Consumers Underestimate Canned Food Benefits

Food packaged in steel cans can be just as nutritious as fresh and frozen varieties, yet many Americans surveyed on behalf of the Canned Food Alliance believe otherwise.

Less than half (46 percent) of those surveyed recognize that canned foods count toward the government’s recommended dietary guidelines. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of consumers believe that canned foods are less nutritious than frozen, and nearly 60 percent believe that they are not as nutritious as fresh foods.

“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.”

As a National Strategic Partner with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Nutrition Communicators Network – the public/private group working to promote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – the CFA is committed to educate consumers about canned food nutrition.

The CFA commissioned a consumer survey to better understand consumers’ attitudes and perceptions of canned foods to help inform those efforts. The survey uncovered that, while the majority (84 percent) of Americans prepare or eat meals made with canned foods at least a couple times a month and one-third (34 percent) rely on them at least three times a week, many consumers do not appreciate all of the benefits canned foods purport to offer.

Other survey findings:

- Only half (55 percent) 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.
- Half (51 percent) of Americans surveyed realize that steel cans are a safe form of packaging. In a 2005 review of nearly 4,500 food-born-related outbreaks and more than 138,500 cases of illness, commercially produced canned fruits and vegetables did not directly account for a single food-borne outbreak.

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.

“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.”

For more information about the canned food research, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned food and more, visit

The Pittsburgh-based Canned Food Alliance is a consortium of steelmakers, select food processors and affiliate members.

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