Nothing says “fresh” like “fresh produce,” and that’s a problem for the canned food manufacturers. A recent consumer survey by the Canned Food Alliance  was headlined “Consumer confusion about canned food persists according to new survey.”

From the news release:

The survey also reveals consumers' misperceptions about canned food nutrition. At odds with recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans and many nutrition education organizations, which promote consumption of all forms of nutritious foods (canned, fresh, frozen and dried) for a healthy diet, consumer attitudes also are often contrary to decades of nutrition science that demonstrate the many benefits of enjoying food from a can.

 "We know relying on canned foods to prepare quick, nutritious meals for ourselves and our families makes good sense and is backed by research that shows canned foods offer comparable nutrition to other forms," said Rich Tavoletti, executive director of the CFA. "Americans continue to underestimate the value of canned foods in a healthy diet. We are educating consumers by sharing the realities about canned food."

One of the findings of the study showed just how highly consumers value fresh over both frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. From the news release about the consumer survey:

"Canned Food Offers Comparable Nutrition to Fresh and Frozen – Research shows time-and-again that canned foods offer similar nutrition to fresh and frozen – and sometimes even offer higher levels of some important nutrients[2]. Only 27 percent of respondents agree that canned foods are as nutritious as their frozen counterparts and only 18 percent agree that canned food is as nutritious as fresh."

The survey also revealed that just 42% of Americans surveyed realize the nutrients contained in canned food actually count toward meeting the daily recommended dietary goals.

For canned food manufacturers and the steel makers who give them their tin cans, this survey has to be disappointing. But it is not surprising that “consumer misperceptions” exist.

Nothing captures the imagination of the consumer like fresh produce, and there are precious few ways to pretty up a steel can. Canned food is a must for our survivalist pantries, but fresh produce is preferred on our kitchen tables.

All forms count, true. But as the consumer survey suggests, some forms count more than others.