As American Heart Month kicks off, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is excited to announce that blueberries now are certified as heart-healthy through the American Heart Association Heart-Check Food Certification Program. The Blueberry Council and its grower members can use the official heart-check mark on blueberry packaging and throughout online, print and other promotional materials and activities.
The American Heart Association’s distinctive red-and-white mark offers shoppers an easy, reliable way to identify heart-healthy foods that can be part of a sensible eating plan. The certification program uses transparent, science-based criteria regarding healthy dietary recommendations, food categories, specific product ingredients and nutrient values. They are consistent with relevant government regulatory standards for making coronary heart disease claims.
“Adding the iconic Heart-Check mark to blueberry packaging and promotional materials provides a vibrant, visible reminder of the healthful benefits blueberries offer,” said Victoria De Bruin, Marketing Manager, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “The majority of consumers do look for healthy options as they shop, and we want to make it as quick and simple as possible to identify blueberries as a heart-healthy food with a range of nutritional benefits.”
Almost all Americans (95 percent) report that they sometimes or always look for healthy options while food shopping, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council and the American Heart Association. More than two-thirds of consumers (67 percent) actively look for Heart-Check Mark items at retail and purchase them on a regular basis. [i]
The heart-healthy certification represents the latest recognition of blueberries’ nutritional benefits. Fresh or frozen, blueberries contain beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber, containing 3.6 grams of fiber per serving (a handful or a cup). According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, vegetables and fruits, like blueberries, are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and may be protective against certain types of cancers.
[i] Technomic – Consumer Evaluation Of Foodservice Heart Check Program – June 2016