Rules restrict Canadian industry’s health messages

04/15/2011 12:15:05 PM
Cynthia David

Carl Svangtun, executive vice president of Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., a fresh-cut processor in Richmond British Columbia, said fresh fruits and vegetables won’t sell just because they’re healthy; they also need to look and taste great. He advised giving consumers plenty of information and recipes that incorporate fresh produce with other foods.

He also said the industry should support community groups and events as a way to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Isn’t it ironic,” he said, “that 99.9% of people agree that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but it’s so hard to tell people about it.”

Heart Check

Another option, once nutritional data is established, is to join the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation’s non-profit Heart Check program, developed in 1999 after consultation with Ottawa. The program’s red check mark, paid for by food companies, now appears on more than 2,000 Canadian food products that meet its nutritional guidelines. It’s also appearing on more restaurant menus.

Toronto consulting dietician Carol Dombrow said 85% of Canadians say they are aware of Health Check and feel good buying products that sport the symbol.

“We’re trying to make it simple to make healthy food choices,” Dombrow said, adding that some retailers are beginning to look for the Health Check symbol when listing new products.


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