Nutritious

Canned foods are a good source of essential nutrients and under-consumed proteins, such as fish and legumes, and help all Americans meet dietary recommendations.

Canned food…

Provides Essential Nutrients

  • With barely a quarter of adults meeting USDA MyPlate recommendations, canned foods can help fill chronic and growing nutritional deficiencies in the United States.12
  • Canned foods – like canned spinach, pears, tuna and salmon – provide important nutrients lacking in American diets, like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends eating foods rich in these nutrients.12

 

  • Of the top 50 best food sources of potassium, eight are canned foods: canned tomato paste, canned white beans, canned clams, canned chili w/ beans, canned great northern beans, canned spinach, canned refried beans and canned tomato sauce.12
  • Some of the best sources of vitamin D are canned fish: tuna, salmon and sardines.12
  • Some of the best sources of dietary fiber come in cans: canned chickpeas, northern beans, white beans, baked beans, green peas, refried beans and pumpkin. 12 

Contributes Nutrients, not Sodium and Sugar, to the Diet

  • Canned foods provide essential nutrients, and canned fruits and vegetables do not contribute high amounts of sodium and sugar to the diet.  1213

 

Research shows that adults and children who ate six or more canned food items over a two-week period were more likely to meet or exceed their recommended daily allowance (RDA) for 17 essential nutrients, including potassium, calcium and fiber, than those who ate one to two canned food items over the same timespan.14

To learn more, check out this infographic: 10 Tips for Healthy, Homemade Meals and Snacks

  • Sodium intake is a public health concern, yet the DGA reports only 11% of sodium comes from vegetables, including canned options. 12
  • The DGA also reports that only 2% of added sugar in the diet comes from fruits and vegetables, including canned options. 12
  • Research suggests that daily intake of sodium is comparable for adults and children who do and do not consume canned fruits and vegetables.13

 

Rounds Out Meal Patterns and Improves Diet Quality

  • According to the DGA, all forms of foods, including fresh, canned, dried and frozen, can be included in healthy eating patterns.12

To learn more, check out this infographic: My Cantry Inspired by MyPlate

  • Canned foods have similar (or better) nutritional profiles than their fresh or frozen counterparts. For example, canned tomatoes generally have more lycopene and beta carotene than fresh tomatoes. Research suggests that dietary intake of foods high in lycopene and beta carotene has a positive association with decreased risk of some cancers and heart disease. 15,16, 1718

 

  • Children and adults who consume canned foods have overall better diet quality and greater fruit, vegetable, dairy and protein intake.13
  • Compared with those who don’t use cans, adults and kids who consume canned fruit and vegetables get more dietary fiber, choline and potassium, and less fat and saturated fat.19 

To learn more, check out this fact sheet: The Proof is in the Pantry: Canned Foods are Associated with Healthier Eating Habits

  • Canned foods support healthy eating patterns including the Healthy Mediterranean-Style and the Healthy U.S.-Style patterns recommended by the DGA. 12

Belongs in Nutrition Guidance

  • It’s important to include canned fruit and vegetable options in nutrition guidance to improve public health perception of all fruit and vegetable forms and increase consumption.
  • Given the perceived health benefits of fruits and vegetables has declined since 2014, it is more important now than ever to emphasize benefits of all forms of fruits and vegetables. 20

Supports Overall Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

  • Inclusive language - language that reinforces the healthfulness of all forms of fruits and vegetables - increases consumers’ intent to purchase packaged produce without decreasing their intent to purchase fresh. 19
  • Limiting language in nutrition guidance detracts from the perceived healthfulness of packaged produce and inhibits consumption and intent to purchase packaged produce.19
  • Vulnerable consumers feel that limiting language recommendations would most likely cause a decrease in their intake of packaged fruits and vegetables. 19

To learn more, explore this infographic: Impact of Limiting Language in Government Recommendations on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.

Is an Important Source of Under-Consumed Proteins

  • Canned proteins, specifically fish and legumes, are a key source of under-consumed proteins recommended in the DGA.6

 

To learn more, explore this infographic: Quality Protein – It’s in the Can

  • Only 10% of Americans are meeting their seafood recommendations and more than 80% are not meeting needs for legumes.12

 

  • Nearly all Americans report consuming some form of canned protein foods in the past month. This is beneficial because, according to the DGAs, eating a balanced variety of protein foods can contribute to improved nutrient intake and health benefits. 6, 12

To learn more, explore this infographic: Canned Proteins: Convenient, Nutritious & Delicious

  • When surveyed, 67% of respondents used canned beans and 64% of respondents used canned tuna in the last 30 days. 6
  • Surveys show 9 in 10 Americans use canned beans, chicken or fish as a convenient source of protein. 6

 

  • Protein, including canned proteins, such as fish and beans, deliver a number of important benefits such as satiety and energy. 6
  • Canning helps make the fiber and protein in certain vegetables, like beans, more soluble and therefore more useful to the human body. 17

Increases Fruit and Vegetable Intake

  • Nearly 90% of Americans do not meet their daily vegetable recommendations and nearly 80% fall short of their recommended fruit intake.12
  • When canned produce is incorporated into diets, people tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.13
  • A pantry of canned fruits and vegetables can help consumers serve up the recommended 42 cups of fruit and 53 cups of vegetables a family of four needs weekly.21