Skip directly to: Main page content

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Horticulture Innovation Lab

190 Env. Hort. Building
UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-3522 (phone)
(530) 752-7182 (fax)


UC Davis event

Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables

Aug. 31 Webinar: Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs for Fruits and Vegetables

When: 7 a.m., PDT, Thursday, August 31, 2017
Register here

Share your thoughts on how horticulture and nutrition communities can work together to make fruits and vegetables a global priority! The call will start with highlights from a June conference held at UC Davis, and include ample time for discussing a strategy for moving toward ensuring access to abundant fruits and vegetables for all.

Speakers are from UC Davis:

  • Beth Mitcham, Director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab, and Cooperative Extension Specialist in Postharvest Pomology
  • Reina Engle-Stone, Assistant Professor of Global Nutrition, and Program in International & Community Nutrition Faculty Member
  • Edye Kuyper, Nutrition Advisor, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences International Programs Office

Kelly McDonald of SPRING will facilitate the webinar.

Please register for this free event before participating.

The UC Davis World Food Center organized a workshop on "Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables," on June 2-3, 2017, at the UC Davis Conference Center.

The event was hosted in collaboration with the Program in International and Community Nutrition and the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

The objective of this workshop was to provide recommendations for development strategies to improve the availability, affordability, and demand of fruits and vegetables. The workshop was divided into three sessions:

  1. Optimal Nutrition and the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables
  2. Improving the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables
  3. Metrics to Evaluate and Improve Diet Quality

Welcome messages during the event were offered by Amy Beaudreault of the UC Davis World Food Center and Jan Hopmans of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

See full event program (PDF) for more details.

From the event: Photos, presentations and white paper

Photos from the event are available on Flickr, courtesy of the UC Davis World Food Center.

Event organizers are also working on a white paper, which we will share on this webpage once it is complete.

Presentations from the event are available below. We continue to collect final presentation files from remaining presenters.

Session 1: Optimal Nutrition and the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

Introduction to Session: Aligning the food system for dietary needs
Session 1 discussion questions

Session Chair: Kathryn Dewey, UC Davis
9:15 - 9:50 a.m.

Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables - UC Davis event

PROGRAM: The UC Davis World Food Center hosted a 2017 event, "Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits & Vegetables" in collaboration with the Horticulture Innovation Lab and the Program for International Community Nutrition. See the program booklet for more details.

Supply, demand, and projected nutritional need for fruits and vegetables
Timothy Sulser, IFPRI
9:20 - 9:50 a.m.

Abstract: The International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities
and Trade (IMPACT) of the International Food Policy Research Institute
(IFPRI) is an integrated system of linked economic, climate, water, and
crop models that allows for exploration of the future of supply, demand,
trade, and critical aspects of the global agricultural system. IMPACT
generates projections for over 60 commodities produced in 158 countries
out to the year 2050. Fruits and vegetables (F&V) are a critical element of
future diets that face particular challenges. Baseline projections indicate
that total global consumption will nearly double from 2010 to 2050 while
average per capita availability will only increase by about 40 percent.
Most of this growth takes place in the developing world. The daily World
Health Organization (WHO) healthy diet target of 500g of F&V per person
per day is achieved, on average, by 2030 across most of the globe except
in Africa South of the Sahara (SSA). While other regions continue to
improve general availability of F&V out to 2050, SSA is projected to lag
behind and continues to fall short of this target. In addition, distributional
effects are important in all regions as significant portions of the population
will not be able to consume adequate amounts of F&V even if the regional
average meets the WHO target. Modeling the future of F&V and their role
in healthy diets presents interesting challenges for the IMPACT
development team. Better representation of the different types of F&V is
being actively pursued. How to model healthy diets and the distributional
effects in a structural model, such as IMPACT, is an important area of
development in addition to working on how to best communicate these
results and their implications to policy-makers.

The Potential for Food Systems Approaches to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Low- And Middle-income Countries (LMICs)
Andrew Jones, University of Michigan
9:50 - 10:20 a.m.

Abstract: Dr. Jones will discuss the contribution of fruits and vegetables to the diets
of populations in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the
socio-cultural and environmental barriers to meeting recommended
dietary intakes of fruits and vegetables in these contexts. He will also
discuss the evidence for how policies and programs aimed at
transforming food systems may modify fruit and vegetable consumption,
and the sectoral synergies and trade-offs that may be faced through these
actions with implications for both human health and the environment.

Producing Enough Fruits and Vegetables to Meet Dietary Recommendations in the United States
Zach Conrad, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
10:20 - 10:50 a.m.

Abstract: Poor diet is the predominant risk factor for the leading causes of
mortality in the US. Accordingly, Americans are regularly advised to
increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. Yet little is known
about whether the US agricultural system can produce enough food to
achieve this goal on a national scale. There are also limits to how
quickly the agricultural sector can adapt to shifting food
demands. Logistically and economically, producers are motivated
to maintain production levels of their current suite of crops, and supply
chain infrastructure is often inflexible to change. Biologically, every crop
has its own growing conditions that need to be met in order to thrive, so
the availability of suitable cropland for each crop can limit the availability
of certain foods for consumers. And there is a circular problem to
increasing fruit and vegetable production: while food production on a
large scale can enhance ecosystem services, it also has the potential to
deplete or degrade natural resources, threaten environmental
sustainability, and reduce yields, thereby limiting the agricultural capacity
to accommodate improved dietary patterns. Increasing fruit and vegetable
production on a large scale and in a sustainable way presents
system-level challenges that require system-level solutions. Public health
nutrition and sustainable agriculture are too related to be successfully
pursued in isolation, and increased opportunities to bridge these domains
are urgently needed to solve our most pressing problems.

Potential Impacts of Increasing Supply of Specific Fruits and Vegetables on Nutrient Adequacy
Joanne Arsenault, UC Davis
10:50 - 11:20 a.m.

Abstract: This presentation describes an analytical framework for assessing the
nutritional adequacy of national food supplies and the potential for
agricultural diversity and increased production of fruit and vegetable
crops to address micronutrient gaps. The micronutrient contents of
national food supplies of three countries (Bangladesh, Senegal, and
Cameroon)were calculated using national food balance sheet data.
Population-adjusted nutrient requirements were estimated and nutrient
short-falls in the food supply were identified, defined as not meeting the
requirements of at least 80%of the population. Linear programming
modeling was used to determine a mix of crops that could fill the nutrient
gaps for several nutrients while minimizing additional land use. Out of
eight micronutrients included in the present analysis, six were identified
as inadequate in Bangladesh and Senegal (vitamins A and C, riboflavin,
folate, calcium, and zinc) and three were in inadequate in Cameroon
(vitamin A, calcium, and zinc). Adequacy of some micronutrients, such as
vitamins A and C, could potentially be met with reasonably small
additional land required by increasing production of a few fruit or
vegetable crops that are particularly dense in these nutrients (e.g., carrots
or guava). Folate adequacy could be improved with increased production
of legumes and green leafy vegetables, but with a higher amount of
agricultural land required. Other micronutrient gaps would likely need to
be met by other means, such as enhanced livestock production, food
fortification, biofortification, or imports.While fruits and vegetables cannot
meet all nutrient needs in a population, increased production and crop
diversification could potentially close the adequacy gap for some key

Facilitated Group Discussion
11:40 - 12:30 p.m.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables

PHOTOS: Slideshow of photos from workshop hosted by the UC Davis World Food Center on the role of fruits and vegetables to improve nutrition. Browse or explore on Flickr.

Session 2: Improving the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables

Introduction to Session
Session 2 discussion questions

Session Chair: Emmy Simmons, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition
1:30 - 1:35 p.m.

Fresh Produce and the Diet Transformation in Africa: Challenges to Ensuring a Safe and Fresh Supply to Growing Urban Populations
David Tschirley, Michigan State University (virtual presentation)
1:35 - 2:05 p.m.

Artichoke to Ziziphus: Using Agrobiodiversity to Improve the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables
Gina Kennedy, Bioversity International
2:05 - 2:35 p.m.

Abstract: Fruits, vegetables and nuts are gaining increasing attention with
the global shift in focus from food quantity to food quality as a requirement
to end all forms of malnutrition. Some 5,538 plant species are being used
today for food according to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (RBG,
2016). Out of this portfolio, 539 vegetables (232 genera) and 645 fruit
indigenous species (214 genera) can be found in Africa alone (PROTA,
2010). There is a remarkable, yet untapped potential to better utilize
genetic diversity in both wild and cultivated species of fruits and vegetables.
Specific advantages that could be conferred from greater use of fruit
and vegetable biodiversity include smoothing seasonal availability, providing
a wide range of choice to meet consumer taste and culture preferences and
selecting for specific characteristics such as nutritional content or desired
culinary use. Much of the natural bounty in diversity is underutilized
and poorly conserved yet there is great potential to use these untapped
resources to increase fruit and vegetable availability. Case studies will be used
to illustrate the potential for agrobiodiversity to boost fruit and vegetable
availability, including how governments can create an enabling environment
for mainstreaming biodiversity of fruits and vegetables.

Reducing losses and extending availability of fruits and vegetables
Elizabeth Mitcham, UC Davis
2:35 - 3:05 p.m.

Abstract: While consumption of fruits and vegetables offer many nutrition
benefits, these commodities are much more perishable than legumes and
grains, especially when handled fresh. Losses of 30 to 80% are common, and
vary depending on the product, environmental conditions and degree of
care in handling. In the developing world, produce losses occur mainly
between the farm and the market while in developed countries losses
occur at the retail and consumer level. Particularly in developing
countries, poor postharvest handling results from a lack of awareness and
training; lack of infrastructure including cold storage, improved roads, and
transportation vehicles; and lack of incentives to improve practices. The
most important improvements needed involve harvest timing, protective
packaging, introduction of cold-chain practices, and storage facilities or
simple processing methods to stabilize the products for off-season

Processing Strategies for Stabilization Perishable Produce and Formulation into Staple Foods
Mario Ferruzzi, North Carolina State University
3:05 - 3:35 p.m.

Abstract: Post-harvest losses of perishable fruits and vegetables remain
a critical hurdle to consistent delivery of nutrient dense plant foods to at-risk
populations in Sub Saharan Africa. Current efforts within the USAID-funded Feed
the Future Food Processing and Post Harvest Innovation Lab (FPL) seek
to leverage food processing as a means to drive the value chain and
deliver products with stabilized and improved nutritional
characteristics. We have an integrated research and product
development strategy with the goal to address demand for affordable,
convenient and nutritious products by application of food processing
to stabilize high value fruits and vegetables and to develop new
products to deliver nutrient dense fruit and vegetable micronutrients. This
presentation will briefly review solar drying and low cost extrusion as
means to stabilize high value fruits (mango, carrot and papaya) and
nutrient dense indigenous plants (moringa, baobab and hibiscus). The
applicability of these technologies alone and in combination will be
described in terms of generation of ingredients suitable for formulation
into new processed food products such as instant cereals that serve to
stabilize and diversify the fruit and vegetable product options for at risk
consumers. Micronutrient recovery, impacts to micronutrient
bioaccessibility and final product quality parameters will be described.

Facilitated Group Discussion
3:50 - 4:45 p.m.

4:45 p.m.

The event re-opens on Saturday, beginning with a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m.

Session 3: Metrics to Evaluate and Improve Diet Quality

Introduction to Session: Metrics to Evaluate and Improve Diet Quality
Session Chair: Reina Engle-Stone, UC Davis
9:00 - 9:05 a.m.

Monitoring of Food Affordability and Diet Quality
Anna Herforth, Columbia University
9:05 - 9:45 a.m.

Abstract: This presentation begins with the question of how to define a
healthy diet, which is the basis for subsequent discussion about how to
measure (a) diet quality and (b) cost of healthy diets. A question of major
importance to public health nutrition is how food environments (including
food prices) affect diet quality, and how each can be improved, but the
discussion is hampered by the fact that we have little data on either.

Diet quality is the largest risk factor in the global burden of disease, and
the common factor among malnutrition in all its forms. To date, however,
no internationally comparable indicators of diet quality are
measured across countries. Gallup, Inc., has proposed to develop a diet
quality (DQ) module to include in the Gallup World Poll, which is
implemented in 160 countries. Ideally, such a module would be simple to
administer, yield indicators that are easy to interpret and reflect multiple
facets of DQ, and be comparable across countries. A review of
international and national definitions of diet quality yielded a set of
elements of healthy diets that appear to be consistent and important
across all regions of the world. Development of the module will use these
elements are the basis for indicators that would capture both "adequacy"
and "moderation" components of diet quality. A DQ module would enable
tracking of trends over time, better information for policy and program
formulation, and analyses about the causes and consequences of poor (or
healthy) diets.

Food prices are a major determinant of food choice and dietary quality.
While food prices are a topic of much international discourse and analysis,
the basket of foods tracked typically consists of staple foods or
economically important commodities, and bears little relationship to the
cost of healthy diets. Therefore the food price indicators currently in
use are not fit for purpose to understand the impact of policies and time
trends on the cost of healthy diets. The IANDA Project uses existing food
price monitoring systems to reflect the cost of nutritious diets.Working in
Ghana and Tanzania, we have piloted four indicators: Cost of Nutrient
Adequacy (CoNA), Cost of Recommended Diets (CoRD), Cost of Diet
Diversity (CoDD), and a Nutritious Food Price Index (NFPI). The central
innovation of these indicators is that they are designed to use existing
data, and therefore could be rapidly scaled up and compared across
countries. Such indicators can better inform research, discourse, and
action on how to increase access to nutritious diets.

Food Environment Metrics to Support Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables (FVs)
Selena Ahmed, Montana State University
9:45 - 10:15 a.m.

Abstract: The food environment, defined as the context that encompasses
the availability, affordability, convenience, and desirability of food, is
recognized to influence consumer food choices and dietary patterns.
However, there is a lack of generalizable metrics to evaluate the key food
environment component of desirability. This study presents three
generalizable food environment metrics to assess fruit and vegetable (FV)
desirability and availability including parameters of sensory desirability,
diversity, and quality. These tools were developed and pilot tested by the
Montana State University Food and Health Lab in rural and urban built
food environments in the frontier state of Montana towards elucidating
access gaps to desirable and diverse produce based on rurality of
location. Findings demonstrate that FVs procured from rural built food
environments in the study area have significantly lower scores for
parameters of sensory desirability, diversity, and quality compared to
those in more urban sites. The presented metrics can be applied in
diverse socio-ecological contexts to better evaluate, modify, and monitor
food environments in complement to existing food environment tools.
Further research is being carried out to examine the relationship of
findings from the presented food environment metrics to food choices,
dietary quality, and health outcomes.

A New Metrics Toolbox to Assess the Cost and Geographic Distribution of Healthy Diets
Anju Aggarwal, University of Washington, Seattle
10:15 - 10:45 a.m.

Abstract: Aligning global food production systems with population-wide energy
and nutrient needs requires a closer look at the multiple drivers of food
choice. Whereas some consumer food decisions are thought to be under
individual control, others clearly are not. Taste, cost, convenience, variety,
health concerns and multiple attitudes and behaviors affect day-to-day
food seeking behaviors, diet quality, and health outcomes. Each of these
domains has its metrics and measures that can be deployed to quantify
physical, economic and psychosocial access to healthy foods. Merging
dietary intakes data with retail food prices at both local and national levels
allows for new studies of diet quality in relation to diet cost, assessed at
the individual rather than household levels. These studies led to the
concept of nutrition resilience, operationalized as the ability to eat
better for less. Geo-localizing addresses of study participants by tax
parcel allows for new studies in spatial nutritional epidemiology. The
ability to geocode the place of food acquisition and consumption, and
thus map geographic disparities in behaviors, diets and health is a new
approach to nutritional epidemiology. These metrics leverage
cutting-edge GIS technologies and spatial techniques that can, potentially,
be used outside the United States. By the end of the talk, we will explore
the utility of this toolbox to measure access to healthy foods in LMIC and
in high income countries.

Facilitated Group Discussion
11:00 - 11:45 a.m.

Closing Remarks
Amy Beaudreault, UC Davis
11:45 a.m.

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.



Please visit the World Food Center event webpage for other details. Or contact the primary event organizer, Amy Beaudreault, at