What National Nutrition Month means for the food industry
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme for 2017 is "Put Your Best Fork Forward." No, it's not about dining etiquette, but instead refers to making smart food and diet choices.
National Nutrition Month was first celebrated in 1980, and it was started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to encourage people to make healthier meal choices. Their efforts have paid off since people are much more aware of their diet and health today than they were more than three decades ago.
Yet more than two-thirds of American adults are considered to be overweight or obese. Clearly, we still have a long way to go before we can say that we are truly healthy. Putting our best fork forward this year would mean a heightened awareness of what we eat, nutrition facts and tracking our dietary choices. Much of this is also geared at individual choices to fit people's health conditions and physical needs.
For the food and beverage industry, however, this month has become even more significant. Growing health awareness and changing food choices are continual processes, but the NNM has slowly begun to depict major shifts in food trends over the years. This is the time to see and assess all the announcements made by consumers, lobbyists and food groups across the country.
Just a quick look at the various events scheduled for this month shows a growing public interest in health and nutrition. Not surprisingly, we see different lobbies and associations listing benefits and positive health impacts of their produce around this time.
Notable among them is the U.S. Apple Association, which showcases how this "superfood" packs in a solid nutritious punch with 12 key benefits. Representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, the association promises to deliver fresh and natural supplies across the country.
For many industry experts, the inclusion of "RDN Day," celebrating registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) in America is important to note as well. RDNs use their nutrition expertise and knowledge in nutrition and wellness to help individuals make positive lifestyle changes. A quick look at the news shows a multitude of events designed to have RDNs speak at various campuses, clinics, hospitals, fitness centers and other industry events.
Connecting these events seamlessly is the dynamic brand Avocados From Mexico (AFM). Avocados, too, are considered a superfood by many, and the FDA's 2016 announcement that fresh Hass avocados now qualify as heart-healthy food has added to the popularity.
AFM not only designed a campaign around National Nutrition Month but also partnered with RDNs and leading grocery chains to raise health awareness. Their new retail dietitian toolkit aims to help shoppers get first-hand nutrition guidance, that may influence them to purchase healthier foods. They have also designed social media campaigns around the "Put Your Best Fork Forward" theme.
Farmer's market associations have seen significant growth, too. In an age of supermarkets and online grocery, they still represent the fresh and healthy.
They have been quick to lay out an array of events for the month of March as well, focusing on all food that has nutritional benefits and protects our health. Associations like the Growing Growers Farmers Market is offering a series of cooking classes in its kitchen that will demonstrate how to prepare and retain nutritional value from foods.
As we can see, whether it's a food brand or a food association, National Nutrition Month is a veritable tool for all to align with healthier goals and woo the modern consumers.
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