Produce industry leaders look at consumer obstacles

Produce industry leaders look at consumer obstacles

Credit: Produce Marketing Association Credit: Produce Marketing Association

American farmers grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but getting consumers to actually buy and eat those foods can sometimes be a bit tricky.

One obstacle to Americans eating more fruits and vegetable in a greater variety may surprise you.

"People don't know how to cook," said Karen Ensle, a nutrition expert with the Rutgers University Extension.

Ensle has experience teaching people in their 20s and 30s.

"Their sense of cooking a meal is taking something from, that's frozen and microwaving it and putting it on the table, and that's not cooking," said Ensle.

Kathy Burns, who runs the Produce Marketing Association, agreed. She told a USDA forum that once more demand is created, "The next order of business will be we need to really educate and train consumers how to cook fruits and vegetables. I know that sounds really simple, but that's a huge barrier," said Burns.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agreed, adding that people may be reluctant to buy a new food item because they don't know how to prepare it.

"So if I get a recipe or I get something that's easy to understand, I'm going to try it. I'm going to embrace it," said Vilsack.

It's something the produce industry will work on for the future.

This report is from our partners at the USDA.

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