Daily Harvest Bowls and Smoothies.
Daily Harvest released a new study on the state of food in America called The Veg Report. According to the survey, 72% of Americans confess they do not eat fruits and veggies every day and nearly half of Americans define their diet as “unhealthy.” 38% of Americans admit to skipping an actual meal at least once a week and replacing it with a bar or supplement which equivocates to 6.7 Billion meals skipped every year. 56% of Americans don’t read the ingredient label before buying a product and 57% of Americans don’t look at the amount of sugar, sodium, or protein in their food prior to purchase.
The Veg Report finding around Americans eating refined snacks.
The company took a sample of 1,000 respondents to be representative of the larger US population. Using Census figures, Daily Harvest set quotas to ensure that the sample is an accurate snapshot of the larger population. Their surveys were conducted through a partnership with a panel provider, which includes individuals who have opted in to research. Daily Harvest quotas ensure that they are not being skewed to any one given demographic, but are shaping the sample in a way that can truly be representative of US adults 18+.
CEO of Daily Harvest, Rachel Drori.
CEO of Daily Harvest, Rachel Drori, has been a huge advocate around changing the way Americans eat. She explains why Daily Harvest conducted and released The Veg Report
Yola Robert: Why did Daily Harvest want to release The Veg Report? How did the report come about?
Rachel Drori: We released The Veg Report to gain a better understanding of the state of food today. We wanted to share quantitative, yet really digestible data that helped explain the things we always knew, but couldn’t prove. It was also important for us to set a baseline so we can measure how we help the population eat more fruits and vegetables over time.
Robert: What is the most surprising fact that Daily Harvest found surrounding the report? How is the company educating consumers nationwide with the insights found?
Drori: We were surprised to learn that Americans are not reading nutrition labels. They’re hard to decipher so we thought that people read them and didn’t know what they meant. In reality, people are not even looking to see what’s in their food let alone taking the steps to understand what they’re eating. Brands today are “health washing” or promoting products as good for you when they don’t actually have much (or any) nutritional value. Unfortunately, consumers are relying on these misleading marketing claims to determine what’s “healthy” and the stakes are high. We hope to inspire people to demand more transparency with their food and ultimately change the narrative
Robert: How can some frozen foods better than foods labeled as “fresh?”
Drori: Not all frozen is the same. In fact, the majority of frozen options out there are hyper-processed, hyper-refined, and chock full of additives and preservatives. At Daily Harvest, we take frozen back to what it was before the dawn of TV dinners… when it was a method of preserving food in its unadulterated form without adding preservatives. Daily Harvest has created what food can be in the future. When done right, frozen offers the perfect solution for those with busy lives – more convenience, superior nutrients and flavor, and less waste.
Our farm-frozen ingredients offer a healthier, more nourishing alternative to the fresh produce you find in the grocery store. We allow our fruits and vegetables to reach their maximum flavor and nutrients by ripening naturally on the vine and we freeze everything on the farm within 24 hours of harvest. Then, our chefs and nutritionists put them together into delicious dishes that are all ready in under five minutes. Most grocery store produce, on the other hand, is harvested when it’s still green before reaching peak-nutrition, and then ripens in transit. As it goes on the journey from farm to facility to store, the nutrients – which were never given the opportunity to fully develop in the first place – degrade. They also use chemicals, like 1-methylcyclopropene, and preservation methods to help keep it “fresh.”
According to the Environmental Quality and Food Safety Research Unit, blueberries contain 200% more vitamin C when farm-frozen vs. fresh after three days; spinach contains 25% more vitamin E when farm-frozen vs. fresh after three days; and cauliflower contains 50% more antioxidants when farm-frozen vs. fresh after three days.
Robert: What process does Daily Harvest use when freezing fresh foods?
Drori: We harvest our fruits and vegetables at just the right time – when they reach their maximum flavor and nutritional peak and then freeze everything on the farm within 24 hours, which is key. By allowing our produce to ripen on the vine, it can fully develop in flavor and reach its nutritional peak. Once our fruits and vegetables mature to meet our standards, we lock in all the nourishing goodness with Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) technology. Our food is never refined and not processed beyond how you would prepare fruits and vegetables in your own kitchen.
Robert: What ingredients in processed foods do Americans need to be on the lookout for and stop eating immediately?
Drori: Americans need to be very weary of consuming foods with the following:
- Chemical Preservatives – often listed as sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, tocopherols
- Emulsifiers – often listed as soy lecithin, monoglycerides
- Thickeners – often listed as xanthan gum, pectin, carrageenan, guar gum
- Artificial Colors – often listed as artificial FD&C Yellow No. 6 or natural beta-carotene to add yellow hues
Robert: What do you hope people take away after reading The Veg Report?
Drori: We want to inspire small changes. None of us are perfect, but there is the opportunity for more transparency and to get people eating the food they know they should. Our broader mission is to take care of food, so that food can take care of you. We believe that by eating more nourishing, whole fruits and vegetables every day, people will not only feel their best but be their best.