Peaches have always been a staple in household diets, but the younger generation is falling short of the consumption rates from past generations. The National Peach Council (NPC) is working to fix this issue.
In a recent study, it was discovered that the average peach consumer is in excess of 55 years old. NPC Director Kay Rentzel spoke about the efforts being made to increase the consumption of peaches among the younger crowd.
The main goal is to find a way to target younger generations. Rentzel said that the NPC is focusing on educating the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress on the value of including peaches in various feeding programs.
According to Rentzel, school cafeterias were one of the biggest targets of the project. However, since many schools are not in session during the peak of the peach season, other forms of delivering peaches to children are necessary. Frozen peaches have provided the greatest hope for this initiative. Freezing the peaches allows the fruit to be available year-round to students.
Excess peaches can be removed at the height of the season and preserved (either canned or frozen), so they can be marketed all year long. Rentzel stated that many of the varieties grown only have a shelf life of about two weeks, but preserving the peaches allows them to be available throughout the year.
The peaches can be frozen into 4.4-ounce cups, 2-pound tubs and 20-pound pails.
“It comes down to education and communication,” said Rentzel. The NPC is continuing to spend time with people on Capitol Hill to express the importance of peaches and the benefits they offer, she said.
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