Archive For The “Health” Category

Fresh Produce Spending for 2017 is Up, But Trails Food Spending

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While consumer spending on fruit and vegetables increased in 2017, it still trailed the percentage hike in overall spending on food.

The data is found in the 2017 Consumer Expenditures report published by The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall total consumer spending increased 4.8 percent in 2017, following an increase of 2.4 percent in 2016. The report said the average annual expenditures by consumer units increased from $57,311 in 2016 to $60,060 in 2017. 

Spending on fruits and vegetables totaled $837 in 2017, an increase of 6.9 percent compared with 2016, which compares a 7.3 percent increase in spending on all food.

Food-at-home spending rose 7.3 percent to $4,363 while food-away-from-home spending rose 6.7 percent to $3,365, according to the CE report. The percentage of total expenditures on food was reported at 13 percent in 2017, the same share as the previous three years.

The mean average spending across all consumer units was $274 for fresh vegetables and $314 for fresh fruit. The share of fresh produce purchases compared to all consumer expenditures was 0.5 percent for fresh vegetables and 0.5 percent for fresh fruit.

By the age of consumers, for example, top spending consumers for fresh fruit were in the 45 to 54 age bracket, with mean expenditures of $378 or 2017. That compares with just $176 spend on fresh fruit for consumers aged under 25.
For fresh vegetables, the 35 to 44-year-old age group was top rated, with 2017 mean expenditures of $329 compared with $138 for consumers under age 25.

Not surprisingly, the report said that top spenders on fresh produce were top earners. Consumers making more than $200,000 per year spent an average of $529 on fresh vegetables, compared with $140 for those making less than $15,000. But consider the consumer making less than $15,000 was spending 0.6 percent of income on fresh vegetables, compared with 0.3 percent for the consumer making more than $200,000.

There is more micro-analysis where that came from. The report shows spreadsheets for spending by income before taxes by quintile, decile, and range; age of the reference person; size of the consumer unit; composition of the consumer unit; number of earners; housing tenure (homeowner or renter) and type of area (urban or rural); region of residence; occupation; highest education level of any consumer unit member; race; Hispanic or Latino origin; and generation of reference person.

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New Research Examines Effects of Blueberry Consumption on Heart Health

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By U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

FOLSOM, Calif. – A new research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants with metabolic syndrome who consumed the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries, given as 26g of freeze-dried blueberries, showed clinically relevant changes in measures of heart health. The study, “Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome – results from a 6-month, double blind, randomized controlled trial,” was conducted at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other UK institutions.

The study found that intake of the equivalent of one US cup per day of blueberries (given as 26g freeze-dried blueberries) resulted in clinically significant improvements in heart health measures, particularly markers of vascular function (blood flow and elasticity of the blood vessels by measuring endothelial function and arterial stiffness). Improved endothelial function and reduced arterial stiffness are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.[i]Importantly, the observed increases in nitric oxide bioactivity in the blood provided a potential mechanism for the endothelial function benefits observed.

Intake of one cup of blueberries per day also resulted in significantly increased HDL-C levels, also known as “good cholesterol,” compared to the placebo. Additional lipid biomarkers researched in the study support these findings, such as significant increases in HDL particle number and APO-A1 levels, which are other predictors of heart disease risk.

Insulin resistance, pulse wave velocity, blood pressure, and other lipid levels (including total cholesterol) were unaffected by any of the interventions. There were also no observed clinical benefits from the intake of one-half cup of blueberries in this at-risk participant group.

Over a six-month period, 115 participants (78 men and 37 women) between the ages of 50 and 75 with metabolic syndrome, were randomly assigned to receive one of three daily treatments: 26g freeze-dried blueberries (the equivalent of one US cup/d); 13g freeze-dried blueberries (the equivalent of one-half US cup/d); or a placebo powder matched for color, taste and consistency. All study subjects were instructed to limit intake of other anthocyanin (the main natural flavonoid constituent present in blueberries) containing foods to one portion per week and other foods known to modify vascular function. Participants also refrained from blueberry intake beyond the assigned daily treatments.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors which includes low levels of HDL-C, or “good cholesterol,” high blood pressure, increased abdominal obesity, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressurerisk for heart disease and other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and stroke.[ii] It represents a health challenge that impacts more than one-third of the U.S. population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Americans living with metabolic syndrome substantially increased from 25 percent between 1999 and 2006 to 34.2 percent between 2007-2012.[iii]

“The results of this study provide the first evidence from a long-term study examining the impact of blueberry intake on clinically relevant measures of cardiometabolic health,” said Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., Head of Nutrition & Preventive Medicine Department and Chair of Nutritional Biochemistry at Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia and the study’s lead investigator. “While the conclusions drawn are from a single study that cannot be generalized to all populations, the data add weight to the evidence that a dietary intervention with a realistic serving of blueberries may be an effective strategy to decrease important risk factors for heart disease.”

The research was funded by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). The USHBC had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the study. For more information on blueberry nutrition research visit blueberrycouncil.org/health-professionals/health-research/.

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About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture 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.

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Introducing Wonder Melon, the Newest in Trend-Forward Healthy Beverages

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By Kayco

Bayonne, NJ  – The consumers have spoken. Watermelon, one of today’s fastest-trending fruits, has enjoyed triple-digit growth in casual and fine dining. Demand for the refreshing summer staple is on the rise even in the fall and winter months. It’s a must for any mixologist and you’ll find it on one in 10 restaurant menus.

Most of all, people just love watermelon – and they know it’s good for them. 

KAYCO (www.kayco.com) is taking the beverage industry by storm with Wonder Melon™the latest thirst-quencher for those seeking clean, uniquely flavorful new refreshment options. Wonder Melon™ is made from 100% organic cold-pressed juice with no added sugar, artificial ingredients, or artificial colorings.

This healthy game-changer comes in two exciting varieties. Watermelon Cucumber Basil is a delightfully cool concoction of real watermelon juice, lemon juice, apple juice, cucumber juice, and basil, with only 80 calories per 8.45 oz. bottle. Watermelon Lemon Cayenne wakes up the taste buds with real watermelon juice, lemon juice, apple juice, and a dash of cayenne at just 100 calories per 8.45 oz. bottle.

“Wonder Melon™ perfectly captures what consumers are looking for right now,” says Kim Cassar, Kayco’s EVP Sales & Marketing – Beyond Division.  “It’s not only healthful and out of the ordinary, but also undeniably trendy and irresistibly delicious. We’re confident that Wonder Melon™ will make a huge splash this summer.”

Both varieties are non-GMO verified, certified Fair Trade, USDA organic, and certified OU kosher (parve). Packaged 6 bottles per case ($3.99/bottle MSRP), Wonder Melon™ is available in the refrigerator section at Shop-Rite, Fairway, Best Market, independent grocers and Amazon.

Promotional Blitz

Kayco is supporting the Wonder Melon™ brand in New York City with an aggressive outreach campaign at the height of cold beverage season. Look for the following promotions:

·         Segments on Time Warner Cable’s A Taste of New York, targeting affluent, influential, and educated New Yorkers. This spot will also be featured on A Taste of New York’s web site, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest site and Instagram.Sneak Peak –  https://vimeo.com/tasteofny/download/340913533/0963707776

·         Eye-catching Wonder Melon™ Vans will cruise the steamy summer streets with refreshing samples for thirsty Manhattanites starting July 12 and running all summer. Check Wonder Melon’s™ social media for dates and locations.

·         Giant Wonder Melon™ trucks will roll out the product – literally – to provide additional exposure.

·         In-store support including tastings and point-of-purchase materials.

Watermelon Stats

According to Menu Trends research by the Watermelon Board:

·         All regions across the U.S. are experiencing increased use of watermelon.

·         Watermelon is featured in one of 10 menus – up by 27 percent in the last four years.

·         Watermelon is one of the fastest fruit flavors in non-alcoholic beverages, with 29 percent four-year growth.

·         82 percent of consumers surveys said they liked the taste of watermelon.

Wonderful Watermelon Facts

Watermelon’s 92 percent water content is excellent for hydration. It contains a bounty of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals associated with the following:

·         Digestive health

·         Eye, skin, and hair health

·         Sun protection

·         Diabetes protection

·         Heart and blood vessel health

·         Weight loss

·         Combating asthma

·         Weight loss

·         Nerve function

·         Reduction of inflammation

Wonder Melon™ Recipes:

Cucumber Cooler 

2 oz cucumber mint vodka

1/2 oz lemon juice

.25 oz simple syrup

2 oz Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, Cucumber and Basil

Splash cucumber juice

Pineapple Punch

2 oz pineapple infused vodka

1.5 oz Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, lemon, and cayenne

Splash simple syrup

.5 oz pineapple juice

.5 oz peach schnapps

Summer Refresher 

2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. Watermelon juice

1/4 oz. Simple syrup

1 oz. Lemon juice

1 oz. Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, Cucumber and Basil

Sugar rim

Wonder Melon Rita

2 oz. Tequila

1 1/2 Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, lemon, and cayenne

1 oz. Lime juice

1 Packet of sugar

Top with water, blueberries and mint leaves

 About Kayco Beyond

Kayco is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of kosher foods. Its expanded Kayco Beyond Division sources and distributes new products to the general market beyond kosher, to meet the demands of consumers looking for optional products that are healthful, convenient and/or for restricted diets and lifestyles. These brands include Dorot, Absolutely Gluten Free, Beetology, Mighty Sesame, Tuscanini Foods, Wissotzky Tea Co. and new Wonder Melon™. They are headquartered in Bayonne, NJ. (www.KAYCO.com).

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A Consumer’s Costs to Meet Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations

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by Hayden Stewart and Jeffrey Hyman, USDA, ERS

Every 5 years, USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services release a new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with information and recommendations about how individuals can achieve a healthy diet. During 2019, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee—composed of nutritionists, physicians, and public health researchers—has been meeting to discuss new research and advances, which might be incorporated into the upcoming, next version of the guidelines.

The current 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people needing 2,000 calories per day include 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables in their daily diets. USDA food consumption surveys find that the average American falls far short—consuming only 0.9 cups of fruit and 1.4 cups of vegetables per day. Individuals choose foods based on taste, convenience, cost, and other factors, in addition to Federal dietary recommendations. Cost, in particular, has been cited as a possible barrier to higher fruit and vegetable consumption, especially for low-income households.

To inform policymakers, nutritionists, and other researchers about how much money it costs Americans to eat a sufficient quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables, ERS researchers periodically report average costs per cup equivalent for a large set of commonly purchased fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. ERS updated these costs in 2018 using 2016 retail price data.

ERS Calculates Average Consumer Cost

At the grocery store, fruits and vegetables are sold in many forms, including canned, frozen, dried, juiced, and fresh products. ERS researchers calculate average costs to consume 24 fresh fruits, 40 fresh vegetables, 38 processed fruits, and 52 processed vegetables (including legumes), measured in cup equivalents. When the Dietary Guidelines recommends daily cups of fruits and vegetables, it is referring to cup equivalents. For most fruits and vegetables, a cup equivalent is the amount of the edible portion of a fruit or vegetable (e.g., minus pits or peels) that will fit in a standard 1-cup measuring cup. But not always. Some foods are more concentrated, and some are more airy or contain more water. A cup equivalent for lettuce and other raw leafy vegetables is 2 cups; for raisins and other dried fruits, it is one-half cup.

Costs Vary Widely

Eight out of 62 fresh and processed fruits cost less than 40 cents per cup equivalent in 2016, and another 21 fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent. Fresh whole watermelon, at 20 cents per cup equivalent, and apple juice (made from concentrate), at 26 cents, were the lowest priced fruits, while fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and canned cherries were the most costly.

A greater share of vegetables (77 percent) than fruits (47 percent) cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent. Among all 92 fresh and processed vegetables examined, ERS researchers found that heads of Romaine lettuce, fresh whole carrots, canned green beans, and 13 other products cost less than 40 cents per cup equivalent in 2016, while 55 vegetables, including canned whole kernel corn, fresh whole mushrooms, and canned tomatoes, cost between 40 and 79 cents. Fresh asparagus, at $2.47 per cup equivalent, was the priciest of the 92 vegetables examined, and dried pinto beans were the least expensive, at $0.17 per cup equivalent.

Recommended eating patterns depend on a person’s age, gender, and level of physical activity. Fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and 100-percent juice count equally toward recommended intakes for both fruits and vegetables. However, Americans are encouraged to consume more whole fruit (raw, canned, or frozen) than juice to raise intake of dietary fiber. They are also encouraged to eat a variety of vegetables from each of five subgroups: legumes, dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables.

Using estimates of each product’s 2016 cost-per-cup equivalent, ERS researchers priced out different combinations of popular fresh and processed fruits and vegetables that would satisfy recommendations for a person on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. Each daily combination includes 2 cup equivalents of fruit and 2.5 cup equivalents of vegetables, distributed among different vegetable subgroups, such as dark green, red and orange, and starchy vegetables, as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines. A previous ERS analysis based on 2013 prices revealed that 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables could be obtained for about $2.10 to $2.60. Retail fruit and vegetable prices rose 2.2 percent from 2013 to 2016, and then a modest 0.4 percent during 2017 and 2018. The analysis using 2016 price data indicated it was still possible to satisfy the Dietary Guidelines’ fruit and vegetable recommendations, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, for about $2.10 to $2.60 per day.

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Report Trends Plant-Based Protein for Vegetables

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Vegetable protein is included in a recent report by the Food Marketing Institute, which has those in the fruit and vegetable industry looking at how it can cash in on consumers who sometimes substitute meat protein with plant protein.

The FMI report notes 73 percent of consumers sometimes serve vegetable protein instead of animal protein in its Power of Produce report. Leading the trend are millennials and Gen Z.

Among those groups, 83 percent occasionally use plant-based protein, compared to only 59 percent of baby boomers.

Income plays a role affecting plant-based protein consumption, with 80 percent of households making $75,000 or more using it, versus 63 percent of households making $35,000 or less.

Including plant-based protein is also more common in households with children — 81 percent compared to 66 percent in households without kids at home, per FMI.

Additionally, integrating plant-based protein is popular among shoppers who engage in other produce department trends, including those who buy organic (86 percent use plant protein at least occasionally), those who buy local produce (85 percent), and those who buy produce online (86 percent).

“Leveraging nutrition attributes, including protein, is another important way for category growth,” FMI wrote in its report. “Protein is one of the most popular nutrition-related callouts across the entire store. The move to more of a flexitarian lifestyle has resulted in the rise of plant-based protein as an occasional alternative to meat protein, as evidenced by the survey data as well as retail measurement data.

“Nielsen found that plant-based meat alternatives have seen 20 pecent growth over the past year, with sales topping $3.3 billion,” FMI wrote.

The plant-based movement is easy to identify on Instagram, where millions of posts include hashtags related to the eating style.

Even though fruits and vegetables are plants, conversation around plant-based diets typically revolves around substituting items that aren’t plant-based with similar alternatives. Because of the popularity of the plant-based movement, however, produce has been looking to push its appeal to people exploring plant-based eating.

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Partnership to Fight Food Waste is Announced by Feeding America, Feeding Texas

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By Collaborative for Fresh Producee

DALLAS — Feeding America®, Feeding Texas and the Collaborative for Fresh Produce (Collaborative) have announced an exciting partnership to address hunger and food waste in the Southwest and develop a regional model that can be scaled nationally.

Beginning June 14, 2019, Feeding America, through a grant to Feeding Texas, which launched the Collaborative in 2018, will become the newest investor in the Collaborative for Fresh Produce. Feeding America’s investment will support the Collaborative as it hones a sustainable model to partner with commercial farmers and food banks to efficiently collect and distribute donations of imperfect and surplus produce to hungry families in Texas and across the Southwest region.

“At Feeding America, we are regularly searching for innovative approaches to solve hunger and ensure that more people have access to fresh produce, crucial for a healthy lifestyle,” said Anne Swanson, vice president of fresh produce sourcing at Feeding America. “We believe strongly in the potential of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce and, as a result, are very pleased to provide significant funding and resources to Feeding Texas to support the Collaborative’s great work.”

The Collaborative for Fresh Produce was founded because one in eight Americans struggles with hunger yet an estimated 20 billion pounds of edible fresh produce are wasted each year. To tackle this issue, the Collaborative uses state-of-the-art technology and optimizes supplychain logistics to offer growers, shippers and wholesalers an outlet to address large-scale quantities of surplus produce and to provide a low-cost option to food banks as they source fresh produce for their communities.  The Collaborative funds its operations through the generosity of its donors in addition to a 1 cent per pound processing fee paid by food banks.

In fiscal year 2019, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce anticipates distributing approximately 60 million pounds of fresh produce donated by more than 65 growers and shippers, mainly located in Texas.  This produce will then be accessed by more than 25 food banks in a six-state region: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  These food banks supply thousands of non-profit agencies and pantries serving millions of people struggling with hunger in their communities.

“We’re so pleased that Feeding America has recognized the Collaborative’s pioneering work and wants to take a leadership role in developing a national model for our country’s agricultural community and its nationwide network of food banks,” said Lyda Hill, of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the founding funder of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce. “Our goal from the outset was to work in tandem with food banks across the nation to create a scalable model, and Feeding America is ideally positioned to do just that.”

To avoid confusion with donors and food banks, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce, in partnership with Feeding America, will now take a supporting rather than a leading role in developing a national model and will continue to operate with a focus on the recovery of Texasgrown produce. Feeding Texas, the statewide network of Feeding America food banks in Texas, will support the Collaborative in developing the model and be its liaison to Feeding America.

“Feeding Texas was very honored to have piloted this program in Texas before spinning it off to become the Collaborative for Fresh Produce,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “We are committed to sustaining the long-term health of the organization and are now proud to shepherd it into this growth phase.”

Due to these changes, Simon Powell, president and CEO, and Jim Farley, CFO, of the

Collaborative for Fresh Produce will step down from the day-to-day leadership and operations.  Beginning June 14th, Dale Long, currently the Collaborative’s executive vice president of sourcing will become interim executive director. Rhonda Sanders, CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank and board member of the Collaborative, will lead the transition efforts.

“We are delighted to see this effort gather this critical support from Feeding America,” said Jim

Bildner, CEO of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and chairman of the board of the Collaborative.  “In addition, we would like to thank Simon and Jim who have been so instrumental in the formation of the Collaborative during this first year. Their dedication and passion to solve hunger and address food waste is to be applauded and we are extremely grateful for their service.”

To learn more about how to donate fresh produce to the Collaborative, contact Dale Long at dale@cfproduce.org or 469-858-6190, or to make a financial contribution contact Celia Cole at ccole@feedingtexas.org or 512-527-3624.

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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, Feeding America provides meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us onFacebookor follow us onTwitter.

About Feeding Texas

Feeding Texas (www.feedingtexas.org) is the statewide network of food banks. Its mission is to lead a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Feeding Texas works collaboratively to ensure adequate nutritious food for communities in Texas, improve the health and financial stability of the people served, and engage all stakeholders in advocating for hunger solutions in support of this mission.

About Collaborative for Fresh Produce

Founded in 2018, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce is a non-profit organization that is partnering with commercial farmers and food banks to fight hunger by fighting food waste.  Through the use of state-of-the-art technology and optimized supply-chain logistics, the Collaborative created a sustainable model to efficiently collect and distribute donations of imperfect and surplus produce that can be accessed by our nation’s food banks and the hungry families they serve.  Founding funders include Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. For more information, go to www.cfproduce.orgor e-mail FreshProduce@cfproduce.org.

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Study Sheds Light on Who Buys Produce and Why

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Shoppers of produce who purchase fresh cut (referred to value-added) items often or whenever possible tend to fall into several categories.

Core value-added shoppers were found by The Food and Marketing Institute in a study found that 47 percent have a six-figure household income, 47 percent make three or more shopping trips a week, and 43 percent order produce online. The results have been released in the 2019 Power of Produce report.

Additonally, 40 percent of core value-added buyers are also core local buyers, and 36 percent are also core organic buyers.

“Core value-added shoppers are interesting to retailers, with above-average spending and weekly trips,” FMI wrote in the report. “Much like seen in organic, the presence of children is a point of entry, particularly among high-income shoppers. In urban areas, expanded assortment is likely to do well, including organic value-added assortment and kid-focused solutions.”

Two years ago, 20 percent of shoppers fell into that category. Now the number is 28 percent.

“Despite the increase in purchase frequency, there is significant room for growth, with 64 percent of shoppers being occasional users, at best,” FMI wrote. “Overall, value-added users skew toward higher-income shoppers, older millennials, often with young kids living at home.”

The core value-added shoppers reported several variables that would prompt them to purchase more — better prices (57 percent), longer shelf-life (39 percent), greater assortment (39 percent), greater variety of flavors (36 percent) and better organic offering (32 percent).

Many consumers who land in the category of sometimes buying value-added produce are Gen X (47 percent). Within that periphery group, 49 percent eat fresh fruits and vegetables 4-5 days a week, 47 percent make two trips a week, and 47 percent have a household income of less than $35,000.

For that shopper segment, key triggers to buy more were better prices (63 percent) and longer shelf-life (37 percent), according to the report.

Among consumers who hardly ever buy value-added produce, many are baby boomers (37 percent), limited-assortment shoppers (31 percent), two-person households (33 percent) and people who eat produce less than three times a week (35 percent).

In that group, 58 percent said better prices would prompt them to buy more, but 17 percent said they were unlikely to buy more regardless of changes made.

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StixFresh’s Sticker Aims to Extend the Freshness of Your Fruit

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By StixFresh

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Every year, up to 50 percent of all food produced worldwide goes to waste. Experienced across the entire supply chain, the negative financial and environmental consequences of these losses are massive. Fruits and vegetables account for the largest portion of wasted food in terms of mass.

Seeking to reduce this food waste that makes up a significant amount of today’s landfills, StixFresh, (https://www.stixfresh.com/), has developed a new, simple way of helping reduce our carbon footprint and foster more responsible stewardship of the immense amount of natural resources required to grow our food. 

StixFresh’s solution? A sticker that can keep fruits fresh for up to two weeks longer. Just apply the sticker to the fruit and let the all-natural compound contained on the sticker create a protective layer around the fruit that will increase its shelf life.

The scientists at StixFresh have used what plants naturally secrete to protect themselves from harmful environmental conditions and applied this formulation to the surface of their stickers. Composed of an all-natural formula of specially sourced beeswax and other natural ingredients, the coating on the stickers has been independently tested and scientifically shown to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer.

StixFresh Co-Founder and CEO, Moody Soliman, further elaborates on this novel process, stating that, “the repurposed compounds work together to create a protective layer around the fruit, thus naturally slowing down spoilage and over-ripening. By slowing down these processes, we can extend the freshness of many fruits by up to an incredible two weeks. Further independent studies have also shown that fruits treated with the StixFresh sticker show increased sweetness, higher retention of moisture, and sustained cellular structure resulting in increased firmness.”

StixFresh provides a post-harvest solution that is:

  • Simple: StixFresh is minimally invasive with no need to inject or coat the fruit with anything. Easily peel and place StixFresh stickers on apples, pears, avocados, dragon fruits, star fruits, kiwis, mangos, oranges, and other citrus fruits to help keep them firm, sweet and juicy.
  • Effective: Through countless comparative tests, StixFresh has proven to deliver incredible results, extending the shelf-life of fruit for up to two weeks.
  • Safe: Keep your fruit fresh longer without chemicals. StixFresh is made of all-natural ingredients which meet GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) requirements in accordance with the FDA.

StixFresh was recently selected as a finalist for three categories at the 2019 World Food Innovation Awards and took home the award for Best Packaging Technology and Best Sustainability Initiative.

Originally developed by Malaysian inventor, Zhafri Zainudin, StixFresh stickers currently work with apples, pears, avocados, dragon fruits, star fruits, kiwis, mangos, oranges, and other citrus fruits, but the team at StixFresh are actively working on the application of their sticker for additional fruits and vegetables, such as berries, bananas, and tomatoes.

About StixFresh

StixFresh’s mission is to develop and commercialize groundbreaking and innovative technologies that will significantly reduce food waste via all-natural methods. In addition to fruits and vegetables, they hope to expand to providing food waste reduction solutions across the many food and agricultural industries.

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Studies Show “Dirty Dozen” Recommendations Unsupportable, Verify Produce Safety

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Since 1995, an activist group has released a so-called “dirty dozen” produce list.  However, peer reviewed studies show this list’s recommendations are not scientifically supportable while other studies show it may negatively impact consumers since it discourages purchasing of any produce – organic or conventional.

“There are many ways to promote organic produce without resorting to disparaging the more accessible forms of fruits and veggies that the science has repeatedly shown are safe,” says Teresa Thorne, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), which represents organic and conventional farmers of fruits and vegetables.  “For example, the AFF has awebpage at safefruitsandveggies.com with lots of positive information for consumers about organics,” she adds. 

“It is time to stop calling non-organic forms of healthy fruits and veggies ‘dirty’ and perpetuating unfounded safety fears that may negatively impact  consumers’ purchasing of both organic and conventional produce,”  Thorne says. 

Some key studies about produce safety and nutrition include:

  • A study specifically examined the risk/benefit of consuming a diet rich in conventionally grown produce and pesticide residue exposure.  That study determined that if half of all Americans increased their consumption of a fruit and vegetable by a single serving each day,20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year.  The study authors concluded that the overwhelming difference between benefit and risk estimates provides confidence that consumers should not be concerned about cancer risks from consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Peer reviewed research has shown that the author’s “dirty dozen” list recommendation to substitute organic forms of produce for conventional forms did not result in a decrease in consumer risk, because residues are so low on conventionally grown produce, if present at all. 
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) residue sampling program both found that more than 99 percent of the produce sampled had residues far below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety levels, if present at all.  The USDA stated in their report summary:  “Based on the PDP data, consumers can feel confident about eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.”
  • An analysis conducted by toxicologists with the University of California’s Personal Chemical Exposure Program found a child could eat hundreds to thousands of servingsof a fruit or vegetable in a day and still not have any health effects from residues.  For kale, a woman could eat 18,615 servings in a day and a child could consume 7,446 servings.

Thorne adds that there are decades of nutritional studies largely conducted using conventionally grown produce which conclude that a diet rich in fruits and veggies prevents diseases, improves health and increases lifespan.

“Sinceonly one in 10 Americanseat enough fruits and vegetables each day, it is important to promote consumption and support public health efforts to encourage healthier diets instead of creating unnecessary fears about eating non-organic fruits and vegetables, which are wholesome, safe and more affordable,” Thorne says.

For consumers who may still be concerned about residues, the FDA sayswashing your produceunder running tap water often removes or eliminates any residues on organic and conventionally grown produce that may be present.

To learn more about the safety of all fruits and vegetables visit safefruitsandveggies.com or our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers.  Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers.  Our mission is to deliver credible information about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.
 
A gift from the Alliance for Food and Farming to the Illinois Institute of Technology, Center for Nutrition Research helped fund the research published in the peer review journal, Nutrition Today. However, the AFF was uninvolved in any facet of the study nor were we made aware of the study findings until after the paper was peer reviewed and accepted by the journal.

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Organic Produce Sales Total $5.6 Billion in 2018

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Organic fresh produce is booming despite total grocery store dollar growth may have climbed only two percent in the last year.

The Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Nielsen, have released new data showing organic produce sales have set new records, totaling $5.6 billion in 2018, far exceeding the status quo. And the year ended on a particularly high note as sales soared 13 percent the final week of the year.

The OPN notes it is particularly interesting is an impressive two-thirds of all produce commodity groups increased organic sales year-over-year which indicates this is not an isolated incident. At the same time, organic growth occurred in these three categories despite a decline in conventional sales.

According to a press release, fresh produce represented 26 percent of total store organic sales, and a growth rate of 8.6 percent was on par with total store organic, suggesting a continued movement toward mainstream demand across product consumption.

Many popular organic categories exceeded $20 million in sales in 2018—among them organic bananas, apples, and grapes

In terms of absolute dollars, blueberries saw the greatest increase followed by prepackaged salads. Many popular organic categories exceeded $20 million in dollar growth—among them organic bananas, apples, and grapes.

“Although organic accounted for 10.1 percent of total produce sales, it’s driving a disproportionate amount of growth within the produce department,” said Matt Lally, Associate Director at Nielsen. “In total, 43 percent of total produce growth occurred from organic items which equates to an additional $450 million sold.”

OPN noted in its press release, organic isn’t a given recipe for success. Products like strawberries and tomatoes experienced far greater growth in the conventional offering, but a closer look reveals how important pricing is for these categories. Prices varied widely—ranging from $1.97 to $3.38 per pound between conventional and organic tomatoes and $2.26 to $4.26 for conventional and organic strawberries.

According to new information released by the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Nielsen, organic produce sales reached new heights, totaling $5.6 billion in 2018

“When you compare this difference with commodities that experience a high organic growth rate such as grapes, the difference is striking,” noted Lally “Conventional grapes rang in at $2.18 per conventional pound compared to $2.94 per organic pound. Clearly there’s a strong connection between the growth of organic and the price premium with its conventional counterpart.”

In addition to room for growth in the strawberry and tomato category, onions, bell peppers, watermelon, and mandarins are all disproportionately under-represented in organic sales compared to the total produce average. And OPN noted that making organics widely available during key periods like summer holidays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas is a great way to reach more shoppers.

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