We received a note and a press release from a PR firm representing Knorr, a brand produced by Unilever. Much to its credit, Unilever recently began contributing financially to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, but its new product Knorr Sides Plus Veggies doesn’t qualify for actually carrying the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo.
There is a dilemma at the heart of the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters program. On the one hand, all produce in all forms counts toward your daily intake. So if you are eating pancakes and maple syrup, throw a serving of frozen blueberries into the batter and those blueberries count.
Yet there is a much more stringent set of criteria for a product actually carrying the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo on it.
The goal of this distinction between “what counts” and “what can carry the logo” is reasonable enough. First, the goal is to encourage incremental healthy steps, and the bet is that if you add blueberries to those pancakes, you will keep your calorie intake constant, which means you will eat more healthy blueberries and less maple syrup and batter. Second, we are trying to get away from being so negative, with admonitions of what not to eat and, instead, try to be positive, emphasizing healthy fruits and vegetables.
Of course, there is a risk in this too. Consumers may get confused, especially if consumer packaged goods marketers blur the distinction in their marketing material.
Here is the note and press release we received about Knorr’s new product:
According to a survey by Produce for Better Health, the common barriers for vegetable consumption are lack of time, knowledge and the high cost of fresh produce.
Knorr has developed an easy and convenient solution for overcoming these barriers by introducing Knorr Sides Plus Veggies, a great complement to any meal and the first dry side dishes made with two full servings of vegetables per package. Knorr Sides Plus Veggies offer a low-cost fast meal solution that can be served on their own, as a side, dish or as a recipe. In fact, several recipes that can be made incorporating the sides are approved by Produce for Better Health and Unilever’s Eat Smart Drink Smart and include Asian Vegetable Noodle Salad, Chicken Vegetable Rollatini and Greek Chicken with Rice. The recipes are also available at www.knorr.com.
GETTING YOUR FAMILY TO EAT
THEIR VEGGIES HAS NEVER BEEN SO EASY
Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ are the first mainstream line of both rice and pasta dishes made with two full servings of vegetables per package*
Englewood Cliffs, NJ- May 3, 2007 — According to a survey by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, common barriers for vegetable consumption are knowledge, lack of time and the high cost of fresh produce. Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ helps break down these barriers by offering a low cost, fast solution that can be included in a larger recipe provided by Knorr.
Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ combines two full servings of vegetables per package* with the storable nature of dried foods. By including vegetables with pasta and rice — foods kids already enjoy — moms can increase the likelihood of their families’ vegetable consumption.
Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ dry side dishes of rice or pasta are accompanied by an assortment of vegetables such as green beans, shitake mushrooms, broccoli, corn and carrots. The shelf storable packaging allows consumers to have a source of or form of vegetables on-hand for any occasion. Premium flavors like Teriyaki Noodles with Asian Vegetables, Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and Broccoli Rotini, and Southwestern Style Rice appeal to today’s more sophisticated, adventurous palates.
“Moms have told us they need quick, easy and tasty ways to get their families to eat more vegetables, and side dishes provide a great way to introduce more servings,” said Barry Sands, Senior Brand Manager, Knorr. “Sides Plus Veggies™ add color to the dry sides category, dialing up the excitement and nutritional factor on today’s family plate.”
Recipes incorporating Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ have been created that meet the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s nutrient and vegetable servings criteria for the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo as well as Unilever’s own Eat Smart Drink Smart recipe program which helps consumers identify better-for-you recipes using products from Unilever.
Recipes include Asian Vegetable Noodle Salad, Chicken Vegetable Rollatini and Greek Chicken with Rice (recipes attached). In addition, Chicken and Artichoke Alfredo, Chicken Rice Vegetable Soup, Southwestern Tortilla Soup, Vegetable Risotto, and Veggie Taco Pie also meet Unilever’s Eat Smart Drink Smart recipe criteria. All recipes can be found on-line at knorr.com.
“As American’s tastes and nutritional needs evolve, Knorr has made a strong commitment to enhance both the appeal and nutritional profile of our portfolio. This is especially important as consumers are being encouraged to eat more vegetables, whole grains and fiber,” said Sands.
As the Produce for Better Health Foundation continues to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables through its new Fruits and Veggies — More Matters program indicating that all forms of fruits and vegetables including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent juice, count towards meeting the recommended intakes. Moreover, studies by the National Cancer Institute call for the increased consumption of vegetables. The studies conclude that most Americans need to double their fruits and vegetables intake in order to meet the recommendations for a 2,000 kcal diet further demonstrating the need for products such as Knorr Sides® Plus Veggies™ to provide more convenient solutions for families.
Knorr Sides® Plus Veggies™ come in six chef-inspired flavors including Alfredo Pasta Primavera, Teriyaki Noodles with Asian Vegetables, Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and Broccoli Rotini, Southwestern Style Rice, Cheddar Rice with Broccoli and Carrots and Roasted Chicken with Rice. Knorr® Sides Plus Veggies™ provide shelf-stable vegetables that can be stored and then prepared in 9-12 minutes. They can be used as a side dish to accompany a meal, or as part of a nutritious recipe. They have a suggested retail price of $1.99 — $2.29 and are currently shipping nationally.
*US Dietary Guidelines recommend 5 servings per day (1 serving=1/2 cup). Sodium content in pre-packaged and dried foods is generally higher relative to other foods. Refer to the nutrition panel on the back of each Knorr Side Dish for sodium content. At Unilever, we are working diligently to reduce the levels to be as low as possible. In fact, we have already brought the sodium content down from previous years and are looking at alternative spices and flavors — as well as the addition of vegetables and whole grains — to continue making the dishes as optimal and tasty as possible.
The largest brand within Unilever with $4 billon in sales globally, Knorr is defined by its passion for great food. The history of the Knorr brand dates back to 1838 when Carl Heinrich Knorr pioneered experiments in drying seasonings and vegetables to preserve their flavor and nutritional value. Knorr has grown to become a well-loved, global brand with a wide range of bouillons, soups, sauces, snacks and ready-made meals that help people around the world enjoy the taste and flavor of good food.
Families have been enjoying Lipton sides for decades. Knorr and Lipton joined forces in August 2005 to leverage the culinary expertise, range of flavors and dedicated chefs of the Knorr
There is nothing technically wrong with what the release says, but it is not exactly clear consumers will understand that despite the liberal use of the names of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters program and even the National Cancer Institute, this entire promotion is about a product that does NOT qualify for use of the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters logo.