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    More Nutrition? Can Do

    Canned produce helps boost consumers’ health profile

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    With so much attention on fresh foods, it’s easy to forget that center store presents plenty of nutritious opportunities.

    Case in point: A recent study indicated that American families who eat canned vegetables get more nutrients than those who don't.

    According to the 2016 Canned Vegetable Nutrients Study, a dietary analysis of 24,000 Americans conducted by Dr. Marjorie Freedman of San Jose State University in association with the Canned Food Alliance, adults who eat canned produce eat 17 percent more vegetables and 19 percent more fruit than those who don't.

    Additionally, adults who eat canned produce consume 7 percent more dietary fiber and 5 percent more potassium than those who don't, the study reported. Overall, 94 percent of American adults are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to dietary guidelines.

    Plus, nine in 10 children don't eat enough vegetables and six in 10 don't eat enough fruit. But, the study says, kids who eat canned produce eat 22 percent more vegetables and 14 percent more fruit than those who don't. Further, youngsters who eat canned produce consumed more protein, fiber, vitamin A, calcium and potassium, but less fat.

    Experts believe that canned food has this surprising effect not only because canned produce carries nearly identical nutrients to its fresh-cooked counterparts, but they are also a cheaper and easier way to get recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies -- which can lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

    These are great merchandising pegs to bring more excitement to your center store.

    Canned goods producer Del Monte has released a new series of "2016 Healthy Eating Hacks" that grocers and their retail dietitians can pass along to shoppers when they come to you with questions about how to add a nutritional boost to meals:

    - Bring the farmer’s market to your pantry. Canned produce provides very similar nutrient benefits to fresh-cooked produce, canned fruits and veggies are a healthier option than, say, take-out pizza when fresh options aren't on hand.
    - Shift the balance. Pair less healthy foods with a side of vegetables and shift on-plate ratios so vegetables take up more room than the more indulgent food.
    - Trick yourself (or your kids). Find ways to incorporate more vegetables into favorite comfort foods.

    The benefits of eating produce in any form can go a long way for a grocer looking to own health and wellness with shoppers and toward driving traffic in center store.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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