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JoAnne Green

A New Study Reveals the Nutrition, Cost and Safety Benefits of Canned Foods

A new study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine addresses the common call to action from public health experts to improve access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Findings from the Michigan State University (MSU) study show that canned foods deliver on nutrition, affordability and safety helping people increase their fruit and vegetable intake, regardless of geography or income level.

homemade preserved food

The study, "Nutrition and Cost Comparisons of Select Canned, Frozen and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables" analyzed more than 40 scientific journal studies and nutrition data, comparing canned fruits and vegetables to fresh and frozen based on nutrition and cost. The researchers found that:

Canned fruits and vegetables are on par nutritionally with fresh and frozen, and in some cases even better. In fact, canned tomatoes have more lycopene, which is associated with reducing cancer risk, and more B vitamins than fresh tomatoes. Canning also helps make fiber in certain vegetables, like beans, more soluble, and therefore more useful to the human body.

Families can stretch their grocery budgets by choosing canned produce. Canned vegetables are often more affordable than fresh and frozen varieties, saving up to half the cost of frozen and 20 percent of the cost of fresh, with virtually no sacrifices in nutritional quality.

Canned fruits and vegetables provide great tasting, safe options to help Americans meet their dietary needs. The high-heat canning process is one of the safest processes for preserving food because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses. This is an important safety benefit considering that at least 128,000 Americans are hospitalized every year with foodborne illnesses.

"Canned fruits and vegetables provide high quality nutrition to Americans regardless of income level and geography," said Steven Miller, PhD, lead researcher and assistant professor at MSU's Center for Economic Analysis. "By increasing accessibility to key nutrients many Americans need, canned foods are a year-round solution to help families prepare healthier, balanced meals."

About the Study
The Michigan State University (MSU) study, commissioned by the Can Manufacturers Institute, examined the nutrition delivered in 8 common vegetables and 10 common fruits across multiple packaging options (fresh, frozen, and canned) relative to average costs. A method of scoring based on nutrient intake recommendations was used to calculate the nutrients per calorie, and average costs were obtained from the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Nutrient scores for the vegetables were similar across the 3 packaging options, whereas canned vegetables generally had a lower cost per edible cup compared with frozen and fresh. Nutrient scores were variable for the fruits across the 3 packaging options, and canned fruits were either lower or comparably priced per edible cup. The evidence from this study suggests that fruits and vegetables packaged as frozen or canned are cost-effective and nutritious options for meeting daily vegetable and fruit recommendations in the context of a healthy diet.

About Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI)
CMI is the national trade association of the metal 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. CMI members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers.

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