CFA Applauds 2015 Dietary Guidelines

2015 Dietary Guidelines

U.S. Steelmakers, can manufacturers and food processors commend the recommendations to eat more fruits, vegetables, beans and seafood in all forms

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 7, 2016 – The Canned Food Alliance (CFA) applauds the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture for their hard work in providing new, science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, specifically including recommendations for a higher intake of all forms of fruits, vegetables, seafood and legumes, including canned varieties. Canned foods offer many benefits, including nutrition, convenience, affordability, year-round availability and sustainability.

Many U.S. children and adults fall short of meeting the recommendations set forth in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Canned foods often provide needed nutrients at a lower cost than fresh, frozen or dried forms, particularly when price, waste and time to prepare are considered.[1]

    [2] In fact, a serving of canned beans provides 20 percent or more of daily fiber needs.
  • Many Americans find it difficult to afford and have limited access to fresh seafood options. Canned seafood, such as tuna and salmon, offers a convenient and cost-effective way to help meet the recommendations.
  • Recent research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows children and adults who consume canned fruits and vegetables have better diets, greater overall fruit and vegetable consumption and increased intake of key nutrients – without compromising sodium intake or weight – compared to those who did not consume canned fruits and vegetables.[3] In the study based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001-2010, which includes information on the eating habits of 41,800 Americans, adults who ate canned varieties saw an increase in the amount of dietary fiber and potassium. Children who ate canned fruits and vegetables consumed a diet higher in nutrients necessary for optimal growth and development, including protein, fiber, vitamin A, calcium and potassium, compared to those who did not include canned varieties in their diets.

Regarding the recommendation to limit added sugar and sodium, CFA members share the concerns reflected in the Dietary Guidelines about the majority of the U.S. population falling short on key nutrients and are committed to providing a variety of nutritious options to meet different dietary needs. As a result, the canned food industry now provides ‘reduced,’  ‘low,’ and ‘no’ sodium canned vegetables and beans and fruit packed in water or 100 percent juice, thus providing a full range of products for those consumers looking to control their sodium and sugar intake.

A recent survey[4], commissioned by Produce for Better Health Foundation, found the way dietary recommendations are communicated has an impact on perceptions and purchase intent. Strongly and consistently reinforcing the healthfulness of fruits and vegetables regardless of form, results in positive consumer perceptions of packaged fruits and vegetables. Language that over-emphasizes the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and devalues packaged forms, detracts from the perceived healthfulness of packaged fruits and vegetables. Educational tools (such as MyPlate messages, WIC guidelines and handouts provided by groups like CDC and USDA) around the guidelines should encourage the consumption of all forms of fruits, vegetables and beans, enabling people to increase their intake and make positive food choices.

[1] Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences: Canned Foods Offer Needed Nutrients For A Greater Return On Investment, May 2012

[2] Hornick et al. Comparative nutrient analysis of commonly consumed vegetables. Nutrition Today. 2011.

[3] Freedman MR, Fulgoni V. Canned Vegetable and Fruit Consumption Is Associated with Changes in Nutrient Intake and Higher Diet Quality in Children and Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010. JAND 2015.

[4] Impact of Limiting Language in Government Recommendations on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Produce for Better Health Foundation, 2015.