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U.S. Consumers Misjudge Benefits of Canned Foods

PITTSBURGH—Results of a new survey conducted on behalf of the Canned Food Alliance (CFA) reveals U.S. consumers underestimate the benefits of canned foods. Nearly 40% of consumers surveyed said they think canned foods are less nutritious than frozen, and nearly 60% of those survey said they are not as nutritious as fresh foods.

According to the survey, while the majority (84%) of Americans prepare or eat meals made with canned foods at least a couple times a month and 34% rely on them at least three times a week, many consumers do not appreciate all of the benefits canned foods offer.

“The perception that food packaged in cans is different and less nutritious than fresh and frozen varieties is inaccurate," said Rich Tavoletti, CFA executive director. “The fact is canned foods deliver affordable, accessible and convenient nutrition, helping American families prepare and enjoy nutritious meals that taste great."

Other key findings include:

  • 46% of Americans surveyed realize canned foods count toward USDA’s dietary recommendation goals even though canned foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, meat and seafood, are among the recommended ways consumers can ensure they are getting a proper balance of nutrients.
  • 57% of Americans disagree that canned food is as nutritious a fresh and more than one-third (37 percent) disagree that canned food is as nutritious as frozen.
  • 55% of those surveyed know that canned foods can be low in sodium, despite the multitude of no salt, low sodium and reduced sodium options available on grocery shelves. Recent research involving canned beans demonstrates that rinsing and draining can reduce sodium levels per serving by 41%, and draining alone results in a 36% decrease.
  • Only 51% of those surveyed realize the steel food can is one of the safest forms of food packaging available.

“The canned food industry is dedicated to helping American consumers, government agencies and schools serve up nutritious meals that are affordable and easy to prepare," Tavoletti said. “The CFA believes that all forms of foods—canned, fresh, frozen and dried—can and should have a place on America's tables and in school lunchrooms."

In addition to its consumer education efforts promoting ways canned foods can help Americans meet their dietary guidelines goals, the CFA works with dietitians, educators, policymakers and other influencers to ensure that the many benefits of canned foods are understood.

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