The American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program recently certified Natural Delights medjool dates as being a heart-healthy food.

Dates are already known as a healthy snack, as the fruit contains 50% more potassium by weight than bananas, and has 16 essential vitamins.

Dates are also an excellent source of fiber and contain zero grams of fat or cholesterol per serving.

However, the new certification brings an additional health benefit to the fruit.

“The designation of Natural Delights medjool dates as a heart-healthy brand not only emphasizes one of the many benefits of eating medjool dates, but brings third party validation to our health attributes,” said Erin Hanagan, marketing manager, Datepac LLC, Yuma, Ariz.

This certification should help leverage an increased demand for dates as consumers become more health-conscious, the company says.

“When surveyed, consumers ranked ‘heart-healthy’ as one of the top three attributes they were looking for in their food,” Hanagan said.

“We expect that the AHA’s recognition of Natural Delights as a heart-healthy brand will result in a higher demand.”


New packaging

To capitalize on the certification, Natural Delights plans to release new packaging that will display the American Heart Association checkmark.

Consumers can expect to see the check-marked packages after the release of the new packaging at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, Oct. 17-19 in Anaheim, Calif.

“We are confident that the AHA heart checkmark, which already means something to consumers, will allow us to engage with those people who look specifically for this rating on the products they purchase,” Hanagan said.

“Natural Delights continues to deliver double-digit growth year over year, and we look forward to the inclusion of the AHA heart checkmark driving these numbers even higher.”