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Picture1Did you know that 47% of the added sugars in the average person’s diet come from sugar-sweetened sodas and carbonated soft drinks? That’s a lot of added sugar being consumed in beverage form. The estimated daily consumption of added sugars is about 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams); the American Heart Association says the limit should be 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day for men.

The good news is, a rise in consumption of bottled water is reversing the meteoric rise in soft drink sales that took place over three decades. Sales of carbonated soft drinks are at a 30-year low, and within the next few years, it is predicted that they will be outsold by bottled water.

And, these are enduring trends. The younger the demographic, the higher the consumption of water, bottled and otherwise. Thirteen to twenty-four year olds comprise a generation for whom pizza and water, pretzels and water or burgers and water are the norm.

We know that this is a positive trend for public health but beyond this, what does this mean for supermarkets? When shoppers make the switch from carbonated soft drinks to still or sparkling bottled water, they are changing to products that are more profitable for your stores, turn with a higher velocity and are seeing a faster pace of growth. Basket rings average 82% higher when bottled water is purchased. Bottled water is also one of few grocery products that allows consumers to trade up to a healthier product while receiving the benefit of a lower cost, as bottled water is typically half the price of soft drinks.

Posted by & filed under Dairy.

Picture1Retail dietitians attending the Shopping for Health 2016 conference in Austin, Texas had a memorable treat at our opening night Welcome to Texas Party: Line-dancing, followed by a house made ice cream bar, starring Organic Valley creams. Praised by chefs for its creaminess, Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream contains a minimum 36% butterfat and whips easily into soft, heaping piles of fabulous ice cream. “Organic Valley cream gets its smooth texture and rich flavor from the green pastures where our cows spend their days,” their representatives said.

There is probably no better dessert than homemade ice cream and, if you have a churn or ball, it’s really easy to make. Here is a recipe for from Organic Valley that requires only three ingredients: Organic Valley Half & Half or Organic Valley Whipping Cream, sugar and vanilla.


Homemade Ice Cream from Organic Valley

Makes 8 servings



1 pint Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream OR Organic Valley Half & Half*

1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar


Prepare inner ball of ice cream make according to manufacturer’s directions. Add all ingredients to the canister. Turn for 15 – 20 minutes. Enjoy right away as soft-serve ice cream, or transfer to airtight container and place in freezer for 2 or more hours to harden.

*Whole cream makes a richer, creamier ice cream. Half & half is lower in fat, will have a different consistency, and takes longer to freeze.


Flavor Variations:

Berry Ice Cream: In the last 10 minutes of mixing, add 1/3 cup of favorite chopped berries.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Add 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips.

Cocoa Ice Cream: Add 3 – 4 tablespoons cocoa powder.

Peppermint Ice Cream: Add ¼ cup crushed peppermint candy.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream: Add ½ cup crushed oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies.

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Dietitians know the importance of eating breakfast, both from a morning energy standpoint, and because breakfast provides important nutrients needed each day. Did you know that 32% of American kids’ consumption of milk each day comes from the milk they put on their cereal?


General Mills has a wealth of materials available to help your shoppers realize the benefits of breakfast, and to better make a point of making time to eat breakfast every day.  For consumers who are time or taste challenged in the morning, cereal – with its attributes of convenience, variety and nutritional content — may well be the answer! Cereal is still the leading source of whole grains for American adults, and those who eat cereal also consume more fruits and dairy products.


16% of American children purposefully skip breakfast, making it extremely difficult to catch up on needed vitamins and minerals during the day.


Here’s a handout that may be helpful when talking to consumers. If listing specific nutritional benefits seems overwhelming to your shoppers, simply remind them that cereal – especially when eaten topped with fresh or dried fruit and yogurt or milk – provides a complete package of nutrients and energy needed to start the day.

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Here is a nutrition statistic that is quite alarming: The average American consumes less than 16 grams of whole grains a day, falling far short of the 48 grams per day target for people over the age of nine. (Younger children need 32 grams of whole grains per day.) Fewer than 5% of adults consume the recommended amount and less than 30% of adolescents consume more than 8g of whole grains a day. Why is that? Taste, time and skill required to prepare whole grains foods are cited most often as the reasons.

Could another problem be confusion between whole grains and dietary fiber, a term with which consumers may be more familiar? It is important that they understand the difference: Whole grains are represented by the entire kernel of grain, whereas fiber is a component found within the grain. When whole grains are lacking in the diet, individuals miss out on beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, protein, iron, and vitamin E, which positively contribute to our health and wellbeing. Research also suggests that consumption of whole grain products, along with a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat, is associated with protective health benefits against diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a reduced risk of weight gain.

You can help your shoppers improve this dietary deficiency by showing them which food products contain whole grains. At the recent Shopping for Health conference in Austin, Texas, Nabisco made available this shopping list to better equip consumers to make healthful choices when it comes to snacks. Nabisco products like Triscuits and Wheat Thins are a good way to add whole grains to your day, in a tasty and convenient way. Use this shopping list to be sure to cover all the food groups and choose from a variety of whole grain options.

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Picture1Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial components called polyphenols, which can also act as antioxidants.  Grapes are a heart-healthy food that can play a role in healthy aging, and research suggests positive links between consumption of grapes and eye health, brain health, bone and joint health, cell health and more – all in addition to grapes’ well-established support of heart health.

Check out the California Table Grape Commission website: for more information on the research into grapes and health, including these Great Grape health benefits:

  1. “Grape” News for High Blood Pressure. In a recent series of laboratory studies, rats were fed a salty diet, and their blood pressures rose as a result.  When grapes were added to their diet, blood pressure levels dropped, heart function improved and inflammation was reduced throughout their bodies.  These animals also showed fewer signs of heart damage compared to those who did not receive grapes in the diet.
  2. A Boost for Colon Health. In a small human study of colon cancer patients, those adding 2 ½ cups of grapes a day to their diet for two weeks were able to inhibit certain genes that promote tumor growth in the colon.  This benefit was observed in the healthy tissue of the subjects’ colons, not the cancerous, indicating a potential role for grapes in helping to maintain a healthy colon.
  3. All Eyes Are On Grapes.  Regular grape consumption may play a role in eye health by protecting the retina from deterioration. One study showed that adding grapes to the diet early in life prevented blindness in animals that were prone to developing retinal damage in old age, similar to age-related macular degeneration in humans. When compared to lutein, grapes offered significantly more protection. And in a second study, a grape-enriched diet offered protection in multiple ways, from countering oxidative stress to lowering levels of inflammatory proteins and increasing protective proteins in the retina.

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A carton of eggs may look simple in the refrigerated case in your store, but to shoppers, it can be confusing to try to read the information posted there, and to understand completely what they are buying. This fact sheet from the American Egg Board will help.

Look for:

  • Explanation for common symbols used on egg cartons;
  • How to read expiration and sell by dates;
  • Definition and differentiation of kinds of eggs sold in most stores.
egg pdf

Access a PDF version of this chart at for distribution to consumers.

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eggsWant a tasty high-protein snack that is easy to make and keep on hand? Something kids can grab from the fridge to put in a lunchbox or eat on the way to basketball practice?

Try hard-boiled eggs! More than six grams of protein is packed into each 80-calorie egg, along with just five grams of fat. Plus, they are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D.

From the American Egg Board, here are some quick tips to dress up a simple hard-boiled egg, to offer snacks in a variety of flavors, along with that all-important protein for muscle build-up and satiety between meals. Make a dozen hard-boiled eggs each Sunday to ensure that you have plenty on hand throughout the week.

  • Go fancy with your salt and pepper. Try truffle salt or spicy chipotle salt for a little heat.
  • Season hard-boiled eggs with salt-free lemon and pepper seasoning mix or low-salt herb mix.
  • For a sweet treat, try egg in honey.
  • Make it spicy with a dab of Sriracha.
  • Dip your eggs in honey mustard or ranch dressing and add chopped veggies to top it off.
  • Top your lunch salad with hard-boiled eggs.
  • Add it to a bento box filled with hummus, olives and vegetables for a delicious afternoon snack.

To make perfect hard-boiled eggs, every time:

Place eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just until boiling.

Remove pan from burner and cover. Let eggs stand in hot water according to size of eggs:

12 minutes for large eggs, 9 minutes for medium eggs and 15 minutes for extra large/ jumbo eggs

Drain immediately to serve warm, or cool completely under cold running water or in a bowl of ice. Refrigerate if not serving right away.

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10475835_906753439350642_5192051854429278536_nSupermarket Dietitians: As you plan for the year ahead, make certain that Shopping for Health is part of your resource bag. Is your contact information with Shopping for Health up to date?

Shopping for Health is your best one-stop-shop for nutrition news and information, recipes, in-store communication pieces, and ideas to educate your shoppers about the food products in your store. Materials presented through Shopping for Health are always reviewed and edited by our team of RDs, to be certain that you receive the reliable information that you want, in a format that you can use.

Shopping for Health has much to look forward to in 2016 and we want you to be a part of it all!

Make certain that you are registered with the Shopping for Health web site at You should be receiving an e-newsletter each quarter with current news and information from our sponsors. (If you don’t recall receiving this newsletter, check with Nancy Piho, director of Shopping for Health, at, to be sure that we have your correct contact information.)

We’re also excited about the sixth annual Shopping for Health conference for retail and supermarket dietitians, to take place in Austin, Texas, April 3 – 5. This unique meeting designed to meet the specific needs of retail RDNs has been called “the best in the industry,” based on the outstanding program and networking opportunities it provides. Invitations will go out later this month, so let us know if you’re interested in attending.

And finally, keep tabs weekly on news from Shopping for Health and our sponsors by Liking our page on Facebook, following us on Twitter and connecting with us on LinkedIn. We use social media to bring our sponsor’s news to you and your shoppers.

Posted by & filed under 2016 Shopping for Health Conference, News.

iStock_000012657227_SmallWhat happens when a select group of supermarket dietitians come together for three days, meeting with leading food industry executives to hear science and health updates, enjoy product tastings, and discuss ways to better reach shoppers with the nutrition news they need?

“The annual Shopping for Health meeting is one of the most important meetings I attend all year,” says one supermarket RD at a nationally-known chain. “It’s the perfect mix of networking, information exchange, nutrition updates, product demonstration and fun. I always come back inspired with ideas on how to better do my job of communicating nutrition information to consumers.”

Shopping for Health 2016 will take place April 3 – 5 in the fabulous city of Austin, Texas. The sixth annual SFH conference will provide supermarket RD guests information they need to help shoppers make wise choices at the grocery store. A wide range of program speakers and activities, combined with networking specifically tailored to the interests of retail dietitians, makes Shopping for Health the best known and most highly rated conference for retail dietitians each year.

Shopping for Health is made possible by the support of food industry sponsors. Invitations will be distributed in January 2016. Continuing Education Credits from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will be available.

For more information about Shopping for Health 2016, contact

Posted by & filed under Recipes.

This week’s Shopping for Health blog post is brought to you by brands in the family of Tyson Food products – Jimmy Dean and Hillshire Farms. Both had products on the menu at the 2015 Shopping for Health conference, showing off new and tasty ways to use these long-time favorites.

If your shoppers are looking for recipes that make breakfast or brunch easy for holiday houseguests, here are two to try.

Maple Breakfast CasseroleUntitled

Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook Time:45 minutes


  • 2 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 cups French bread cubes (¾-inch pieces)
  • 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Premium Pork Maple Roll Sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss apples with sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes, sausage, apple mixture and 1-½ cups cheese; stir gently until evenly coated.
  3. Spoon into lightly greased 13×9-inch baking dish; top with remaining ½ cup cheese. (Can be refrigerated overnight, covered, if desired.)
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 12 squares to serve. Serve with warm maple syrup.


Spicy Sausage and Egg WrapUntitled2


  • 1 pkg. Hillshire Farms Beef Hot Links™
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 tsp hot pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 large (9” – 10”) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend


  1. Cut sausage into small cubes.
  2. Heat large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Add sausage, onion, garlic and black pepper; cook, stirring frequently 4-5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Stir in beans and hot sauce.   Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and cook, stirring occasionally 5 minutes or until no liquid egg remains.
  4. Warm tortillas according to package directions.  Place a generous ½ cup of sausage mixture on tortilla, top with ¼ cup cooked egg and ¼ cup of cheese.  Roll up tortilla and repeat with remaining ingredients.