PITTSBURGH--Oct. 27, 2003--H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) continued to spread the word about the ongoing evidence of the health benefits of lycopene in processed tomatoes at the 2003 American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (ADA FNCE) in San Antonio, Texas.
Lunch, Learn and Lycopene
A media luncheon held on Sunday, October 26 featured Dr. Maureen Storey, director of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech, and Dr. David Yeung, director of global nutrition at H.J. Heinz Company. Dr. Storey spoke about the growing body of knowledge on lycopene found in tomatoes and how it can combat a multitude of life-threatening ailments. "Emerging evidence shows that lycopene from processed tomatoes is good for everybody and it may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis," said Dr. Storey.
Dr. Yeung addressed Heinz's role in lycopene research; specifically the company's efforts to educate the public about the high lycopene content in the variety of Heinz processed tomato products. Results from a recent survey show that the public's awareness of functional foods and the benefits of lycopene in a healthy diet are higher than ever before. Just five years ago an initial survey asked consumers if they had ever heard of lycopene. Only 6.5% of participants responded positively. The 2003 survey results show that 37.3% of people asked had heard of the antioxidant - a dramatic increase. "The more consumers learn about this antioxidant, the better prepared they will be to eat healthfully, " said Dr. Yeung. "The fact that lycopene is so abundantly available in processed tomato products makes it even easier to add to meal plan options."
Knowledge and Awareness Continues to Grow
For the past few years, food and nutrition scientists and scholars at renowned universities have published studies showing that the consumption of lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red hue, may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, cervical cancer and other diseases. These studies have sparked a great interest in tomatoes and processed tomato products and have consumers looking for ways to incorporate the antioxidant into their diets.
The biggest sources of lycopene in the North American diet are processed tomato products such as Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Classico Pasta Sauces, Escalon, Bell'Orto tomato products and Heinz EZ Squirt Red, which has the same lycopene content as Heinz Ketchup.
366 Days of Lycopene
Dr. Yeung also hosted culinary demonstrations on Sunday, October 26 and Monday, October 27 where Heinz's Chef Alan McDonald prepared recipes from the new Heinz calendar, Tomatoes 2004 - 24 Lycopene-Rich Recipes for a Great Year. Dr. Yeung and Chef McDonald, co-creators of the calendar recipes, signed attendees' copies of the calendar, which is currently available for $8.95 online at www.knowledgeinanutshell.com, and by phone at 1-800-NUTSHELL.
Throughout the three-day conference, Heinz was involved in a variety of activities to encourage conference attendees to taste and see how a lycopene-rich diet can be both healthy and delicious. In addition to the media luncheon and culinary demonstrations, the Heinz booth served as a stop for visitors to sample processed tomato products and gather pamphlets, books, promotional items, and the new lycopene calendar.
H. J. Heinz Company is one of the world's leading processors and marketers of high-quality ketchup, condiments, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and infant foods through all retail and foodservice channels. A host of favorite brands, such as Heinz(R) Ketchup, Ore-Ida(R) french fries, Boston Market(R) and Smart Ones(R) meals and Plasmon(R) baby food are the growth drivers in Heinz's two strategic global segments: Meal Enhancers and Meals & Snacks. Heinz's 50 companies have number-one or number-two brands in 200 countries, showcased by the Heinz(R) brand, a global consumer icon with $2.5 billion in annual sales. Fourteen additional brands, each with more than $100 million in annual sales, generate a further $2.6 billion. Information on Heinz is available at www.heinz.com.