Posted by & filed under Consumer Research, News.

Here’s another interesting food trend reported at Shopping for Heath 2014 by NPD Group Food and Beverage Analyst Darren Seifer: What we traditionally think of as “snacking” – enjoying little nibbles between three big meals – is now an all-day affair, and as a result, traditional “snack foods” are now considered elements of meals.


“Americans have become more accepting of the concept of ‘snacking’ as a way of eating,” said Seifer. “In the early 1990’s, more than 70 percent of people said that they try to avoid snacking entirely.  People believed then that snacking was a symptom of bad eating habits that lead to things like obesity and overweight.


“But the number of people who say that they don’t snack today has dropped dramatically, to just over 40%. It’s clear that ‘snacks’ is no longer a negative term.”


In 2014, Americans’ standard eating habits definitely include patterns that we may have once regarded as “snacking.” Take a look at our typical eating times:

  • Most people say that they eat at 8:00 a.m, 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m. –the traditional fare of breakfast-lunch-dinner.
  • Added to that are additional eating times throughout the day: 10:00 a.m, 3:00 p.m. and that late-night refrigerator raid at 10:00 p.m.


Putting these timelines together, it’s clear that many people eat throughout the day, whether at what they call a main meal, or as a supplemental “snack.”


An interesting result of this, according to Seifer, is that traditional snack foods (like potato chips, packages of crackers, small apples or cartons of yogurt) are now considered main-meal fare by many people. These foods are consumed with main meals 22% of the time and even as a total meal replacement 8 percent of the time.

Posted by & filed under News, Recipes.

September is National Rice Month, a good time to let your shoppers know more about the culinary versatility and nutritional benefits of tasty U.S. grown rice. Here’s a quick quiz to see how much you know about rice:

How many servings of grains do we need to eat every day?
(Answer: 3 – 8, depending on gender, age and level of physical activity. For women 30 – 50 years old, it’s generally six one ounce servings. For men the same age, it’s seven.)

How many of those servings should be whole grains?
(Answer: Half of the total number of grains you eat each day should be whole grains.)

Which rice types count as a whole grain?
(Answer: Brown rice, red rice, black rice, wild rice)

Which 6 states produce the bulk of US-grown rice?
(Answer: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri)

Name some of the vitamins that rice provides to the diet.
(Answer: 15 essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium (brown), fiber (brown) and iron)

How does enriched white rice contribute nutritionally to the diet?
(Answer: It is fortified with nutrients such as folate. This is especially important for women of child-bearing age, because of its role in helping to prevent neural tube defects.)

If a person suffers from gluten intolerance, meaning that they cannot consume grains like wheat, rye or barley, can they still eat rice?
(Answer: Yes!)


From the USA Rice Federation, here’s a simple and tasty Rice Bowl Recipe:

curryCurry Chicken Lime Rice Bowl
Makes 6 servings

1 9-ounce jar mango chutney
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
2 pkgs refrigerated grilled chicken strips
1 cup diced bell pepper
3 cups cooked U.S. basmati or long grain white rice

Makes 6 servings

In large bowl, whisk chutney, lime juice, oil, salt and curry powder. Stir in chicken, bell
pepper and cooked rice. Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Nutrition Facts, per serving:
Calories 349, Total Fat 12 g, Cholesterol 48, mg, Sodium 447 mg, Total Carbohydrate 41 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Protein 21 g

Posted by & filed under News, Recipes.

If you’re heating up the grill this Labor Day weekend, a tasty beer may already be top of mind. But did you think about further enhancing the delicious flavor of the beer in your glass by making it an ingredient in your holiday weekend dishes? Cooking with beer makes the food taste better than ever.

“There are numerous types and styles of beer available today, thanks to the American beer distribution system that gives smaller brewers the ability to utilize beer distributors to get new beers to a wide range of grocers and other retailers,” said Rebecca Spicer of the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in remarks to the Shopping for Health grocery store dietitians. “Your shoppers benefit by having the choice between many beer brands, types and styles, right in your stores.”

Take advantage of the various flavors in the hundreds of beers available by experimenting with them in favorite recipes. Steam shellfish, mussels or shrimp in beer rather than water, for a tangy taste that complements the saltiness of seafood. Add a few tablespoons of beer to a salad dressing or a stir-fry. Beer also makes a wonderful marinade or sauce for grilling favorite meats and vegetables.

From NBWA, here are some grilling recipes to add to the fun this Labor Day weekend:


Grilled Beer-Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 4

¾ cup Porter Beer or Stout Beer

½ cup soy sauce

1⁄3 cup light brown sugar, packed well

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 TBLS diced fresh ginger

1 TBLS sesame seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

4 pork chops, center-cut, about 1 inch thick


Make glaze by combining in deep saucepan the beer, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, sesame seeds, garlic and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces to about 1 cup. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Place pork chops in shallow baking dish in single layer. Pour half of sauce over chops, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill; lightly oil grill rack. Place chops on grill and cook, turning, about 6–8 minutes per side. Baste with remaining half of beer glaze sauce during last 5 minutes of cooking. Cook until chops are just cooked through in the center, and are nicely glazed.

Nutrition Information, Per Serving: 230 calories; 8 g fat; 2.5 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 15 g carbohydrate


Mexican Stout Burgers with Grilled Onion and Avocadobeer

Serves 6

½ cup Stout Beer

1 TBL unsweetened cocoa powder

1⁄8 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 pounds ground sirloin

2 red onions, sliced into thick rings

6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

2 avocados, sliced

6 hamburger buns


In small mixing bowl, stir together Stout Beer, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin, granulated garlic, brown sugar and salt. Place ground sirloin in large mixing bowl; pour beer mixture into meat. Stir gently until well-combined. Form meat into six patties.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill, or pre-heat broiler.

Place meat patties on grill or under broiler and cook about 5–7 minutes. Add onion rings to grill. Turn burgers and cook additional 5–7 minutes until cooked through to desired doneness. During final minutes of cooking burgers, top each with a slice of cheese. Add opened buns to grill, toasting just until golden.

To assemble, place burgers on grilled buns and top with grilled onion and avocado slice.

Nutritional Information, Per Serving: 500 calories; 24 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 33 g carbohydrate



Posted by & filed under Consumer Research, News.

Does the phrase “GMO” scare consumers? Does it affect their buying and eating habits?

Maybe, says Darren Seifer, Food and Beverage Analyst from the NPD Consumer Research Group. “Recent ballot initiatives may been defeated, but that doesn’t mean that concerns aren’t increasing,” Seifer said, when speaking to the group of grocery store representatives who attended Shopping for Health this year. “There’s still a lot of confusion about this issue.”

Consumers in the NPD survey describe GMOs as “foods that have been genetically altered, sometimes in a favorable way and other times in a non-favorable way.” Many say that they “have no idea” what GMO actually means or what the acronym even stands for. (The letters mean Genetically Modified Organism.)

A quarter of primary grocery shoppers claim to have heard “a great deal” or “quite a lot” about GMOs. While that is significant, it is still on the lower end of other health concerns involving food, such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and growth hormones in milk. Concerns about GMOs have been rising, from 15% of all adults in 2011, to 16% in 2012 and 20% in 2013. Only concern about high fructose corn syrup, which has also received media attention in recent years, is as high.

Shoppers by and large (44%) do recognize that GMOs offer benefits, such as pest resistance in crops (25%), and extending shelf life (15%.) But 70% say they have “at least some concerns” about consuming GMO, primarily “the idea of creating something harmful and unhealthy with toxins or just messing with living organisms.” Twenty-nine percent worry that GMOs are not safe to eat and 25% think they may create additional food allergies.

Seifer thinks this is an issue to watch. “Greater media coverage in the future could translate to even more awareness and concerns,” he said.

Posted by & filed under News, Snacks.

Many of us are thinking “back-to-school:” Shopping for school supplies, organizing clothes and, once again, getting used to packing those lunch boxes every day. For families and kids who could use some ideas to perk up that packed mid-day meal, think Mini Babybel®, the portion-controlled, nutrition-packed, red-wax-wrapped cheeses. Each serving of 100% natural cheese delivers 5-6 grams of protein, plus 15-20 percent of daily calcium needs – all for 80 calories or less.

Here are some ideas to make the great taste and nutrition of Mini Babybel® cheeses part of a lunch meal:

  • Pasta salad, sugar snap peas, peach slices and a Mini Babybel® Mozzarella style;
  • PB&J on whole wheat, baked sweet potato chips, apple slices and a Mini Babybel® Light;
  • Tuna mashed with avocado on English muffin, baby carrots, cucumber slices and a Mini Babybel® Original;
  • Greek salad made with lettuce, chopped onions, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices and crumbled feta cheese, pita chips and a Mini Babybel® White Cheddar

And some tasty pairing ideas, perfect for lunches or after-school snacks:

  • Mini Babybel® Original with multi-grain or rosemary-flavored crackers;
  • Mini Babybel® Light with apple slices or dried fruit;
  • Mini Babybel® White Cheddar, served on a skewer with two grape tomatoes and a rolled up slice of turkey;
  • Mini Babybel® Mozzarella, sliced or melted on half of an English muffin and topped with tomato slices;
  • Mini Babybel® Sharp Original, served with sliced strawberries or grapes;
  • Mini Babybel® Cheddar, served with roast beef and whole grain toast or bread;
  • Mini Babybel® Gouda, paired with a Clementine or tangerine.


Posted by & filed under News, Shopping for Health Success Stories.

At our 2014 conference this past April we had the unique privilege to partner with a number of healthy food brands, giving them face time with RDs from supermarkets all across the country. One of our guests was belVita Biscuits. We were able to learn about the healthy benefits of breakfast and even taste the product! One of our main goals at Shopping For Health is to create lasting relationships between RDs and healthy food brands. This is why we are so excited to talk about how belVita has helped Allyson, an RD from Homeland Supermarkets share healthy eating tips with her customers.

After our conference, Allyson contacted her local news station, FOX 25 in Oklahoma to do a morning spot about healthy breakfast. Allyson talked about the importance of breakfast for overall health and promoted belVita as a healthy, “on-the-go” option for busy people. She gave her viewers several options for incorporating belVita biscuits into their every day routine including adding them to a parfait or eating them with peanut butter.

We are so glad to see that partnerships from Shopping For Health are reaching consumers in a positive way. To learn more about belVita and to watch Allyson’s spot.

Posted by & filed under News, Recipes, Seasonal/Special Events, Vegetables / Fruits.

Hot summer days are made cooler, tastier and healthier with peaches, a super fruit of summer. The orange-yellow color of peaches is a clue that they’re an excellent source of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that’s converted to vitamin A. In fact, a medium peach has about 500 IU of vitamin, equal to about 10% of the Daily Value for this nutrient that is essential for optimal growth, bone health and vision.

Here are some other good-to-know nutrition facts about this favorite fruit of late summer. Did you know that just one peach:

  • Supplies 15% of the Daily Value for vitamin C?
  • Has 2 grams of fiber, or 8% of the Daily Value, and 1 gram of protein?
  • Is 88% water, making it more filling for fewer calories?
  • Is also a source of vitamin E, a potent cancer-fighting antioxidant?
  • Has just 60 calories?

Peaches make a perfect snack, but are also great for pizza toppings (really!), salads, salsas, soups and smoothies. Their sweet, mild flavor complements main dish meats like poultry, pork and seafood.


From the Georgia Peach Council, here is a crowd-pleasing summer recipe that pairs sweet peaches with grilled fish:


Grilled Fish Tacos with Georgia Peach Salsa

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutesaugust 5



1 ½ cups diced Georgia peaches

1 firm, but ripe avocado, diced

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

½ small jalapeño, minced juice of 1 lime, about 3 tablespoons



1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds fresh salmon, halibut, catfish, or other fish

Corn tortillas

Avocado, peeled and sliced thin

Lime wedges


Combine salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine cumin, sugar, and coriander. Brush fish with olive oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Grill fish on oiled grill grates for 3-5 minutes per side until done. Char tortillas on grill about 10 seconds on each side.

Serve tacos with avocado slices, fresh salsa and other desired toppings. Sprinkle with lime wedges and serve topped with Peach Salsa.


Nutrition Information, Per Serving:

Calories: 380; Fat 12g (2g sat); Protein 35g; Carb 35g; Fiber 8g; Chol 75mg; Sodium 120mg

Posted by & filed under News, Protein.

When we discussed consumer food shopping and eating trends at the 2014 Shopping for Health conference, one word that came up frequently was protein. “There’s always a ‘new thing’ in foods and beverages and more consumers are looking for protein now,” said Darren Seifer of the NPD Group in New York, who was a guest speaker at the meeting. “Is this protein’s moment?”

Seifer presented some interesting statistics reflecting American grocery shopping habits, noting that “healthy eating” is often defined now by what is added to the diet, not what is omitted. Whole grains, fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids are all noted by a majority of Americans as intentional positive additions to their diets.

In addition, 54% of Americans say they are trying to add more protein to their daily meals. And 66% know that some proteins are more healthful than others.

The problem is, most shoppers also say that they have no idea how much protein they should be eating on a daily basis. 71% is unsure of the recommended daily amount and 64% measure protein intake “just by looking” and judging the amount they are consuming. (According to USDA, desired protein intake ranges between 5 and 6.5 ounces each day, depending on weight, age and gender.)

So how are Americans eating this protein? Interestingly, animal meat-based meals are on the decline: from 40.1% of meals that contained animal protein in 1984, to 35.75 that do so today. That means that non-meat sources of protein, such as eggs, tofu, beans and dairy products, are being consumed now, more with this specific nutrient in mind.

Posted by & filed under Appetizers, News.

At the Shopping for Health conference in Charleston, we saw first-hand the versatility of almonds. Sure, they are delicious munched on as is – but they can also do so much more. From appetizers to desserts, almonds add flavor, crunch and nutritional benefits.

The Almond Board of California attended Shopping for Health and presented some new appetizer recipes. These are delicious and would be easy to duplicate at home.

Almond Black Bean Dip

black bean

Serves: 6


1(15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 clove garlic, chopped roughly

1/4 cup extra firm tofu

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon ground smoked paprika, plus additional for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced almonds, roasted for garnish

Fresh vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumbers and jicama)


Combine black beans, garlic, tofu, almond butter, cumin, olive oil, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds and a dash of smoked paprika. Serve with fresh vegetables. Store bean dip in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, tightly covered.



Almond Crusted Chevre and Grape TrufflesAlmond Crusted Chevre and Grape Truffles

Makes: 13 truffles


4 ounces chevre, crumbled

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons port wine

Salt and pepper, to taste

13 firm grapes

½ cup whole almonds

¼ cup thinly sliced chives


In a bowl, mix together chevre and cream cheese with a fork. Add port wine and a pinch of salt and pepper; mix until smooth. Chill 30 minutes.

Toast almonds stovetop in a dry fry pan until toasted, shaking the pan frequently, about 5 minutes on medium high heat. Lay out on a large cutting board to cool. Using a chef’s knife, finely chop the almonds. Alternately, if you prefer to have ground almonds, chop in a food processor or grinder.

Scoop 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Press grape into mixture. Using plastic wrap, cover grape with cheese and roll into little ball with grape inside. Remove plastic wrap. Continue making remaining truffles.

Spread almonds onto plate and mix in the chives. Roll each truffle ball in almonds and coat evenly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Posted by & filed under News, Vegetables / Fruits.

At the 2014 Shopping for Health conference, we heard about Georgia peaches and got excited about seeing them on store shelves. And now they are here!

Here are some tips from the Georgia Peach Council on how to Pick the Perfect peaches from your store shelves:

  • Look for peaches that are creamy gold in color. A red exterior does not indicate ripeness; the red color is an indication of the peach variety. (And there are over 700 kinds of peaches! The state of Georgia alone produces 40 different varieties.) If your peach is red, check the stem area for some lime green coloring to indicate ripeness.
  • Avoid rock-hard peaches. The flesh should yield slightly to the touch at the crease of the peach.
  • To ripen peaches at home, set them on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Do not put unripe peaches in the refrigerator.
  • Once peaches reach desired ripeness, put them in the refrigerator. Enjoy within the next two to three days.

We had yummy Peach Smoothies at Shopping for Health. Here’s a recipe from the Georgia Peach Council to pass on to your shoppers:



1 large Georgia peach, sliced with seed removed

6 ice cubes

½ cup milk

½ cup peach yogurt



In blender, combine peach slices with ice cubes and milk. Blend until mixture with slushy texture is formed. Blend in yogurt; combine for 30 seconds on low setting.