Posts Tagged “dietary guidelines”

Vegetable Varieties Consumed have Expanded, Reports USDA

By |

The USDA in a new report has expanded the variety of vegetables Americans eat over in the last 20 yearst.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service, said from 2000 to 2019, dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables (excluding tomatoes), and legumes increased their combined share of the vegetables available to eat in the U.S. from 16% to 22%.

The total amount of vegetables available decreased by 4% from 417.4 pounds per capita to 400.1 pounds, coming off the low of 369.6 pounds in 2015, said researchers. The USDA’s food availability data for vegetables include fresh, frozen, canned and dried forms, all measured in fresh-weight equivalents, the report said.

Subgroups of vegetables seeing declines, included white potatoes and “other vegetables,” a subgroup containing 16 different vegetables. Availability of white potatoes fell from 138 pounds per capita to 119.1 pounds between 2000 and 2019, and other starchy vegetables fell from 31.3 to 21.2 pounds.

Availability of other vegetables fell from 93.6 pounds per capita to 83.7 pounds; the report said declines in head lettuce, cabbage, and beets in that subgroup were partially offset by increased availability of onions and cucumbers.

Other vegetable subgroups posted increases in supplies available to eat between 2000 and 2019. The red and orange subgroup (minus tomatoes, for which the USDA said availability has remained flat) had the largest increase in availability, growing from 35.1 pounds per capita to 49.0 pounds.

“In terms of growth in availability, sweet potatoes, chile peppers, and bell peppers were the leaders,” the report said.

The increase availability of dark green vegetables from 2000 to 2019 — led by a 47% jump in romaine and leaf lettuce — added variety to American’s vegetable choices. 

Higher supplies of kale, spinach, and broccoli also helped boost availability of dark green vegetables from 21.7 pounds per capita in 2000 to 27.5 pounds in 2019, the report said.

Read more »

Latest Dietary Guidelines Emphasize Importance of Vegetable Consumption

By |

By Potatoes USA

DENVER — “It’s official: the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans have yet again confirmed the importance of eating more vegetables such as potatoes that provide potassium and vitamin C.1

“The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations focus on increased nutrient-dense vegetable consumption. Americans can take simple steps toward eating healthier by choosing potatoes. As a nutrient-dense vegetable, potatoes support all three healthy eating patterns – Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian, and Healthy Mediterranean – defined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Potatoes’ versatility also means they can easily fit into meals across a variety of personal and cultural preferences for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“For the first time in the history of the committee’s guidance on nutrition and health, the Dietary Guidelines also covers specific recommendations for individuals under two years old, supporting potatoes as a healthy first food for babies and toddlers, as well.

“Potatoes are a good source of potassium, providing 15% of the daily value per serving in addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 30% of the daily value per serving. Vitamin C may help support the body’s immune system,2 which is likely to be especially top-of-mind for Americans as we head into 2021.

“What’s more, research shows that you’re likely to feel full for longer3-5 and support your body with the nutrients it needs when you choose good carbohydrates like potatoes. A serving of potatoes has 26 grams of high-quality carbohydrates that can help fuel an active lifestyle. Carbohydrates are the key fuel utilized by the brain and by muscles during exercise.6 Many Americans are moving to plant-based diets7 and obtaining enough high-quality protein is important in this process. Potatoes contain 3 grams of a complete protein that can easily be absorbed by the body.8,9

“Many Americans are struggling with food insecurity and are not meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.10 Research suggests that potatoes are an affordable, nutrient-dense vegetable that provides more nutrients per penny than most other vegetables.11

“Potatoes are a nutritious, affordable option that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways – including simple, delicious preparations with few ingredients, making them easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. For more information on potato nutrition and preparation please visit”

# # #

About Potatoes USA
Potatoes USA is the marketing organization for the 2,500 commercial potato growers operating in the United States. Potatoes USA was established in 1971 by a group of potato growers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. Today, as the largest vegetable commodity board, Potatoes USA is proud to be recognized as an innovator in the produce industry. For more information on Potatoes USA’s mission to “Strengthen Demand for U.S. Potatoes” by creating positive change in the industry through innovative and inspiring approaches, please visit

Read more »

A Consumer’s Costs to Meet Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations

By |

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.

Read more »

You Can Now Call Avocados ‘Healthy’ ..Finally

By |

avocadosby Hass Avocado Board

MISSION VIEJO, California – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new guidance for the use of the nutrient content claim “healthy” on food labeling, and fresh avocados meet the criteria. Long touted for the range of health and wellness benefits associated with them, avocados can finally bear the claim that sums it all up: avocados are healthy.

While 90% of consumers report that they purchase avocados based on the nutritional benefits they provide, 21% still say that the fat content in avocados is a barrier to purchase, despite the fact that the latest science demonstrates that the type of fat, rather than the total amount, is more important to good health.

The term “healthy” on food labels is regulated by the FDA and reserved for foods low in fat among other restrictions. The past definition, which was established more than 20 years ago, focused on total fat content per serving. The new proposed guidance from FDA gives consideration to the breakdown between good (unsaturated) and bad (saturated) fats in light of new evidence and dietary recommendations in the recently published 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Avocados contain 8 g of fat per 50 g serving, over 75% of which are naturally good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Avocados comply with the new FDA guidance because they have a fat profile of predominantly naturally good monounsaturated fats.

“With the pervasiveness of many chronic diseases in the US population, consumers are thinking about the ways to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families” said Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). “We applaud the FDA for its efforts in updating the guidance on what makes a food healthy, and recognizing that good fats play an important role in healthy diets.”

For industry, this means fresh avocados can start to use the term “healthy” in marketing and communications as well as packaging and point-of-sale materials. HAB is updating its messages and materials to include the claim.

Avocados are a healthy fruit that provide a good source of fiber and folate per 50 g serving (one-third of a medium avocado), and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of the diet.  A healthy fruit, avocados are virtually the only fruit that contain monounsaturated fat, and they are sodium, cholesterol and trans-fat free. To learn more about the naturally good fats in avocados, the latest avocado nutrition research and fresh avocado recipes, visit


Read more »

$3 a Day for Produce Can Meet Dietary Guidelines

By |

DSCN5310Consumers can meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americas for less than $3 per day, according to a new report.
The report, The Cost of Satisfying Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service updated previous estimates of the costs required to meet federal fruit and vegetable recommendations.
“Our analysis shows that individuals on a 2,000-calorie reference diet can purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables satisfying the 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for $2.10 to $2.60 per day,” according to the report. This would purchase a pound and an edible cup-equivalent of 156 commonly consumed fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. The dietary guidelines recommend consumers on a 2,000 calorie diet consume 2 cup-equivalents of fruit and 2.5 cup equivalents of vegetables each day.
Using retail scanner data from 2013, the USDA estimated average prices for 24 fresh fruits and 40 fresh vegetables, and 92 processed fruits and vegetables.
Retail costs of fruits and vegetables vary over time. However, the authors point out the Consumer Price Index shows that fruit and vegetable prices increased by just 4% between 2008 and 2013.  This was less than the 8.2% increase for all consumer goods and services in that period. This suggests the relative cost of fruits and vegetables has decreased for consumers.
The USDA said nine of 63 fruits (14%) cost less than 40 cents per cup-equivalent. Watermelon (21 cents), frozen concentrated apple juice (27 cents), and bananas (29 cents) were the least expensive. Twenty-six fruits (41%) cost between 40 and 80 cents per cup-equivalent, according to the USDA. These include apples, 42 cents, oranges, 58 cents, and grapes, 72 cents. Twenty-seven fruits cost more than 80 cents per cup-equivalent, the USDA said, with fresh raspberries ($2.32) and canned cherries ($2.39) at the top of the price range,
Likewise, the USDA said that 16 of 96 vegetables (17%) cost less than 40 cents per cup-equivalent. Potatoes (18 cents), dried pinto beans (19 cents), and dried lentils (20 cents) were least expensive. 58 vegetables (60%) cost between 40 and 80 cents per cup-equivalent, including onions (41 cents), canned tomatoes (50 cents), and broccoli (72 cents), according to the release.  22 vegetables cost more than 80 cents per cup-equivalent, with frozen artichokes $2.55 and fresh asparagus $2.58 are at the high price range.

Read more »

New Dietary Guidelines Highlight Fresh Produce

By |

DSCN7016Dietary Guidelines for Americans that include fruits and vegetables at the top of the list for a healthy diet have been released for 2015  to 2020.

Issued every five years, the guidelines not only provide the latest scientifically supported dietary advice, they often shape government policies on a range of food issues. The USDA department of Health & Human Services released the recommendations along with an updated MyPlate MyWins program.

The document recommends a diet based on a variety of nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats and other protein foods and oils, while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium.

Americans are urged to eat a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes and starchy vegetables. The recommended amount of vegetables in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern at the 2,000-calorie level is two-and-a-half cup-equivalents per day. For fruits, it’s two cup-equivalents per day, with at least half coming from whole fruits.

“The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

Read more »

Vegetables Consumption Down, Fruits are Up

By |

DSCN2971There is a  2.3% decline in retail fresh vegetable availability — what’s displayed on store shelves — but a 3.5% increase for fresh fruit in 2013, newly updated per capita availability statistics show.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reported figures for fresh produce in a recent report.  The report said that loss-adjusted U.S. fruit and vegetable availability falls well short of dietary guidelines, with per-capita availability of fruit totaling just 43 percent of dietary recommendations.

Per-capita availability of fresh vegetables are representing 66 percent of U.S. dietary recommendations, according to the report. In contrast, per-capita availability of meat was 131 percent of recommendations, with per-capita availability for grains 112 percent of recommended levels, according to the USDA.

Fresh fruit availability, adjusted for loss at all levels including in consumers’ homes, was projected to be 50.4 pounds per capita, up 3.5 percent from 2012 and 8percent higher than in 2003.  For fresh vegetables, the loss-adjusted per-capita was 83.7 pounds, down 2.3 percent from 2012, and down 12 [percent from 2003.

Read more »

Fresh Express Launches 30-Day Salad Swap Initiative

By |

By Fresh Express

DSCN2973CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Fresh Express, the nation’s number one producer of fresh salads, has launched a 30-Day Salad Swap initiative to encourage consumers to recreate the flavor profiles of their favorite higher calorie foods, from cheesy pizza to creamy pasta, in lower calorie salads.

The New Year has arrived and a commitment to eat better once again tops most resolution lists, leaving Americans hungry for tips and plans to stay on track. Participants can download a free Salad Swap mobile app to unlock a library of delicious salad recipes to match the flavors of the foods they crave.

The Salad Swap app can also track meals, calories, activities and salad purchases for rewards. Participants can earn money-saving coupons for every two Fresh Express bag codes entered–up to 14 bags in 30 days–in their Salad Swap account. Additionally, they can earn $50 in coupons to use throughout the year if 15 salad bag codes are entered within 30 days. Fresh Express offers a wide variety of field fresh mixes, kits, organics and slaws, all of which qualify for coupon rewards.

Despite many well-known benefits of salad, the average American eats a salad at mealtime only about three times a month according to market research firm NPD Group. Making one simple salad swap a day can help consumers eat and feel better, without sacrificing taste. Fresh Express consultant Chef Britney Ruby Miller worked closely with nutrition consultant Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, to create a collection of tasty salad recipes that pack a nutritional punch.

“A salad is my go-to nutritious meal because it’s such an easy way to get multiple servings of fruits and vegetables at one time,” notes Levinson. “And while you may not want to add all the offerings at the salad bar, virtually any food in moderation can be a topping for a salad. That’s why I love this new app from Fresh Express – it gives you permission and inspiration to think outside of the box with salad.”

A sampling of top-rated recipes from the Salad Swap includes:

  •     Bacon Cheeseburger Salad
  •     Salad with Creamy Pasta
  •     Chicken Salad with Tomatillo Salsa
  •     Pizza Antipasto Salad

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends increasing fruit and vegetable intake because they contain a number of nutrients that are under consumed in the United States, including folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C and K. The Dietary Guidelines also suggests including dark leafy greens in salads as one of the ways you can increase your vegetable consumption.

For more information about the Fresh Express 30-Day Salad Swap, please visit

About Fresh Express: Fresh Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB), is a leader in fresh foods and is dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, convenient ready-to-eat salads, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. With the invention of its special Keep Crisp® Bag in the 1980s, Fresh Express pioneered the retail packaged salad category and was the first to make them available to grocery stores nationwide. Today, Fresh Express fresh salads come in more than 60 different varieties offering exciting new flavors and convenient new ways to meet the daily dietary requirements for fresh produce. More than 20 million consumers each week enjoy healthy, convenient ready-to-eat Fresh Express salads, spinach, vegetables and greens. For more information, visit

Read more »