Testifying before the United States House of Representatives on June 14, Bill Smittcamp, president and chief executive officer of Wawona Frozen Foods and member representative of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), called on Congress to ensure federal government nutrition programs encourage and incentivize more produce consumption. His Clovis, California-headquartered company specializes in growing and processing frozen fruit for value-added packers, foodservice distributors, restaurants, supermarkets and schools.
During a full Agriculture Committee hearing on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition programs other than the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Smittcamp urged policymakers to include frozen fruits and vegetables in all produce incentive programs.
“The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consumers eat all forms of fruits and vegetables to meet the recommended daily intake,” said Smittcamp. “Frozen foods offer a cost-effective and pragmatic way to help people meet these nutritional needs.”
Frozen foods serve an important role in helping people increase overall produce consumption and meet recommendations published in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Research shows that when consumers have various forms of fruits and vegetables available in their home, including in frozen form, their produce intake is higher. In addition, frozen foods can be served with minimal preparation requirements and time, which are identified barriers to produce consumption.
“Frozen fruits and vegetables are fresh produce, simply frozen, and they are a complement to the fresh produce market,” added Alison Bodor, president and chief executive officer of Arlington, Virginia-headquartered AFFI. “Frozen foods meet the needs of those who may lack the time or resources to cook from scratch, help reduce food waste due to their long shelf life, and allow for year-round access.”
The American Frozen Food Institute is a trade association representing all segments of the United States frozen food supply chain from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. It advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf.