The Can Manufacturers Institute commends the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture for recommending all forms of fruits and vegetables in the new dietary guidelines. However, we're disappointed in the limiting language included, such as 'no-sugar-added versions' and 'no-salt-added.'
It is important for Americans to be assured that all forms of fruits and vegetables are nutritious, convenient and affordable given that they provide potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D – all nutrients of concern. At a time when only 24 percent of adults are meeting their dietary requirements for fruits and only 13 percent are meeting recommendations for vegetables, how we communicate these guidelines matter.
A recent survey, commissioned by Produce for Better Health Foundation, found that government guidelines reinforcing the healthfulness of all forms of fruits and vegetables positively impacts consumers' perceptions of packaged fruits and vegetables. Whereas limiting language that over-emphasizes the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, detracts from the perceived healthfulness of packaged fruits and vegetables. Government policy messages from MyPlate, Let's Move and others should encourage all forms of fruits and vegetables without limiting language so that people can feel good about the choices they are making and find more ways to increase their intake.
Translating the guidelines into consumer-friendly messages should include messages such as:
- When including more fruits and vegetables in your diet, all forms of fruits and vegetables matter–fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
- With more than 200 options and a variety of convenient packaging, prepared fruits and vegetables are easy to store and serve.
- Using fresh and packaged options together – canned, frozen, dried and 100% juice – make it possible to get healthy, homemade meals on the table more often.
These messages will strengthen the guidelines and help consumers feel confident about cooking with all forms of fruits and vegetables. The fruit and vegetable consumption gap is large and growing – now is the time to make changes.
About the Study
An on-line survey of 1,200 consumers was conducted in October 2015 by Toluna. Half of respondents were exposed to inclusive recommendations for increased intake of fruit and vegetables and the other half were exposed to limiting language that reinforced fresh produce intake at the expense of packaged forms. All were then asked a series of questions after being exposed to both sets of current government
recommendations. The research was commissioned by Produce for Better Health Foundation and funded by the American Frozen Food Institute, Canned Food Alliance, Can Manufacturers Institute and Seneca.
About the Can Manufacturers Institute
The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is the national trade association of the metal and composite can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans; which employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity. Our members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2013. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. July 2015
Impact of Limiting Language in Government Recommendations on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Produce for Better Health Foundation, 2015.