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Do Canned Foods Fit Today’s Dietary Needs?

Kapica, Cathy PhD, RD, LD, CFCS

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31827d858a
Nutrition Updates

Canning is a food preservation technique whose basic principles remain the same since the days of Napoleon, although today’s canned foods are packaged in 100% recyclable steel. Canned, fresh, and frozen forms of food, such as fruits and vegetables, all provide needed nutrients for a healthy diet. Some canned foods present higher levels of some nutrients, such as carotenoids in canned tomatoes. Although consumers are aware of the convenience and value that canned foods provide, less than half of those surveyed recognize that canned foods count toward the government’s recommended dietary guidelines. More than half of Americans disagree that canned food is as nutritious as fresh food and more than one-third disagree that canned food is as nutritious as frozen varieties. Helping consumers understand that a homemade meal does not mean cooking for hours and that they can and should make use of a combination of canned, fresh, and frozen food options to get delicious, nutritious meals on the table quickly may help toward achieving dietary goals.

Is there a place for canned foods in this day and age? Maybe so!

Cathy Kapica, PhD, RD, LD, CFCS, is an adjunct professor of nutrition at Tufts University and is the CEO of the Awegrin Institute, a nonprofit, public health think tank. She uses her more than 20 years of nutrition science and wellness expertise to promote public health through effective research and communication.

Dr Kapica is a paid science advisor to the Canned Food Alliance.

The Canned Food Alliance funded the development of this article.

Correspondence: Cathy Kapica, PhD, RD, LD, CFCS, the Awegrin Institute, 400 E Randolph, Suite 2822, Chicago, IL 60601 (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins