Archive For The “Health” Category
by Jennifer Bond, USDA Economic Research Service
Chances are that if you order a side of fries at a restaurant, you need to specify whether you’re asking for white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Food trends that support the consumption of more healthful, colorful and unique foods have helped to encourage sales of sweet potatoes in the form of fries, chips, ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat preparations, expanding consumption of the orange tuber well beyond the holiday table.
Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes has grown considerably since 2000 with annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) rising from 4.2 pounds to reach a record-high 7.5 pounds in 2015. The marked rise in domestic demand has been encouraged by promotion of the health benefits of sweet potatoes – rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber. Expanded demand has also been supported by the increasing variety of sweet potato products available in restaurants and for home preparation.
To meet rising demand, sweet potato production has increased substantially in recent years, achieving a record-high production of 3.1 billion pounds in 2015. The 2015 harvest was a high-water mark in a 15-year trend of expansion that began in 2000 when U.S. production was just 1.3 billion pounds. In 2014 and 2015, sweet potato production increased by an average of about six percent per year.
Beyond U.S. borders, consumers are increasingly enjoying sweet potatoes and, like North Carolina, several of the other key growing States enjoy access to southern ports that provide a locational advantage for meeting export demand. With expanded sales to markets that include Canada and the United Kingdom, aggregate U.S. exports have steadily risen in recent years in parallel with climbing domestic demand.
In 2015, U.S. sweet potato exports reached a record-high 409 million pounds and exports for 2016 are poised to reach approximately the same level. Both internationally and here in the U.S., sweet potatoes are increasingly becoming a colorful addition to holiday-and everyday-dining tables.
by Fresh Solutions Network, LLC
San Francisco, CA – Fresh Solutions Network applauded the March 23rd episode of Dr. Oz – giving American’s “Permission to eat potatoes again” noting that potatoes are “nutrient power houses” that surprisingly pack about “100 calories per spud” and have zero grams of fat.
Dr. Oz opened his show handing potatoes out to the audience, correcting the misconceptions of “Tater Haters” with nutritional facts on America’s favorite side dish.
The low-carb diet craze damaged the reputation of the potato by creating the misconception that potatoes were “fattening” and unhealthy. As Dr. Oz and other notable experts in the medical and scientific community have clarified, potatoes have a number of nutritional benefits that may surprise consumers. In addition to being fat free, gluten-free, sodium free and low-calorie – potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, have more potassium than a banana or broccoli and are vegan and non-GMO.
“We are excited that consumers are finally hearing the great news about potatoes that those of us in the industry have known for a long time,” said Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network, “Products like Side Delights® fresh potatoes are a natural, healthy, family favorite side dish, and we expect to see an increase in purchasing habits as the medical community and consumer media help restore the reputation of the potato.”
The syndicated series is set to air its 10th season in 2018/2019. Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the show since its premier has called the show a “field guide in helping viewers navigate their path to wellness.”
About Fresh Solutions Network, LLC:
Fresh Solutions Network is a group of family owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato and onion industry better for everyone. FSN helps fresh potato and onion buyers grow their categories, maximize category investment, and increase sales. FSN delivers category insights, collaborative innovation and customized assortment. Fresh Solutions Network, LLC partners are: Sterman Masser, Inc. (Masser Potato Farms and Keystone Potato Products in Sacramento and Hegins, PA), Michael Family Farms, Inc. (Urbana, OH), Basin Gold Cooperative, Inc. (Pasco, WA), Green Thumb Farms, Inc. (Fryeburg, ME), Red Isle Potato Growers, Ltd. (Prince Edward Island, Canada), NoKota Packers, Inc. (Buxton, ND), Sun-Glo of Idaho, Inc. (Sugar City, ID) and Mack Farms (Lake Wales, FL).
by U.S. Apple Association
Falls Church, VA – Beyond everyday convenience and the wide range of varieties and apple products to choose from, apples also pack a nutritious punch, providing a daily dose of health benefits.
“National Nutrition Month, celebrated in March, is a good time to remind consumers that apples are a super food found in stores across the country,” said Korenna Wilson, Director of Consumer Health and Media Relations for USApple. “We continue to see studies that confirm the link between apple consumption and good health. This is a roundup of our favorites.”
The U.S. Apple Association offers 12 proven ways apples and apple products positively impact health, from head to toe, from the inside out, and through every stage of life:
- Lower LDL Cholesterol
Studies by the Arthritis Foundation found evidence to support claims that eating apples on a daily basis may lower levels of cholesterol as well as C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker of inflammation in the blood. Female participants who ate apples every day for six months saw lower LDL cholesterol levels by 23 percent as well as a 32 percent decrease in CRP (Arthritis Foundation, 2016).
- Improve Digestive Health
University of Denmark researchers discovered apples and apple products could boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria. The friendly bacteria in the intestines feed on pectin, a fiber found abundantly in apples (BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:13).
- Replace Daily Statin Use
Some cardiologists argue that statins do more harm than good, especially for those who do not already have heart disease. Instead, people would benefit from eating an apple a day to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases (BMC Medicine, 2016 14:4).
- Support Respiratory Health
A National Institutes of Health study reports that foods rich in fiber and flavonoids, found abundantly in apples, may reduce chronic productive cough and other respiratory symptoms (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med, 2004, 170: 279-287).
- Promote Heart Health
An Ohio State University study found that eating an apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL, the bad cholesterol, by 40 percent. A University of Florida study found eating two apples a day reduced LDL by 23 percent (Journal of Functional Foods, 2013).
- Strengthen Bone Health
A study published in the November 2010 online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that older women who eat plenty of fruits, including apples and apple products, along with vegetables and whole grains, may have a lower chance of bone fractures than those not getting their fill.
- Deliver a Dose of Vitamin C
Apples are a great source of vitamin C, which helps repair body tissue and provides antioxidants. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a large apple contains about 10.3mg of vitamin C, nearly 10 percent of the daily recommended dose.
- Protect Brain Cells
Research from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell suggests eating apples and drinking apple juice can be beneficial when it comes to improving brain health and diminishing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. With a balanced diet, apple and apple juice consumption may protect against oxidative brain damage that can lead to memory loss.
- Strengthen Muscles
A natural compound found in the apple’s skin, called ursolic acid, may help prevent muscle wasting that can result from aging and illness (Cell Metabolism, 2011, 13 (6): 627-638).
- Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Research from the United Kingdom reports children of mothers who eat apples during pregnancy are much less likely to exhibit symptoms of asthma at age five. Apples were the only food found to have a positive association with a reduced risk of asthma among a variety of foods consumed and recorded (American Thoracic Society, 2007).
- Lowers Risk of Certain Types of Cancer, including Breast, Pancreatic, Colon or Liver, Prostate and Colorectal
Apples are rich in antioxidants, especially quercetin, which have been identified to help inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation. In one study, the more apples per day a person ate, the less likely he/she was to develop colorectal cancer. The anti-cancer effect was seen even when a person had a low total consumption of fruits and vegetables, but consumed at least an apple a day (European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2010, 19(1):42-47).
- Help Maintain Optimal Weight
State University of Rio de Janeiro researchers studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss found that overweight women who ate the equivalent of three apples a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t eat the fiber-rich fruit (Nutrition, 2003, 19: 253-256). Furthermore, researchers at Harvard University found a higher intake of foods rich in flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins and flavonoids, all of which are found in apples, was associated with less weight gain among adults and may contribute to the prevention of obesity.
For more information on the health benefits of apples and apple products vist, USApple.org.
By Frieda’s Inc.
LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Food trendsetters and health experts continue to sing the praises of fermented foods such as Kimchi, Korean refrigerated pickled vegetables.
Consumer Reports, Thrillist, and Food Network’s Healthy Eats blog are among many trends lists that called out fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha (fermented tea), and kefir (yogurt-like drink) as this year’s hot items.
As more research reveals the correlation between good digestive health and overall wellness, dietitians and other health professionals continue to recommend adding fermented foods like kimchi to one’s diet for a healthy dose of probiotics.
“More shoppers are looking to eat better and are getting their recommendations from retail dietitians. We are definitely seeing that in our sales over the past few years,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce.
Frieda’s offers Nice & Mild “funky fresh” kimchi, Hot & Spicy kimchi that’s “fire in the bowl,” and “fiery and delish” Extra Hot kimchi—all with “friendly fermentation!”
“Kimchi is popular with the health and wellness set, as well as foodies everywhere,” said Caplan. “You can find recipes and pictures of kimchi in just about everything from Korean-inspired tacos and burgers to a Bloody Mary. Even the Idaho Potato Commission’s recent recipe contest winner is a kimchi potato recipe!”
Caplan also added, “The upcoming Chinese New Year promotion is a great opportunity to showcase this versatile fermented food along with other Asian vegetables.”
About Frieda’s Inc.
Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com.
By Hass Avocado Board
MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – February is American Heart Month – a critical time to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and the harmful consequences if ignored. As part of its four-year collaboration, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is teaming up with the American Heart Association during American Heart Month to encourage Americans to consume the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in an effort to improve the health of all Americans which is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease and stroke. American Heart Month comes on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that raw fruits and vegetables – including fresh avocados – now qualify for the “Dietary Saturated Fat and Cholesterol and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease” health claim.
As part of its American Heart Month support, HAB via its Love One Today® program is implementing a three-pronged approach to target consumers, general market and Hispanic media and health professionals through a variety of tactics that will help create and promote heart-check certified recipes and highlight the health benefits of avocados. This includes a recipe contest hosted by the American Heart Association open to consumers and health professionals, and supporting influencer and traditional media relations.
- The Take Avocado To Heart recipe contest, open February 9 – 27, encourages consumer and health professional participants to submit their favorite original heart healthy avocado recipes for the chance to win a variety of prizes, including the grand prize of $1,000. The official contest hashtag is #AddAvocado. Entry information can be found at heart.org/avocadorecipecontest.
- Influencer relations will take the form of a blogger network partnership, intended to not only promote participation in the recipe contest, but generate additional avocado recipes that are Heart-Check certified by the American Heart Association. The recipes will be housed on LoveOneToday.com.
- Traditional media relations will be enhanced by American Heart Association Ambassador and Go Red For Women spokesperson, Chef Hamlet Garcia.
- Facebook, Instagram and other engaging platforms will be used to further drive the heart healthy discussion on HAB and the American Heart Association’s social channels.
“American Heart Month is an ideal time to reinforce our relationship with the American Heart Association. In doing so, we are supporting their Healthy for Good movement, which aims to inspire Americans to create lasting change for better health,” said Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of the Hass Avocado Board. “The efforts during the month of February clearly demonstrate our commitment to finding new ways to showcase how avocados can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, boost heart health and ultimately save lives.”
For more information about how fresh avocados can help keep your heart healthy, visit Love One Today.
About the Hass Avocado Board
The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass avocados directs HAB’s promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Funding for HAB comes from Hass avocado producers and importers in the United States.
In 2010, HAB established a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. Fresh Hass avocados are a delicious, cholesterol-free, whole food source of naturally good fats. The Nutrition Research program is an integral part of Love One Today, HAB’s multi-year, science-based food and wellness education program. Love One Today encourages Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to increase fruit and vegetable intake.
Vienna, VA – Floundering on New Year’s resolutions? Need an excuse to get back on track? February is American Heart Month and the perfect time for a reset. The U.S. Apple Association agrees and recommends starting each day with apples, a habit proven by multiple studies to combat many of the factors that contribute to heart disease.
The U.S. Apple Association – which represents apple growers and producers nationwide – developed a new, heart healthy Apple Smoothie Bowl recipe to celebrate American Heart Month.
“People who regularly eat apples and apple products are more likely to have lower blood pressure, trimmer waistlines and reduced levels of oxidized LDL – the bad cholesterol,” said Korenna Wilson, Director, Consumer Health, USApple. “This year marks the first time the U.S. life expectancy has dropped in decades. There’s a renewed urgency to prevent heart disease, and incorporating apples into a regular diet is just one small step we can all take now.”
“An Apple Smoothie Bowl, a new spin on the traditional morning power drink, is not only heart healthy, it’s filling and packed with energy. This recipe stars apples, bananas, granola and kale, but the fruit and vegetable combinations are endless,” Wilson added.
“Apple Smoothie Bowls”
Developed by the Seaside Baker on behalf of USApple
Makes 1 large smoothie or two small smoothie bowls
- 1/2 small apple, cut in quarters-seeds and stem removed
- 3/4 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup ice
- Sliced apple and other fruit for garnish
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into bowls and top with granola and sliced fruit.
- Enjoy immediately.
About US Apple
U.S. Apple Association is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional associations representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, as well as more than 400 individual firms involved in the apple business. More information on the organization is available at USApple.org.
by Schmieding Produce
According to research from PaleoLeap, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 3.5 pounds, but overweight people gain an average of 5 to 10 pounds during this time frame. January is a key month for Americans to lose weight.
“We are extremely excited about the launch of our new 100 Calorie- Skinny potato product next week,” says Scott McDulin- Vice President of Marketing/Retail Sales with Schmieding Produce. During January, everybody wants to focus on health.
“We think the January timeframe is perfect since people are actively looking for diet friendly items to help with nutritional meal planning. The Skinny potato is a 100-calorie potato that offers consumers an opportunity to use smart portion control while keeping potatoes as part of a healthy diet,” mentioned McDulin.
Supermarkets are filled with 100-calorie packs of yogurt, pretzels, popcorn, snacks, etc. “Nabisco recently launched 100-calorie packs of Oreo’s,” shared McDulin. “It shows that the 100-calorie measurement resonates with today’s consumers so we wanted to add the same portion controlled serving to the potato segment.”
The serving size for this Non GMO potato is 4.8 oz. or 135g which equates to 100-calories. “Since it’s a natural product, not all potatoes will exactly have the same weight, but they will have a tight spec during sorting,” mentioned McDulin. Schmieding Produce sells the premium product in 3 lb. bags, offering approximately 10-12 potatoes in a bag.
Opportunities in declining Russet market
The development of the 100 Calorie- Skinny potato program is the result of the declining Russet market. “The potato industry is witnessing tremendous growth in the specialty segment with consumers increasingly demanding smaller, convenience-type of packs”, declared McDulin. Larger, 15 lb. bags are declining while growth of 5 lb. and 10 lb. bags is flat. “Breathing life into the Russet potato segment will provide us and the retailer tremendous incremental growth opportunities given the significant size of the overall Russet market. Today, Russets represent 53 percent of overall potato sales dollars. So, we are going to fish where the big fish are.”
Since only 8% of potatoes fit this size profile, it will be offered at a premium. Offered in conventional and organic, the suggested retail price of $1.99 per bag for conventional and will be promoted back to $1.49. The suggested retail price of the organic alternative will be $3.49 with a $2.99 ad. It is available in Hy-Vee and other select markets across the nation.
The United Fresh Start Foundation is launching a new community grants program to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
The new initiative will provide $25,000 in grants to local community organizations and groups that share the United Fresh Start Foundation’s commitment to increasing kids’ access to fresh produce, ensuring they develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. This effort extends the foundation’s work beyond the school day and will provide children with fresh fruit and vegetables after school, on weekends and during summer breaks.
“Food insecurity and obesity are major challenges for millions of children across the country,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We are proud of the work we have done in schools to increase fresh fruits and vegetables, but we know that many children need access when school is out. The program is designed to ensure kids have access throughout the day and the year.”
During a recent Produce Legends Dinner in New Orleans, the foundation announced the plans to launch the Community Grants Program. The foundation is committing $25,000 to the 2017 Community Grants Program. Grants will be available in various amounts up to $2,500. Applications will be accepted this spring and the recipients will be announced during the United Fresh Show this June in Chicago.
The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
There differing opinion by Americans on the value of organic foods and concerns about genetically modified (GM) foods, according to a new poll.
A poll of 1,480 adults nationwide found that 55 percent said organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown produce, while 41 percent said there’s no difference, says The Pew Research Center.
Nearly four out of 10 respondents said GM foods are worse for health than other foods, while almost 50 percent believe is no difference. Ten percent said GM foods are healthier, the researchers found.
Genetically modified foods come from plants, animals or microorganisms in which their DNA has been altered by technology.
“The data suggest that people’s divisions are linked to their interest in food issues and how they think food consumption ties to their well-being,” said Cary Funk, lead author and associate director of research at Pew.
“Their views are not driven by their political attitudes, their level of education, their household income, or where they live,” she noted in a center news release.
Some of the other survey results:
- Thirty-four percent said some of the food they eat is organic. Six percent said most of it is.
- Women care more than men about the issue of GM foods — 20 percent versus 12 percent, respectively. And they’re more pessimistic than men about the effect genetically modified foods may have on society.
- Broken down by age, 18- to 49-year-olds were more likely than older adults to consider organic produce better for health. Similarly, many more young adults said GM food is worse for health than non-GM food, compared with those 65 and older.
- Among those who care deeply about the issue of genetically modified foods, three-quarters consider GM foods worse for health, compared with 17 percent of those with little or no concern about GM foods.
The survey also found that 18 percent of respondents are focused on healthy and nutritious eating. These people are especially likely to believe that organic produce is healthier than regular produce.
Many respondents lack trust in scientists studying GM foods, the survey found.
More than one-third “say scientists do not understand the health effects of GM at all or not too well,” Funk said. Meanwhile, “just 19 percent of Americans say scientists understand the health effects of GM foods ‘very well.’ ”
by The NPD Group, Inc
Chicago — The continual parental reminder to “eat your vegetables” stuck with Millennials and Gen Zs because they are driving the growth in fresh and frozen vegetable consumption, but many of the parents who offered the reminder are not eating theirs, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Younger consumers, those under age 40, have increased the annual eatings per capita of fresh vegetables by 52 percent and frozen vegetables by 59 percent over the last decade. Boomers, ages 60 and up, on the other hand, decreased their consumption of fresh vegetables by 30 percent and frozen vegetables by 4 percent over the same period.
Increased consumption of fresh vegetables is an outcome of the shift to fresh foods among young consumers over the last decade. Generational change is partly responsible for the move to fresh as younger consumers are adopting fresh at a much earlier age than the generations before them. Millennials and Gen Zs will sustain the growth of fresh vegetable consumption as they age into their heaviest consumption years. Over the next several years fresh vegetable consumption is forecast to increase by 10 percent, an increase that will be tempered by the lower eating rates of Boomers, according to NPD Group’s
Frozen vegetable consumption, which was declining earlier this decade, is now on the rise due to the interest of more health-conscious Millennials and Gen Zs. Just as they did with fresh vegetable consumption, these younger consumers are eating more frozen vegetables than previous generations did at their ages. Although the category’s growth forecast is not as strong as fresh vegetables, consumption of frozen vegetables is forecast to increase by 3 percent through 2024.
“Vegetable consumption among younger consumers is a reflection of their more health-conscious eating behaviors,” says David Portalatin, vice president, food industry analyst at NPD Group and author of the recently published Eating Patterns in America. “Our research shows that their attitudes about eating vegetables will not shift as they age and go through their life stages. Their parents and grandparents, on the other hand, may need a reminder from the younger generations to eat their vegetables.”
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry.