Fresh Produce: The Name That Makes No Claim
If only fresh produce could speak, we might hear “we can reduce your risk of developing cancer by close to 50%,” or “we can help reduce your blood pressure by piling on the fiber to bring that nasty cholesterol back to your liver to be put to good use.” But food can’t talk. Fresh produce cannot speak in so many words. However, that doesn’t stop the inside aisles from boasting the glory of their wonder-work synthetic concoctions all over the grocery through hyped up advertisement.
The market is just that and more: an opportunity to market. Researchers have carefully examined the consumers every behavior, enhancing the components of the store that are most profitable. Unfortunately, as the consumer, this typically isn’t in our best interest. Here are a few reasons why.
Fresh produce vs. the competition
Convenience foods such as chips, soda, condiments, and frozen dinners are a win-win for the grocer. They tend to be lower in cost, and seemingly never perish. This mean they can sit on sit on a shelf until the perfect marketing ploy reels you in.
Convenience items have every opportunity to shout at you with brightly colored labels and high-priced advertisement schemes as you skim them while walking down the aisle. If you think for just a moment, there’s no guesswork in the reasons why the highest priced items are at eye level and the candy and soda snatch your attention on the way out the door.
Why can’t fresh produce give a shout out like its grocery constituents?
Fresh Produce can’t shout. Why? Because it doesn’t have vibrantly colored packages and a label (which manufacturers have kindly added into your purchase price).
Fresh produce won’t dictate how much you ought to eat at once by commanding a corporate produced serving size (which likely doesn’t fit into your unique dietary needs).
Fresh produce can’t scream “I’m low carb,” or “I’m gluten free,” amidst a giant brightly colored electricity bolt stamped onto shiny plastic. Nope. Fresh produce just IS gluten free; humbly on the shelf it sits.
Tell me more-If fresh produce could speak, what would it say?
If fresh produce could speak carrots might say: “I’m full of beta-carotene, I promote healthy vision.” Broccoli might say “I’m full of isothiocyanates, I help reduce cancer cell proliferation” Oranges might say “I am full of vitamin C, an antioxidant for your cells.” Spinach might say “Eat me for healthy bones. I’m full of calcium. I will help you heal if you are hurt with vitamin K and Zinc.” And if in close enough proximity they might all yell in unison “we make a great stir fry!”
I need my food to be quiet. Where can I find fresh produce?
Come on over to the outskirts of the grocery where you can hear yourself think. Around these parts, you need not know the % of added sugars (I’ll give you a hint. There aren’t any!) You need not pay extra for a fancy label. Just pick up the pieces of the rainbow, trust their judgement, and place your fresh produce kindly in your basket.
Sure there isn’t a one size fits all rule when it comes to produce, and some nutritious and scrumptious fruits and veggies can exist in a can or a freezer bag screaming their heads off with the rest of the bunch. Unfortunately, these grassroot advocates are few and far between, and it can take a little attention to sort through all the jargon. Label-less food is a great way to get a quick answer about whats healthy 99% of the time. What are your favorite fresh produce options?
Shena Jaramillo, Registered Dietitian
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