Delaware Secretary of Agriculture John F. Tarburton addressed the crowd of more than 3,000. "Today is about eating for your life," Tarburton explained. The Safeway store in Baltimore hosted a radio remote broadcast with prize giveaways when the Foundation visited June 1. The Zespri New Zealand Kiwifruit team displayed two kiwi Volkswagens outside the store. Many produce demonstrations took place in the store as festive announcements came across the store public address system. 

The tour concluded with a reception at the Rayburn Office foyer near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. The Foundation, the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association (UFFVA), U.S. Apple Association and Western Growers Association (WGA) partnered to conduct the reception. Gary Pasquinelli, of Pasquinelli Produce and chairman of the WGA Board, moderated the event, which featured several speakers including: Pivonka, Edith Garrett, president of the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association; Margo Wootan, senior scientist of the Center for Science in the Public Interest-representing the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity; Mike Bessire, president of Safeway's Eastern division; Donna Denison, director of legislative affairs for UFFVA; Julia Stewart Daly, public relations director for the U.S. Apple Association; and Dave Moore, president of WGA.

The Foundation continues to receive signed pledges from consumers nationwide. Consumers are encouraged to stay in touch with 5 A Day at the Foundation's http://www.5aday.com website.

For more about the 5 A Day-- for Better Health program, contact the Foundation at 302-235-ADAY; fax: 302-235-5555; or check out http://www.5aday.com.

See the photos from our 5 A Day Across the USA tour.


The Produce for Better Health Foundation is the catalyst for creating a healthier America through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The Foundation is a nonprofit organization which, in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute, sponsors the national 5 A Day -- for Better Health program.