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After years of encouraging Americans to grill, bake, mash, blend, spread and split bananas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, Dole is delivering a far simpler message to fans of the country's most popular fruit in 2013: Peel the Love.

posterThe three-word command serves as the theme of a bold, year-long Dole initiative stressing the fun, irreverence and universally beloved aspects of the iconic yellow fruit, which Dole grows more of globally than anyone else.

Elements of DOLE Bananas Peel the Love, which officially kicked off the second week of March, range from new banana recipes, serving, pairing and entertaining suggestions to an expanded social media presence capitalizing on Dole's almost 600,000 banana-loving Facebook and Twitter followers.

"In addition to their well-documented nutritional benefits, including new studies establishing them as an important energy source, bananas are also a lot of fun," Bil Goldfield, communications manager of Dole Fresh Fruit, based in Westlake Village, CA, said in a press release. "This campaign seeks to remind Americans of the simple pleasures of the fruit through a host of new recipes, pairing and serving suggestions suitable for both day-to-day and special occasions."

The new campaign comes on the heels of several years of programs touting scientific studies and less-conventional ways to enjoy the fruit such as on the grill, as a dinner entree or in a cocktail.

"For every banana fan interested in health information or an elaborate new dinner or dessert recipe, there are many more that eat bananas every day simply because they are quick, easy and fun," Mr. Goldfield added in the press release.

Dole is focusing messaging on health-, fitness- and lifestyle-oriented consumers nationwide and will partner with retailers and third-party brands to create traditional and digital tactics suggesting new serving, pairing and entertaining options.

Greater use of social media, including Facebook ads, promotions and videos, will help the brand leverage its more than 595,000 Facebook fans.

On the public relations side, Dole will continue to educate registered dieticians, supermarket nutritionists and food bloggers about the health, taste and convenience advantages of bananas through media appearances, tastings and educational summits.

The brand will also continue its celebration of "National Banana Split Day" on Aug. 25, 2013, through blogger promotions and a partnership with Latrobe, PA, the official birthplace of the iconic dessert.

Peel the Love Summer Food Truck Tour

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Dole will take its "Peel the Love" program on the road to banana-loving cities across the country. A brightly colored "Peel the Love" food truck, created specifically for the tour and staffed by healthy eating advocates, will stop at supermarkets, parks and other public and private venues to dispense samples, recipes, serving suggestions and fun information. Included in each city will be stops at schools, food kitchens and other nonprofits.

Additionally, Dole will partner with Blue Diamond Growers, which will promote its Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk as part of the tour.

"Pairing Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk and Dole bananas in delicious recipes is a fantastic combination," Suzanne Hagener, senior marketing manager of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, added in the press release.

Banana lovers will be able to learn more about Peel the Love and track the progress of the Peel the Love Food Truck and other program elements, at the DOLE Bananas website, Facebook and Twitter pages in May.