Success for the X General Assembly and the I Professional “5 a day” Congress

Over a hundred members came together for the annual “5 a day” event which was held on 7th May in the Management Centre of Mercamadrid.

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This year, for the first time, the Association’s X General Assembly was followed directly by the First Professional Congress as well as the presentation of the “5 a day” awards. The new event included the participation of Professor José Luis Nueno from IESE and the results of the “5 a day panel for fruit and vegetable consumption”.

During the assembly, the Management Committee gave an overview of activities and the closing accounts of 2007 emphasising the positive results achieved in the last financial year after having overcome the difficult economic climate of recent years. After approval of the new budget, the action plan for 2008 was unveiled. As part of the planned educational activities, initiatives will be launched such as that of the “5 a day” song, an innovative project aimed at encouraging the consumption of fruit and vegetable among young children via games and music. On the other hand, in order to respond to the organisation’s growth needs and succeed in implanting the “5 a day” message across the country, the green light was given for the creation of regional “5 a day” programmes, a proposal under development.

The First Professional “5 a day” Congress was inaugurated by the IESE Professor José Luis Nueno, who explained his theories of “toxic environment” surrounding the fruit and vegetable sector and the path of least resistance or the prevalence of “junk” food (cheaper, more readily available and more heavily promoted) compared to healthy food (less readily available, worse in flavour and more expensive), which is creating problems when it comes to establishing the “5 a day” message.

As a possible solution to this “toxic environment”, the Professor emphasised the urgent need to mobilise public administration, establish fruit and vegetable consumption at an early age and change promotion techniques in points of sale with combined promotions, making produce more readily available and circulating leaflets promoting healthy habits.

Nueno’s enlightening data was complemented by a later presentation of the “5 a day Panel for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption”, a research study carried out by the company “Valores & Marketing”.

The day was rounded off by the presentation of the first “5 a day Prizes” in recognition of the commitments of companies and institutions to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

In order to recognise the support of public organisations with the association’s “5 a day” project, a prize was awarded to the Ministry for Environment, Rural and Marine Areas. The Director General of Industrial and Food Markets, Francisco Mombiela, accepted the award. Within this category, another award was presented to the European Commission, received by Agnieszka Gogolewska, a member of the Central Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Commission and responsible for the “School fruit and vegetable programmes”.

In a second category, recognition was given to all those initiatives directed at promoting fruit and vegetable consumption amongst the infant population. Prizewinners were AGEM (Asociación Gremial de Empresarios Mayoristas de Frutas y Hortilazas de Barcelona y Provincia) with their trophy being collected by their President, Casimiro Lorenç; and Mercabarna, which was represented by their Director, Montserrat Gil de Bernabé.

Asprocan (Asociacíon de Organizaciones de Productores de Plátanos de Canarias) also received an award in recognition of its promotional campaigns.

Finally, an honorary prize was awarded to the Association’s President, Joaquin Rey, in recognition of his professional dedication and personal involvement in the project.

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