Turning the Peach Can on Its Head: Oregon State University Study Concludes California Cling Peaches are Nutritionally on Par with Fresh

Research Findings Published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture Gives Consumers More Reasons to Enjoy California Canned Peaches

May 17, 2013, 08:13 ET from The California Cling Peach Board

DINUBA, Calif., May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Cling Peach Board announced today what growers and home canning enthusiasts have known for generations: canned peaches are nutritious, wholesome and vitamin packed. Thanks to a study conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) and the Linus Pauling Institute, the California Cling Peach industry now has science to stand on. The multi-year-long study concludes that California canned peaches are nutritionally equivalent to their fresh counterparts, and that some nutrients increase thanks to the canning process. Click here to view short video overview of study: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aM_tlS6nY8

Just as lycopene levels increase when tomatoes are cooked/canned, so too do key nutrients found in fresh cling peaches. The OSU study found that antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C all increased and that folate levels in canned peaches were up 10 times compared to their fresh counterparts.

"We always knew that our canned peaches are nutritious," said second-generation peach grower and California Cling Peach Board Chairman Sarb Johl. "Now we have the science to back up our claims. This is great news for our industry and should go a long way in dispelling misperceptions about canned fruit nutrition."

The objective of the OSU study was to assess whether canned peaches could deliver nutrient levels comparable to fresh peaches. Fresh freestone peaches, fresh cling peaches and canned cling peaches were analyzed for vitamins A, C and E, folate, antioxidants, total phenolics and total carotenoids to assess how these nutrients were affected by the canning process and whether storage further changed these components.

"Several of the vitamins and phytochemicals measured in this study were found to be present in canned cling peaches versus fresh freestone at statistically significantly higher levels," said Bob Durst of OSU and the Linus Pauling Institute, who led the research on this project. "Additionally we found that there were no statistically significant changes in nutrient content during storage for 3 months. It appears that the canning process elevates and activates some of these key nutrients and that the actual package—the can—seals in these higher levels, which is a very good thing for lovers of canned peaches." Durst, who is well aware of the misperceptions associated with canned fruit, further notes, "This study shows that canned peaches can provide comparable nutrient levels to the consumer as fresh peaches, meaning that consumers can enjoy peaches year round without worrying about loss of nutrients in their diet."

Like many grower groups, the California Cling Peach industry partners with the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and will be working with this nutrition group and others to communicate OSU's findings to a larger audience. Christine Bruhn, Ph.D. and Director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California Davis (UC Davis), believes "consumers are looking for authenticity, quality, freshness cues, unique flavors, and a narrative," says Dr. Bruhn.  "The OSU study clearly tells a compelling nutrition story. And we applaud the California Cling Peach Board for leading the charge with this research. Here's what we know: kids need from 2-5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day, and adults need 6 cups each day. Literally 'half your plate' should be fruits and veggies. This research is consistent with research conducted by UC Davis that says we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables and in all forms: canned, fresh, frozen, dried and 100% juice: they all count," Bruhn stresses. "Unfortunately, most kids and adults only eat about half of what they need. Plain and simple: more matters. This research, I believe, will give moms the green light to serve canned peaches more often."

With the increased awareness about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, consumers are searching out affordable, wholesome, nutritious, yet convenient options for themselves and their families. Grown up and down the state of California, cling peaches are handpicked and packed within hours of harvest. In response to consumer demand, the industry now features peaches in extra light syrup, which boasts the same sugar levels as a juice pack.  "With no preservatives or artificial additives, today's canned peaches use the same recipe that my grandmother used: sun-ripened peaches, water and a bit of sugar," notes Durst. "Just right."

To view the entire abstract or to download the full article from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, point your browser to: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.5849/abstract

Founded in 1996, The California Cling Peach Board is a California State Marketing Order, issued in furtherance of the desire of California's cling peach growers to create an environment that enhances the use of cling peaches through promotion, advertising, consumer education, production and marketing research, establishment of grades and standards, and compilation of industry statistics.

Contact: Ginny Hair
Adrienne Hegarty

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SOURCE The California Cling Peach Board