33 Things We Learned From FNCE

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(Here's a photo of our sodium poster in Nasco's booth).

The annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in San Diego was a great experience. The conference was put on by the American Dietetic Association, which is now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I am here to report about the F of FNCE. That's the food section of the expo. It's a vast assembly of all of the major food manufacturers and many more vendors, who all meet once a year to show dietitians all of the ways that they are improving their foods in order to benefit their consumers' health. I did not see just one trend, but rather an ABC for three main presentations from all.

Here are the ABC's:


All about MyPlate. Many booths featured the new MyPlate. We've listed some of the most striking below. (PS photos are in the same order as the list).

  1. Delmonte
  2. Pork
  3. Rice
  4. Beef
  5. USDA
  6. Nasco plate
  7. Nasco board
  8. Pears
  9. McDonalds
  10. Dietary Guidelines books

See the new MyPlate Video Challenge



We found a general back-to-basics rule of thumb for most displays and messages. Presentations and marketing efforts were neat, engaging, and beautiful and their focus was all about the flavor of food, with a few nutrient benefits sprinkled in for marketing. Food manufacturers across the board are offering "more for less" - more nutrients for less calories. Here is what my iPhone saw:

  1. Sunsweet -- they have a delicious low-cal juice and also offer bits of diced plums that made the most delicious cookies. These bits are called Plum Amazins and more info and photos are at plumamazins.com. There are also 70 calorie snack packs filled with dried plums.
  2. The California Raisin Board took pictures of attendees and posted them on their website with a link that lead to more information, news, and recipes. That is a great way to get attendees to YOUR website after a show! (PS -- That's me with the raisin).
  3. The Haas avocado booth featured what I thought was the most innovative and tasty recipes of the whole show. One element that really struck me was that they are using avocado as a fat replacement in baking. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, guacamole, cheese cake, and spice cake were just a few of my favorites from their booth. You can make your fat healthy in baking by using Haas avocados. Visit their site at avocadocentral.com.
  4. Mrs. Dash seasonings are packaged better and now they have new recipes. Plus, new flavors will be out this spring.
  5. Smart Balance Milk has omega-3s from fish oil, plus extra calcium from milk powder. The skim milk was amazing to drink because it was thick and rich.
  6. Pork can be cooked to  an internal temperature of 145F, per the new USDA rules.
  7. General Mills touted the whole grain and fiber content of  their cereals. They also featured a fun packaging timeline for Cheerios.
  8. Tropicana has lower calorie juices that are sweetened with stevia. The calories are lower but the fruit juice content is only 45% of the finished product. The lemonade and pomegranite-blueberry juice tasted great. Visit Facebook/trop50 for more information.
  9. Frito Lay has dropped the sodium by 25% in all of their flavored chips. Their Sun Chips are whole grain and now come in a new flavor -- Jalapeno Jack. If you go to snacksense.com, you can download their latest research on snacking. Licensetosnack.com has more info for consumers.
  10. Dole nutrition has a garden kit and a healthiest foods on earth calendar. You can get both from their website -- just check out their Products to Purchase page.
  11. The Almond Board featured Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond Milk. It has only 40 calories per serving and has no saturated fat or cholesterol. It is also rich in Vitamin E and calcium. Baked nut chips are tasty too!
  12. Hidden Valley explained that kids will eat more veggies when ranch dressing is involved.
  13. Soy is still popular, and this year's soy booth was big and beautiful. It featured a wide variety of delicious foods. We sampled edamame fritters at the Food and Culinary Professionals networking dinner and they were great.
  14. You can get coupons for Yoplait and their new Red Velvet Cake flavor at bellinstitute.com.

  15. Over 150 of 700 beverages by Coca Cola are calorie free. Mini cans of 7.5 ounces keep a serving of Coke to 90 calories.
  16. Campbells features whole grains in their soups.
  17. Truvia remains a great-tasting sugar replacement. We were impressed with the lemonade at their booth.
  18. Stevia was featured and even had its own booth.
  19. Chobani Greek yogurt chefs made great recipes: 1) using their yogurt injected into chocolate covered strawberries and 2) as a spread with horseradish on toast with salmon. (The photo below is from the Food and Culinary Professionals networking dinner, and next to it is a picture of Alice Henneman and me with the Chobani Greek yogurt chef).
  20. Monk fruit is a melon that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is featured in many natural foods, including Kashi cereals, whose display is pictured below...
  21. Sargento featured cheeses that are lower in fat and sodium than regular versions.
  22. Con Agra had the motto "Make your calories count," and they featured many foods in smaller portions.


Created for Health Benefits:

  1. Cardio chews and juices by Cardiowise join the products that lower cholesterol with phytosterols.
  2. There were several rows dedicated to organic foods and gluten-free options - here are just a few shots:
  3. Fibrelle is a sweetener from the New Jersey area. It contains fiber! For more information, visit (fibrelle.net).
  4. Lipton has super fruit teas.
  5. McNeil featured great recipes for Benecol and Splenda. A new Splenda variety features added vitamins and fiber.
  6. Some of the busiest booths were the software booths. Dietitians were looking for apps and online software to help their clients track what they eat and make better shopping decisions.
  7. Dietitian authors were signing and giving away their books at the expo. Two of our favorites: Healthy Healing Foods by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, and Go Green Get Lean by Kate Geagan, MS, RD. Way to go girls!

Of course this post is sponsored by the NutritionEducationStore.com - Check our whole new MyPlate category. It's filled with posters, tearpads, and free handouts and posters to download now. 

Food and Health Communications is proud to be a National Strategic Partner for MyPlate.

If you have comments about what you saw at FNCE please add them below. We review and approve quickly. An entire photo gallery for our FNCE food shots is here: https://picasaweb.google.com/114618038873891218290/FNCE#
Get more MyPlate Materials here!


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