Q&A: Meet the original Produce Mom

Departments - Consumer Corner

Lori Taylor turned a side project into a full-time career and passion centered around fresh fruits and vegetables.

March 1, 2018

Photo courtesy of The Produce Moms

Originally, The Produce Mom was Lori Taylor’s pet project at the Indianapolis Fruit Company. In her marketing position, Taylor developed the digital brand to help her then-employer improve its produce branding and play up produce’s importance in a healthy diet.

“There was not a comprehensive resource for consumers or produce industry professionals to learn about all of the different [options] in the produce department,” she says. “And I’m a mom in my real life. I wanted to learn more about the produce department, and I was hungry for a solution.”

Three years ago, however, the vision she saw for The Produce Mom became more than what the Indianapolis Fruit Company envisioned. So, Taylor bought the brand from the company and struck out on her own, eventually renaming it The Produce Moms. Below, she answers questions about the company’s evolution, its mission and the #ProduceChallenge.

Produce Grower: Why did you change the name from The Produce Mom to The Produce Moms?

Lori Taylor: It was inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s recent mission statement update at Facebook. Facebook changed its mission statement to put an emphasis on communities to build a better world. And when I read that, I thought, ‘We are in a position where we built a community and it’s united under the passion of fresh fruits and vegetables. We are also excited about introducing our two [new] produce moms. One is Candice, who has been recognized as one of America’s top African-American food bloggers. We are also bringing in Tara, who is a fitness instructor and dietician. They represent what I am not.

PG: How have The Produce Moms been able to challenge common misconceptions about fresh produce?

LT: We did a $10 produce [buying] challenge to show people the affordability of produce with Kroger. We made it a game. I had to buy one fruit, one vegetable and one organic item [with $10] and, as the series went on, we were able to take it a step further and include one locally grown item. It was a three-month long series on Facebook Live and that series drove the point home.

PG: Back when you were still The Produce Mom, the brand was known for the produce challenge, a monthly calendar that challenges people to eat a different produce item each day. What was the inspiration behind it?

LT: Approximately four years ago, we started the produce challenge, and it was inspired by my Facebook friends sharing things like the squat challenge, the plank challenge or the sit-up challenge. It was very much inspired by the fitness industry and things fitness industry influencers were doing to have people do one specific action. Each challenge came with positive messaging, too — stuff like ‘start a new healthy habit today.’ I participated in them myself, saw them rise in popularity and on social media and thought, ‘Wow, we need that in produce. We should be encouraging people to try all of the varieties in the produce section.’

For more information, visit theproducemom.com

This interview was edited for style and clarity.