FOLSOM, Calif. – The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is encouraging consumers to make heart-smart choices – like grabbing a boost of blue – in February for American Heart Month. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that blueberries can be part of eating patterns to improve heart health, especially as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. To promote more heart-healthy boosts of blue, USHBC is sharing blueberry recipes, nutrition information, research and more throughout the month. Health professionals in USHBC’s “Blue Crew” will also contribute original recipes, blog posts and social media content as part of the campaign.
American Heart Month serves as a valuable reminder to keep heart health top of mind, as heart disease continues to be a major health concern in the U.S. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, the most common; it decreases blood flow to the heart and can cause heart attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites heart disease as the leading cause of death among both men and women today.
One of the best ways to help fight heart disease is to maintain an overall healthy dietary pattern and lifestyle, according to the American Heart Association®. Blueberries are Heart-Check certified through the American Heart Association Heart-Check Food Certification Program. Each serving (a handful or cup) is a good source of fiber, which helps support heart health and digestive health. And, whether fresh or frozen, blueberries provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K and manganese.
“The heart is at the center of everything we do, and keeping it healthy isn’t just about exercise – it’s about nutrition, too. Blueberries are a heart-healthy choice, delivering a wide variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals,” said Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN, an internationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, author, and founder and owner of MV Nutrition. “Even better, every boost of blue is packed with flavor, and that’s important. When you enjoy what you eat, you’re more likely to stick to those healthy eating habits. Simple, delicious blueberries make it easy.”
The February promotion is USHBC’s first “power period” of 2023, which is part of Grab a Boost of Blue, a strategic positioning and call to action backed by new tools and consumer research for retailers. The Heart Health Month toolkit, available now, features plug-and-play social posts and digital ads, tip sheets, recipe cards and other resources. The toolkit will be promoted in USHBC’s health professional and consumer e-newsletters, along with a new consumer landing page. The Blueberries and Heart Health page provides blueberry health information and engages fans with an interactive quiz to find Heart-Check certified recipes tailored to their preferences.
USHBC also is engaging consumers through American Heart Month activations with 10 key blueberry retailers. In addition to vibrant blueberry displays, activations include a variety of consumer communications and resources unique to each retailer, such as feature ads, in-store audio ads and announcements, email blasts, social media activations, broadcast segments with local media, and more.
Several partnerships also will help amplify blueberry and heart health messaging – in February and beyond. During American Heart Month, USHBC will send an e-blast to WebMD’s 80,000 heart-health focused consumers, driving to them to the landing page and quiz, as well as a research-focused e-blast to SmartBrief’s eatrightPRO audience of registered dietitians and nutrition professionals. The Produce for Better Health website also will have a blueberry display ad and featured blueberry recipe. Later in the year, USHBC will participate in the American Heart Association’s 2023 Heart Challenge/Wall Street Run & Heart Walk in New York as a sponsor.
“Heart health is a serious topic, but we make it fun for consumers to form healthy habits – like taking a quiz to find heart-healthy blueberry recipes. A boost of blue makes every meal more nutritious and delicious,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “We’re always excited to partner with trusted health professionals and share simple, tasty ways to enjoy blueberries, supporting healthy hearts and happy taste buds.”
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture research and promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at blueberrycouncil.org.