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Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk

University of Auckland - 31 Jan '13

NZ Avocado contributed to the study detailed below through the provision of avocados to the participants throughout the trial.

A study by Lynnette Ferguson, Professor of Nutrition at The University of Auckland, has shown that a change in diet can be effective in reducing inflammation over a period of just six weeks in healthy New Zealanders.

The research has also shown that short-term studies with relatively small numbers of participants are capable of yielding robust research results, which has major implications for the cost of human clinical trials.

"Inflammation,” says Professor Ferguson, "can be the catalyst for chronic human diseases, including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, as well as various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease and type 2 diabetes.”

"It has been established in many studies that this inflammation can be reduced through a diet which is high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and is low in refined grains, saturated fats and sugars.

"Many of these dietary components characterise the ‘Mediterranean diet', which has been shown to protect against chronic disease.”

What Professor Ferguson set out to investigate was whether there was evidence of inflammation in apparently healthy New Zealanders and whether changing their diet for just six weeks would reduce this evidence.

To do this she looked at bio-markers including the C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a standard marker for inflammation and can be measured through blood tests.

Thirty healthy volunteers, selected for their initially "poor” diets, were encouraged to cut out refined and processed foods and to follow a Mediterranean-type diet over the six weeks of the study, with increased amounts of fish, vegetables, unrefined cereals and "good” fats such as olive oil and avocado. They were given some foods, including salmon (for one meal a week), and were provided with recipes for healthy eating. The biggest difference from a standard Mediterranean-style diet was the use of gluten-free foods.

Participants, randomly assigned to high and lower-intervention groups, provided blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the study, completed a four-day diary in the final days, and completed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle, as well as attending workshops led by expert dieticians.

"This was a small study, intended to be a pilot for a much larger study of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease, but the results turned out to be highly statistically significant,” says Professor Ferguson. "Overall average daily fat intake was considerably reduced, and much lower percentages of saturated fat were consumed.”

The self-reporting of volunteers was corroborated by the blood tests, which showed a corresponding reduction in the bio-markers for inflammation. It demonstrated that the high-intervention diet had altered gene expression within six weeks.

"This is a remarkable result,” says Professor Ferguson, "since it shows that average people, many of them young and with no health conditions, can, through an improvement in diet, significantly modify the biomarkers that indicate the risk that they could develop a chronic disease later.”

The larger research project for which this was a pilot or "proof of principle” study is one which is examining the effect of a change to a Mediterranean-type diet (similar, though not identical, to that in the pilot study) on people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

It has been established that there are several different genotypes characteristic of people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and that each of those genotypes responds differently to particular types of diet or dietary items. The current research project is concentrating on those who have the most common genotype for the disease, though the ultimate aim is to formulate different diets tailored to the needs of the whole range of genotypes.

Results are being analysed now and look "highly encouraging”, says Professor Ferguson. The findings will be available in March.

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Minister Nathan Guy declares medium scale adverse event - assistance now available

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has declared a medium-scale adverse event for the primary sector in storm-hit  Northland.  Minister Nathan Guy visited Northland this morning and met with NZAGA Rep's Sue Culham and John Cotterell. After seeing the damage on avocado orchards first hand, he declared a "Medium-scale adverse event".  This means that assistance will be available to growers on the ground to clear orchards. This is great news for those affected and we urge you to please take up this offer of assistance.  "The first stage of this is to provide funding for Northland Rural Support Trust (NRST) to deliver help, support, and management advice to farmers and growers. The Trust have been working closely with MPI and local authorities to determine what's required in the clean-up phase after severe flooding and wind damage. "The storm has impacted around 80% of the primary sector in Northland with very high winds and heavy rainfall over a solid four day period. I’ve seen for myself the damage today at an avocado orchard severely damaged by wind and dairy farms near Whangarei under water.  "The local community has done a great [job] of pulling together and helping each other out. Farmers and growers are resilient and will get through this," says Mr Guy.  Rural Support Trust is the main body that will receive the assistance funding and will co-ordinate the clean-up required. What we need from growers is for you to register your orchard through the Rural Support Trust for this help. Please call 0800 787 254 – you need to register as soon as possible. If you already emailed Sue Culham after last week's call for storm damage information, you will still need to register with RST so they can take into account your specific needs.  All growers requiring help to clear fallen fruit, trees, branches etc please ring RST to register. You will need to give them details of what is required for your clean-up, such as:  situation of orchard, number of trees down to be cleared, if fruit on ground is to be cleared? 

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales for 2013-14 Season

New Zealand’s avocado industry today announced it has more than doubled its sales from last season to $136m, setting new records in both export and New Zealand markets. This stunning return eclipses the previous sales record of $84.1m set in 2009-10 and is far in excess of the $60.4m worth of avocados sold last year. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says this season’s success is due to a number of reasons including initiatives which are transforming the industry into a more cohesive and competitive sector. The Australian and New Zealand markets have performed very well, and discipline by the market players to match supply and demand has played a big part in that.  "Our focus over the last 12 months has been to promote far more collaboration across the avocado industry – with growers, packers, New Zealand marketers, exporters and those supporting our industry.  This has allowed us to start addressing and resolving issues that have previously held us back,” Scoular says. The season has seen the successful amalgamation of our two largest exporters into one exporting group to Australia our largest market, and the continued collaboration of three exporters under one brand into Asia. In April this year the Avocado Industry Council secured a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries to significantly increase productivity and capability, to increase sales to $280m by 2023. The five year programme, New Zealand Avocados Go Global, will leverage the growing demand in New Zealand and in Asia for premium, safe, and healthy produce.  "There’s a world-wide trend towards eating fresh, healthy food and the nutritional benefits of eating avocados are now widely recognised and understood by consumers. This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on this season’s sales growth going forward,” she says. Scoular says irregular bearing remains a major challenge to being able to guarantee a consistent supply of avocados from year-to-year. This is being addressed with research being undertaken collaboratively between NZ Avocado, Plant & Food Research, industry experts and growers. This season’s $135.9m return comprises 4.9m 5.5kg trays of avocados. $102.9m worth were exported, while $33m worth were sold in New Zealand. Last year a total of 2.6 million trays were produced, totalling $31.7m worth of exports, and $28.7m of local sales. Scoular says this season’s record results also reflect the increased promotional and market development activities to raise visibilities for the amazing attributes of avocados, and to drive consumption. "Nadia Lim, the New Zealand Avocado’s ambassador, has been a great asset in raising the profile of avocados both here at home and overseas.” Ashby Whitehead, Chair of New Zealand Avocado Growers Association and AIC Ltd says continued collaboration across all sectors of the New Zealand avocado industry, plus discussions and partnerships with Government, scientists and experts from other horticultural fields will help push industry growth going forward. "The industry has never been in a better position.  We are identifying opportunities, prioritising markets and addressing obstacles on a path to becoming a high value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand,” says Whitehead. Normal 0 false false false EN-NZ X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

New Zealand Avocados set to Go Global with New Government Partnership

The Avocado Industry Council announced today it will partner with the Ministry for Primary Industries in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Go Global— a five year programme to increase the productivity and capability within the avocado industry to deliver significant additional returns for New Zealand. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive Officer of Avocado Industry Council, says it is a landmark development for the avocado industry that will increase sales to more than a quarter of a billion dollars by 2023. "This PGP programme will create significant value across the industry, helping position New Zealand’s avocado industry to capitalise on the growing demand domestically and in Asia, for premium, safe, and healthy produce. Part of this will involve developing a New Zealand avocado story to highlight the health and versatility of our avocados,” says Scoular. The Go Global programme’s vision is to equip the industry with the tools to triple productivity to 12 tonnes per hectare and quadruple industry returns to $280 million by 2023. New Zealand aims to become the avocado supplier of choice in Asian markets, by gaining an early foothold, and a "first mover” advantage in those markets. "A consistent supply of premium avocados and a unified marketing strategy which creates a point of difference for New Zealand avocados will drive this growth,” she says. The programme will address the industry’s biggest challenge of low and irregular bearing. Collaborative research, with strong cross industry participation will deliver best practice across the value chain which is transferred through a network of innovation leaders, rural professionals and growers. The programme aims to achieve widespread adoption of best practice driven by examples of success. Ashby Whitehead, Chair of Avocado Industry Council says the New Zealand avocado industry will be transformed to an efficient, well-informed, and highly capable industry, supplying premium health food to a number of high-value markets domestically and internationally.  "The programme includes co-investment from growers, packers, processors and exporters, it is a real cross-industry collaboration,” says Whitehead. The programme will have a strong focus on knowledge sharing across the avocado industry, which will also be able to be utilised by the recently successful "Avocados for Export” programme, funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, and led by Plant & Food Research. Strengthening information flow, performance and efficiency will be achieved through the development of an information portal, increasing supply chain efficiency and benchmarking performance. Justine Gilliland, Director PGP, MPI, says a total investment of $8.56 million has been secured for the programme, with MPI committing $4.28 million over five years, and the balance coming from industry partners as a mixture of cash and in-kind contributions. "We’re excited by this new programme. It’s the first horticulture programme involving fresh fruit in the PGP, showing the diversity of the industries involved in the PGP,” says Gilliland. "We are thrilled to be part of the PGP—the industry is motivated and ready to capitalise on the real opportunities that exist for our industry. This PGP programme will see the emergence of a globally competitive, high value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand,” says Scoular. MPI and Avocado Industry Council will now negotiate and agree a contract so Go Global can formally commence. About NZ Avocado Growers’ Association Inc. & Avocado Industry Council Limited The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. The 2014-15 season will see the industry produce a near record of five million trays.NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) work with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers of which there are over 1600 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For more information visit www.nzavocado.co.nz/industry About the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) The PGP aims to boost the productivity and profitability of our primary sector through investment between government and industry. It provides an essential springboard to enable New Zealand to stay at the forefront of primary sector innovation. MPI and industry have now collectively committed around $708 million in 18 announced (15 contracted and three pending). PGP programmes are generally long-run programmes of five to seven years’ duration and are subject to oversight and monitoring by an independent panel (the Investment Advisory Panel) and MPI. Monitoring requirements include programme steering groups, quarterly progress reporting, annual plans, audits, and progress reviews, along with evaluation of the overall programme. Funding is only released to programmes on receipt of invoices for work completed in accordance with programme plans. MPI is now seeking applications for new Primary Growth Partnership programmes. The closing date for proposals is 12pm on Wednesday 25 June. See the PGP webpage on MPI’s website for further information and guidance www.mpi.govt.nz **ENDS** For further comment, contact: Jen Scoular  CEO, Avocado Industry Council  jen.scoular@nzavocado.co.nz 021 741 014 Brad Young Senior Communications Advisor, MPI media@mpi.govt.nz 029 894 0328 (MPI media phone) For media assistance, contact: Midge Munro Communications Manager, Avocado Industry Council midge.munro@nzavocado.co.nz  64 7 571 6147  64 21 275 3331 Bridgette Paton-Tapsell Village Public Relations | Marketing b@villagenz.com  64 7 572 1608 64 27 553 3929 

New Zealand Avocados Profile boosted at Major Singapore Food Festival

New Zealand’s avocado industry has this week made a high-profile push into Asia with celebrity cook and New Zealand avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, taking to the stage at a global food festival in Singapore to help promote consumption of New Zealand avocados. Over 17,000 people attended the SAVOUR food festival which featured Michelin star chefs and award-winning cuisine from around the world. Growing demand from health-conscious consumers has already seen our avocado exports to Singapore soar from 600 trays per week to 3600 trays per week in the past five years. The promotion of New Zealand avocados at SAVOUR was led by AVANZA Ltd (who collectively market 80 per cent of New Zealand avocados exported to Asia), with support from their Singaporean-based importer, Freshmart, and industry body New Zealand Avocado. AVANZA Ltd spokesman Carwyn Williams says Asian markets are very receptive to products which promote health and well-being. "The Singaporeans are rapidly taking on board the health and beauty benefits of avocados. They’re high in potassium, protein, fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also great for your skin and cardiovascular health so we expect to gain a lot from the exposure at SAVOUR,” he says. Freshmart spokesperson Qi Lin Phan says there is a lot of "untapped potential” in Singapore. "Avocados are still viewed as a ‘Western’ fruit and are used mostly in Western cuisine. But they are becoming increasingly popular among the educated middle aged group who are looking for healthier additions to their daily diet.  "By exhibiting at SAVOUR and having Nadia Lim on board, we hope to ‘localise’ New Zealand avocados and present them in a way that appeals to the Asian palette,” says Phan. Industry organisation NZ Avocado supported AVANZA’s plans by involving its ambassador Nadia Lim in the food festival. Lim has worked as the New Zealand Avocado ambassador for two seasons, fronting significant print and public relations campaigns here at home which has helped make the fruit more popular than ever. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says it’s vital to work collaboratively with industry partners such as AVANZA to open up new export markets around the world. Scoular says Lim has helped increase consumption in New Zealand by developing new and unique ways to use avocados, and is sure her appearance at SAVOUR will inspire food lovers and international chefs to include avocados on their menus. "Nadia successfully hosted a variety cooking events over the three days, as well as engaging with consumers on the AVANZA booth. There was a mixture of cookery classes, demonstrations and seminars, teaching the crowd how to cook with avocados and about the health benefits of the fruit. She’s a natural presenter and as a qualified dietician, she represented our industry superbly,” she says. Scoular says there are also huge benefits of being in the market to understand the food and consumer trends in Singapore which will help inform the industry’s promotions in the coming season. SAVOUR marketing manager Eunice Chua says this year’s festival re-created a farmer’s market atmosphere showcasing lots of fresh fruit and vegetables – hence Lim was invited to host several highly-prized cooking demonstrations using avocados. "In Singapore we import a lot of food because we don’t have many natural resources to grow it. People here increasingly want to see where their food comes from, meet the producer and see how it is grown.” Chua agrees Singaporeans are becoming more health conscious about what they eat, so avocados are more popular than ever, particularly among people aged under 40. "We have a lot of fresh juice shops in Singapore which used to only stock things like watermelon and banana shakes. Now they all have avocado smoothies. And restaurants serve avocado on toast for breakfast or in salads. Five or 10 years ago we wouldn’t have seen that in Singapore.” About SAVOUR Now in its third year, SAVOUR has been described as one of the world’s best food festivals. The 2014 line-up of restaurants featured over 50 signature dishes created by 20 of the world’s top chefs The event also included a gourmet market showcasing a plethora of food and drink exhibitors, celebrity chef master classes, a hands-on cooking studio, wine workshops and other themed areas. All workshops, tastings and demonstrations were conducted by renowned experts and are complimentary, on a first-come first-served basis.

New evidence published in nutrition journal reveals insights into the effects of adding half an avocado to lunch

Loma Linda University Study on Satiety is the Second in a Series of Hass Avocado Board-funded Nutrition Studies Expected to be Released over the Coming Years IRVINE, Calif. (January 8, 2014) – The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) today announced publication of a study that suggests adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped 26 healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. The avocado study, which was conducted by researchers at the Loma Linda University and funded by HAB, was published in Nutrition Journal, a monthly peer-reviewed journal that publishes work in the area of human nutrition. The human clinical study is the second in a series of HAB-funded nutrition studies expected to be released over the coming years as a part of HAB’s single-minded nutrition marketing and research strategy.  Researchers found that study participants who added half of a fresh Hass avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of hunger satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal. "HAB has found that more and more retailers are communicating health information to customers to help them make smart eating choices,” said Emilano Escobedo, executive director, Hass Avocado Board. "The nutrition research conducted by HAB is an important program that will help retailers accomplish that goal.”  "Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to eat between meals,” said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. "We also noted that though adding Hass avocados increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the lunch without avocado. This leads us to believe that Hass avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation.” While the findings were generally positive, more research is needed to determine whether the conclusions drawn from this study can be applied to the general public. However, the results do provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine Hass avocados’ effect on satiety, glucose and insulin response.  "The publication of this study indicates a continued step forward for HAB’s nutrition research program,” said Escobedo. "We are confident that the program will continue to strengthen the positioning of Hass Avocados in the market.”  The research at Loma Linda University is one of several studies supported by HAB as part of a research program established in 2010. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living with top researchers and universities in the United States.  To view the abstract or the full study, "A Randomized 3x3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults,” visit www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/155/abstract.   About the Hass Avocado Board The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass Avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass Avocados directs HAB’s promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2012, retail volume for avocados exceeded 1.1 billion units and retail sales topped $1.2 billion.  HAB provides industry members and stakeholders with resources that they can use in their day-to-day business operations including shipment data and consumer research available at http://www.hassavocadoboard.com/.  In 2010, HAB established a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The Nutrition Research program is an integral part of Love One Today, HAB’s multi-year, science-based food and wellness education program to encourage Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans. For more information visit http://www.loveonetoday.com/research.

Summer Superfruit Celebration with Nadia Lim’s Avocado Christmas Cheesecake

Foodies are in for a treat this month with New Zealand avocado ambassador and nutritionist Nadia Lim’s latest delicious recipe for a dairy and gluten-free cheesecake.  The recipe for the Avocado, Lime and Coconut Cheesecake is on the following page and is complemented by in-season berries. It is sure to be a conversation-piece at the Christmas dinner table.  New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says with avocados you can indulge in a luxuriant summer superfruit dessert but also feel good about boosting your ‘good fat’ intake.  "Avocados offer people the best of both worlds, they are delicious and nutritious and count towards your five plus a day fruit and vegetable intake,” says Scoular.  Nadia says avocados are a perfect option for people who desire nutritious food that contributes positively to their overall health this Christmas.  "Avocados are abundant in valuable vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. Nutritionists have long recommended consuming avocados which are known to support improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake and heart health,” she says.  Avocados are part of the National Heart Foundation’s Pick the Tick programme. They are cholesterol free, nutrient dense, and contain the good fats needed to help maintain a healthy heart. It’s little wonder these ‘super-fruits’ have been tagged the world’s most nutritionally complete fruit by Guinness World Records. Click here for recipe 

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