Produce bargains abound

06/01/2012 08:55:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson, Media WatchThere should be large signs in produce departments reading “Best deal in the store” and pointing to the potato display.

Or the carrots.

Besides having the large sign, show the consumer how cheap a serving is and how nutritious it is.

This brainstorm comes courtesy a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that got some traction in mid-May. The Associated Press account was run by many media outlets, including the Washington Post. USA Today ran its own version of the AP story.

The study called poppycock on the notion that nutritionally balanced meals were more expensive than junk food.

Poppycock!

Depending on how you measure it, of course. If you compare cost by weight or portion size, a diet of grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy foods is a bargain compared to most meats and foods high in saturated fat, added sugars and salt.

“That means bananas, carrots, lettuce and pinto beans are all less expensive per portion than french fries, soft drinks, ice cream or ground beef,” according to the Washington Post account.

However, if, as some researchers, you compare the price per calorie, the high-fat pastries and processed snacks look like the deal compared to fruits and vegetables.

Poppycock!

Too often people hear that eating healthfully is expensive, Andrea Carlson, co-author of the report and a USDA economist, said in the USA Today article. They use that as an excuse for not eating a healthful diet. But that is not necessarily true.

“The price of potato chips is nearly twice as expensive as the price of carrots by portion size,” Carlson said.

Don’t let suspected high cost keep you from eating your half a plate of fruits and vegetables, she said.

Amen to that.

Happy anniversary

We have come to the year anniversary of the unveiling of the MyPlate icon, the successor to the USDA’s food pyramid.

MyPlate illustrates the half a plate of fruits and vegetables that each of us should consume. It quickly proved to be a success. In the first six weeks of the MyPlate campaign, the new nutrition guidelines icon attracted almost 10 times as many supporting members as did MyPyramid.

A year later, more than 6,000 community partners have joined the MyPlate campaign, along with 90 national strategic partners committed to promoting the recommendations found in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

I hoist my half a plate or more in a toast to MyPlate. Long may it help us sell fruits and vegetables.

crobinson@thepacker.com

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