OPMA makes produce simple

Educational campaign teaches Ontario consumers about produce

An educational campaign is teaching growing numbers of Ontario consumers about how to pick, store and prepare fresh produce.

The Produce Made Simple campaign of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) has seen “extraordinary growth” in terms of visitors to its website and other online platforms, says Simone Weber, director of marketing and communications of the almost 300-member OPMA in Toronto.

Launched in 2013, the campaign’s Facebook page has now reached 10,000 followers, while there are about 4,000 on Pinterest and about 2,000 on Twitter. An Instagram account has just been launched as well. “Each month we are gaining more and more momentum.”

The sites give consumers regular updates on how to select, prepare and store a wide range of fruits and vegetables. As well, a weekly newsletter provides subscribers a roundup of the best items from the week.

The campaign gives consumers info on everything from how to store produce at home – on the counter or in the fridge or whether it should be kept in a paper or plastic bag – to the nutritional value of various fruits and vegetables.

A recent Produce Made Simple feature outlined the differences between turnips and rutabagas, says Weber. “Many consumers are often confused between the two,” she says, noting the piece received many comments. As well, a segment called “Goes Well With” describes ideal food pairings with produce.

The association works with members, food bloggers, photographers, nutritionists and celebrity chefs to create new content and recipes.

The campaign has included giveaways like blenders. In addition, there have been TV segments on City TV’s Breakfast Television Toronto on how to cook with parsnips and an upcoming segment will discuss cooking with mushrooms.

Discussions have been held with major grocers about bringing Produce Made Simple to Ontario stores. “So far we haven’t reached any stores but we would like to do that in the future,” Weber says.

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