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Articles found: 33Avocado News

New Zealand Avocado Launches New Campaign at Largest Fresh Produce Trade Show in Asia

TAURANGA, Thursday 4th September 2014 : New Zealand’s avocado industry will launch its new export market promotional material at Asia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable trade show Asia Fruit Logistica (AFL) this week in Hong Kong. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of New Zealand Avocado, says the new marketing collateral positions New Zealand avocado as a premium product promoting quality, safety and health. "The unique property of New Zealand grown avocados that we will promote in Asia is time. New Zealand grown avocados hang on the tree for much longer than in other producing countries - at least a year, during this time they are fed by the generous rainfall and sunshine all the while being nurtured by our dedicated growers,” says Scoular.  This is the first time New Zealand Avocado has represented the industry at AFL and is one of 460 exhibitors. Exhibitors from 38 countries will be showcasing their produce. New Zealand Avocado will exhibit within the New Zealand Pavilion along with 12 other companies including Zespri, Plant & Food Research and avocado exporters JP Exports and Te Mata exports. Scoular says New Zealand aims to become the avocado supplier of choice in Asian markets and a successful showcase at Asia Fruit Logistica will help raise awareness among buyers, suppliers and service providers across the fast-growing region. Another New Zealand avocado exporter AVANZA will also be at the show with their commercial partner Mission Produce USA. New Zealand’s avocado industry more than doubled its sales to $136m, setting new records in both export and the New Zealand market. 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. Scoular has also been invited to deliver a speech at the Asiafruit Business Forum, a set of seminars/discussions held as part of Logistica event. Scoular will speak about how culinary inspiration is driving NZ Avocado’s marketing efforts. "We’ve considerably raised visibility of avocados by using avocado ambassador Nadia Lim to promote the delicious taste and amazing health attributes of New Zealand avocados. Nadia is a nutritionist and Masterchef winner and enjoys showing people how to create delicious, nutritious meals using avocado as a key ingredient,” Scoular explains. New Zealand avocados are currently exported to Australia, USA, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and some activity has begun with India, but there is a lot of potential to increase sales further, particularly in Asia. "There’s growing demand for premium, safe, and healthy produce. We are positioning our industry to take advantage of that by emphasising how New Zealand avocados are grown in a pristine environment. We’re also collaborating with packers and exporters to improve our supply chain to ensure our avocados are delivered to Asian consumers in top condition.” Earlier this year New Zealand Avocado announced a new five year partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries under its Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) to increase productivity and industry capability. The new PGP programme called ‘New Zealand Avocados Go Global’ aims to equip the industry with the tools to triple productivity to 12 tonnes per hectare and quadruple industry returns to $280 million by 2023. "Increasing our exports to Asia is a big part of that, and that’s why our new campaign launch at the Asia Fruit Logistica trade fair is so important,” Scoular says. "Our PGP programme is designed to help us deliver a consistent supply of premium avocados from one year to the next. We now have to connect with trade and consumers in Asia and show them why our fruit is worth buying.” Scoular says avocados are a unique and delicious fruit – they’re nutrient dense and contain the good fats needed to help maintain a healthy heart. Avocados are also great for healthy skin, promoting beauty from the inside out.  Record visitor numbers are expected at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica event, with organisers expecting some 7000 trade buyers and visitors from more than 60 different countries to attend. About New Zealand Avocado Avocados are the third-largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. New Zealand Avocado works with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote avocados from New Zealand and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers, of which there are more than 1600, based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. www.nzavocado.co.nz/industry/ About the 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. 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. There are 18 announced programmes covering the breadth of the primary industry sectors: wool, dairy, fishing and aquaculture, meat, pastoral, bee keeping, forestry, viticulture and horticulture. Monitoring requirements for PGP programmes 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. -ENDS- For media assistance, please contact: Midge Munro Communications Manager, Avocado Industry Council 027 306 7089 midge.munro@nzavocado.co.nz                                                              Bridgette Paton-Tapsell  Village Public Relations | Marketing          64 7 572 1608                                                 b@villagenz.com

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 

New Research Shows You Can Enhance Your Life By Eating Avocado Every Day

Health conscious Kiwis and foodies alike now have even more reason to celebrate the arrival of the New Zealand avocado season - latest research proves they can make a vast improvement to overall health and wellbeing. As well as being a delicious addition to many meals, avocados are one of the most nutritionally complete foods in the world and new international research published in the Nutrition Journal* shows that people who regularly eat them weigh 3.4 kilograms less on average and have waistlines around four centimetres smaller, than those who don’t. Avocado consumers also have significantly lower BMIs than non-consumers; significantly higher intakes of important nutrients (such as fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K), plus more good fats and a lower intake of added sugars. The findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States, published in the Nutrition Journal, proved eating avocado every day boosted people’s HDL ("good”) cholesterol levels and resulted in a 50 per cent less chance of metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes). Qualified dietician and nutritionist Nadia Lim is the official New Zealand Avocado ambassador and was a guest presenter at the recent New Zealand and Australian Avocado Growers’ Conference, held in Tauranga. Nadia says avocados are a perfect health conscious option for healthy, vibrant people who desire nutritious food that contributes positively to their overall health. "Avocados are a perfect food – they’re abundant in valuable vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. Nutritionists have long recommended consuming the healthy fats from avocados which are known to support improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake and heart health,” she says. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says "Avocados are incredibly nutritious and nourishing for the body and soul. If you like to get the most out of life then you should definitely include an avocado in your diet every day. "As part of a healthy, balanced diet, avocados are proving themselves time and again as a food that can help us all live healthier lives. This new research reinforces the importance of the food’s role in our everyday diet,” says Scoular. The American-based Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is continuing to invest millions of dollars in nutrition research on Hass Avocado – a fund which the New Zealand avocado industry has long contributed to – and has engaged top researchers and institutions to further investigate the fruit’s health potential. HAB established a nutrition research programme in 2010 to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The four research pillars are heart health, weight management, diabetes and healthy living. *To read the overview from Nutrition Journal: http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-nutrition-center/nhanes-study For more information or images please contact: Midge Munro Communications Manager, New Zealand Avocado mmunro@nzavocado.co.nz 

Global Heavyweight to Share Latest Nutrition Research at Avocado Industry Conference

New international research regarding the health benefits of avocados will be a hot topic in Tauranga next week, as 50 world experts speak at an industry conference which is only held in New Zealand once every eight years. The American-based Hass Avocado Board (HAB) will share new research in a keynote presentation at ‘Nutritional Values’ - the fifth Quadrennial New Zealand and Australian Avocado Growers’ Conference, to be held at the ASB Arena Baypark from 9-12 September. The research indicates that consuming avocados may be associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher "good cholesterol” levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk. In addition to sharing information on the growing body of Hass avocado research, HAB will share new analysis of data, published this year in Nutrition Journal, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the US , a programme of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).* Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of HAB, says the organisation is investing millions of dollars in nutrition research, which the New Zealand avocado industry has long contributed to, with top researchers and institutions. "The Hass Avocado Board is funding additional clinical studies to investigate the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption,” says Escobedo. J ust last week New Zealand Avocado announced that the industry would receive a $4 million boost in research funding from a successful bid made to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2013 Science Investment Round. The investment over the next five years into the Plant & Food Research project ‘Avocados for Export’ aims to contribute to doubling New Zealand’s average avocado yield through identifying causes of irregular fruit bearing and will also introduce new storage and shipping systems to export increased volumes of fruit.  Avocados are New Zealand’s third largest fresh fruit export, and had an industry value of $60 million in 2012-2013 for both domestic and export volumes. Over 400 delegates are due to attend the conference and Ashby Whitehead, chair of the New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association Inc. (NZAGA) and New Zealand Avocado Industry Council Ltd, says there is a fantastic line up of speakers who will inform, inspire and challenge growers.  "Those involved in our industry are passionate about growing our markets and that means keeping on top of global research, innovation and trends,” Whitehead says. "Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the health benefits of the food they are eating. People now place a high value on "functional” and "super” foods such as avocado. We need to explore opportunities to leverage the nutritional benefits of this fruit, especially as we seek to further develop markets in Asia,” he says. Fifty renowned experts from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States will discuss the nutritional findings, as well as talk about the latest pruning techniques, irregular bearing, disease management, new cultivars, nutrient management, pollination, quality improvement, market development, promotions, economics, biosecurity, and supply chain improvement. The upcoming conference is hosted in New Zealand only once every eight years. It is held as part of the memorandum of understanding between NZAGA and their Australian counterparts, Avocados Australia, to foster a stronger working relationship between the two peak industry bodies. Speaker highlights·  Dr Russell Ballard, Independent Chair of the Plant Market Access Council, will share insights on the New Zealand avocado industry’s potential – sponsored by Port of Tauranga.  Nadia Lim, New Zealand Avocado ambassador, will present on culinary and nutritional aspects of avocados.· Stephen Toplis, BNZ’s head of research, will share the economic outlook for the Asian region – an important growth region for the avocado industry.  Lisa Cork, recent winner of the PMA-A marketer of the year award, will share her insights on innovative marketing and messaging – sponsored by Jenkins Freshpac Systems.  Dr Mark Dreher, a nutrition research advisor to the Hass Avocado Board in the USA, will share information on the latest clinical trials to test effects of avocado on various aspects of health.  Dr Andrew Geering, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland who works to improve food security through providing control options for diseases that affect sub-tropical and tropical horticultural crops such as banana, pineapple, avocado, tomato and other vegetables.·  Dr Zelda Van Rooyen will share the South African experience of growing avocados and the evaluation and commercialisation of new cultivar and rootstock material.·  Peter Thomson, Ministry for Primary Industries and Simon Hegarty, Horticultural Export Authority will each speak on market access for New Zealand avocados into overseas markets.  Ian Proudfoot, Global Sector Leader for Agribusiness, KPMG, will talk about New Zealand’s place in the global agri-food system and ask – what could the future look like? HAB’s attendance at the conference is being supported by the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), who invests around $2.7 million per year aimed at exploring market opportunities, encouraging innovative ideas, and developing future leaders within the agribusiness sectors. AGMARDT is also supporting Dr Andrew Geering to attend and present. New exporter collaboration AVOCO™ is the Nutritional Values principal conference partner. AVOCO™ was created by New Zealand’s two largest avocado exporters – Auckland-based Primor Produce Ltd and Te Puna’s Southern Produce Ltd. *To read the overview from Nutrition Journal: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-02/c-nsi022013.php

BOP Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2013

Wednesday 26 June 2013, Mount Maunganui BayPark Function Centre  This year the competition will be held at BayPark Function Centre on Wednesday, 26 June 2013.  This exciting competition event, followed by a gala dinner in the evening, attracts hundreds of local Bay of Plenty people from within the horticulture industry.  This event celebrates and showcases the importance of continually recognising and encouraging our industries up-and-coming young leaders, and this event is the perfect platform for this.  For more information about the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year competition, including entry forms and opportunities to sponsor this prestigious BOP event click on the documents below.   BOP Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2013 - Flyer  BOP Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2013 - Application Form  BOP Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2013 - Sponsorship Form 

Register now for Nutritional Values 2013

We invite you to join fellow growers and international experts for this not to be missed avocado industry event.  This is your opportunity to increase your awareness of the amazing nutritional properties of the avocado, gain knowledge about increasing the health of your orchard and learn about how we can ensure we maintain a strong and sustainable industry. Register for NUTRITIONAL VALUES now to take advantage of the early bird rates. What are the specific health properties of avocado? How do we increase the visibility of these attributes? And how does what we do in our orchards and throughout the value chain impact on the final product we deliver to consumers? The Nutritional Values conference will explore these questions and more, while providing you with an opportunity to reconnect, make new connections and discuss your ideas with peers and experts. The programme features international speakers and experts from Australasia who will present the latest knowledge on issues important to maximising value for the New Zealand and Australian avocado industries. Attendees will also spend time visiting successful orchards and postharvest facilities in the Bay of Plenty. Exciting programme, fabulous location, and memorable social events. Register for Nutritional Values at avocadoconference.co.nz         Conference organising committee:         Ashby Whitehead Chairman NZAGA     Jim Kochi Chairman, AAL         Jen Scoular CEO, NZ Avocado     John Tyas CEO, AAL    

New Chairman Announced for NZ Avocado Growers Association Inc and Avocado Industry Council Ltd

  Te Puke orchardist and NZAGA Grower Rep of seven years, Ashby Whitehead, is the new chairman-elect of NZAGA and AIC. "I am excited about the excellent opportunities available for avocados from New Zealand but also very aware of the challenges we face as an industry. I look forward to leading the industry through this phase of change and improvement, with the development of new markets in Asia, building the nutritional platform for avocados and strengthening the avocado category in the New Zealand market,” Mr Whitehead said.  Mr Whitehead will replace current chairman John Schnackenberg when he steps down from the position in May as part of a planned succession. Mr Schnackenberg has served as chairman since 2007 and will continue as a Grower Representative on the NZAGA Executive and AIC Ltd Board.  Mr Whitehead has been one of the eight grower-elected directors on AIC's ten-member board since 2006.  Mr Whitehead has been a successful avocado grower since 1996. He and wife Linda purchased a run-down apple orchard in Te Puke in 1991, converting to avocados after much tidying up and rehabilitation of the land. In 2000 they acquired the neighbouring orchard and planted a further 0.75ha of avocados and 3.5ha of kiwifruit.  Ashby has had a long career in engineering, something which he has recently come back to following the effects of Psa-V. He is very active in the Te Puke avocado and kiwifruit communities and also sits on the AIC Finance committee, the Recognised Product Group, Quality Standards Committee and Local Market Committee. "I look forward to addressing the joint New Zealand and Australian avocado growers' conference in September in Tauranga in my new role as Chairman. It will be an excellent opportunity to connect with New Zealand and international avocado growers.” Says Mr Whitehead. Mr Whitehead takes the Chairmanship at a time when there is major activity on the horizon for NZ Avocado. "We are currently working on a business case for a Primary Growth Partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and also worked closely with Plant & Food Research to submit a bid for avocado research funding from the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment,” says Mr Whitehead. "The crown investment will allow us to significantly accelerate our projects and implement solutions to create a far more profitable industry going forward.”  Outgoing chairman John Schnackenberg said "Ashby brings a strong grower focus to the chairmanship.” NZAGA Grower Representative Tony Ponder has been elected as the new Vice Chair of NZAGA. Tony has served on the Board since 2005.

New study indicates avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality

Positive health indicators also associated with avocado consumption  IRVINE, Calif. (February 20, 2013) – New analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) , a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consuming avocados may be associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher "good cholesterol" levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk. These results were published in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal. Specifically, the survey data (NHANES 2001-2008, 17,567 U.S. adults ages 19 years and older) revealed that the 347 adults (50% female) who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient intake levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados. Among the avocado consumers, average daily consumption was about one half (70.1 /- 5.4 g/day) of a medium sized avocado, somewhat higher in male avocado consumers (75.3 /-6.3 g/day) than females (66.7 /- 7.3 g/day).   Overall Diet Quality, Energy and Nutrient Intakes   According to the study, Avocado consumers more closely adhered to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who did not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).   Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of certain important nutrients including 36% more dietary fiber, 23% more vitamin E, 13% more magnesium, 16% more potassium and 48% more vitamin K than non-consumers.   Avocado consumers also had significantly higher intakes of "good" fats (18% more monounsaturated and 12% more polyunsaturated) and total fats (11% more) than non-consumers, although average caloric intake of both groups was the same.   Avocado consumers and non-consumers had similar intakes of sodium.   Physiological Health Measures   Avocado consumers had significantly lower BMI values than non-consumers.   Avocado consumers had significantly smaller waist circumference measures than non-consumers (an average of 4 cm smaller).   Avocado consumers weighed significantly less than non-consumers (an average of 7.5 pounds less).   Avocado consumers had significantly higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.   Metabolic Syndrome Risk The study found that Avocado consumers had a 50% lower odds ratio for metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to a group of risk factors which, when they occur together, increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. As with most analyses of NHANES data, research findings were based on cross-sectional data from a single 24-hour dietary recall (which may be inaccurate and biased due to misreporting and memory lapses) and cannot provide cause and effect evidence between avocado consumption and improvements in diet quality. "These findings suggest an interesting association between the consumption of avocados and better nutrient intakes and other positive outcomes," said study primary investigator Victor Fulgoni, PhD. "These observations were derived from population survey data, they provide important clues to better understanding the relationships between diet and health, and give direction to future research endeavors." "To this end, the Hass Avocado Board is funding additional clinical studies to investigate the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption," said Hass Avocado Board Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo. ### For a free copy of the abstract or the full study visit: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/1 For additional information or free resources on avocado research, recipes, tips and photos visit the Hass Avocado Board web site at AvocadoCentral.com. About the Hass Avocado Board The Hass Avocado Board was 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. Hass avocados are grown in California and imported into the US from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm. Accessed on January 31, 2013. Fulgoni VL, Dreher M and Davenport A. Avocado Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutrition Journal. 2013; 12:1 (2 January 2013) United States Department of Agriculture. Healthy Eating Index. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/healthyeatingindex.htm. Accessed on January 30, 2013. National Heart Blood and Lung Institute. What is Metabolic Syndrome? Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/. Accessed on January 30, 2013.

Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk

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.

Avocado Versatility Inspires Crowds At Annual Festival

TAURANGA, Monday 21st January 2013: Over 1500 avocados were devoured in Katikati this weekend as New Zealand's avocado capital celebrated the superfruit's health and versatility in style, breaking the record of avocados consumed at last year's festival. Celebrity Masterchef Nadia Lim headlined the 10th annual Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival at Uretara Domain on Saturday, and a huge crowd enjoyed avocado inspired mousse, ice cream and pizzas as well as cooking demonstrations and culinary competitions. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says a staggering number of avocados were peeled, sliced, diced and mashed on the day, and it was great to see so many people celebrating one of nature's most nutritious and delicious ingredients. NZ Avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, and local celebrity chef, Peter Blakeway, both drew big crowds and taught people some exciting new ways to add ‘good' fats to your diet and increase your heart health. "Nadia and Peter created a range of amazing avocado dishes and really opened people's eyes to the endless ways to enjoy avocados. Nadia created an Asian avocado and prawn salad while Peter wowed the crowd with a delicious roast chicken with avocado and mini chicken avocado pizzas,” Scoular says. "Avocado lovers certainly picked up lots of new ideas and got to sample some delicious dishes,” Scoular says. Free samples of avocado chocolate mousse proved extremely popular, and showed just how perfect this summer ingredient can be for desserts. An estimated 2000 people had the opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with bands performing throughout the day and six top wineries providing wine tastings, while guacamole lovers went head to head in a bid to create the best guacamole in Katikati. "Nadia and Peter had a hard time judging the winners,” Scoular says. "It was great to see people creating the famous dip and infusing their own ideas.” Children also competed for their share of the limelight, with avocado and spoon races and avocado art proving to be a big hit alongside more traditional fairground entertainment. Festival organiser David Crispin says this year's event, which was jointly run by the Pakeke and Katikati Lions clubs, will donate proceeds from the festival to the Cancer Society Lodge in Hamilton. For all of the delicious recipes created during the festival, including the guacamole competition winning recipe, visit http://www.nzavocado.co.nz/

Top Chefs Set To Serve Up Inspirational Treats At Avocado Festival

Thousands of foodies are expected to descend on the small Bay of Plenty town next month for the Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival, featuring celebrity Masterchef, Nadia Lim. Over 1000 avocados were consumed by avocado aficionados during the 2012 festival and the involvement of both avocado ambassador Nadia Lim and local chef Peter Blakeway is expected to send consumption at the 10th annual event through the roof. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says this dedicated festival is growing in popularity every year and is all about celebrating one of our most diverse ingredients as well as educating and inspiring avocado lovers to try new recipes at home. "Last year the industry produced a record avocado crop and New Zealanders had lots of opportunities to enjoy their extensive nutritional benefits. Nadia's cooking demonstrations will be one of the festival's highlights and will be a great opportunity for avocado lovers to pick up new ideas and sample some innovative dishes.” Since the festival began in 2003, over $80,000 has been raised and donated to local charities. All proceeds from the 10th annual festival, run by the Pakeke and Katikati Lions clubs, will be donated to the Cancer Society Lodge in Hamilton. Festival organiser David Crispin says the festival is a wonderful summer's day out and is a real treat for foodies, with thousands of people expected to enjoy tasty avocado treats and entertainment with a glass of wine in hand. "This festival is a great family opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with bands performing throughout the day and six top wineries providing wine tastings. There is a wide variety of food available to purchase, plus the public can try their hand at making guacamole which will be judged by Nadia and Peter,” says Crispin. Children will also be well catered for with plenty of entertainment and rides. Prizes are up for grabs in the avocado spoon races and avocado art will allow youngsters to create their own masterpieces by stamping painted avocado pieces onto paper. Nadia Lim is a qualified dietician and winner of Masterchef 2011 is the ambassador for New Zealand Avocado and will share her passion for the superfruit by educating Kiwis how they can use avocados in unique ways. The Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival will be held on Saturday 19th January 2013 at the Uretara Domain in Katikati from 12pm-6pm. Early bird tickets are $16 (plus booking fee) from http://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2013/jan/avocado-food-and-wine-festival-2013 Those under 18 years accompanied by a parent are free. For more information visit http://www.avofest.co.nz/.

Treat Your Tastebuds and Waistline With Avocados This Christmas

Many of us overeat during the holiday season but nutritionist, Angela Berrill, has some expert advice on how to treat your taste buds and look after your waistline this Christmas. Berrill has spent her career teaching people how to enjoy food while also nurturing their bodies and has recently been engaged by New Zealand Avocado this season to comment on the fruit's nutritional benefits. "Avocados are synonymous with summer and this Christmas you can enjoy a wide range of delicious dishes such as Nadia Lim's avocado, watermelon, pomegranate and feta salad. This extra special side salad is a fantastic addition to any festive feast, but will not leave you feeling guilty about having eaten the wrong sort of food,” says Berrill. Berrill describes avocados as ‘tummy-friendly' because they contain one of the highest fibre contents of any fruit in terms of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre helps to aid digestion and keeps you regular while soluble fibre helps to lower cholesterol. "Avocados are also a ‘weight-friendly' food which is something many of us are thinking about at this time of year. As a lower fat alternative to traditional fat-based spreads such as butter or margarine, avocados are a great substitute for mayonnaise when you're putting together a tasty sandwich or summer salad. "Another important consideration for many New Zealanders is that because avocados contain ‘good' monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid, they can help lower levels of ‘bad' LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, making them great for heart health. The fats in avocado also help the body's absorption of fat-soluble nutrients,” she says. Expectant mums can also benefit from the iron and fibre contained in avocados, while the fruit's high folate content will support the formation of a baby's neural tube. "Avocados are an ideal first food for young babies too. Being smooth and creamy in texture, they are easily tolerated and provide babies with a range of important nutrients for their development,” adds Berrill. Berrill has previously acted as the nutrition adviser and expert for TV3's Target and regularly contributes to well-known publications such as Good Health magazine. "I'm passionate about educating people on the importance of diet. Avocados taste delicious but they're also a nutritionally dense food, containing many health-promoting nutrients and compounds for people of all ages,” she explains. When planning a celebratory summer meal, remember that avocados do not need to be confined to a salad. Berrill says they're a versatile ingredient which can be used in smoothies, on toast, pizzas and omelettes and even in cakes and desserts. "Now is the perfect time of year to enjoy them, so add avocados to your next barbeque, summer lunch, dinner or Christmas meal,” she concludes.  >> Recipe: Avocado, watermelon, pomegranate and feta salad

Supercharge Your 5 Plus A Day Fruit And Vegetable Intake With Avocado

Kiwis are being urged to eat more avocados during November's 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month because they help the body absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from other produce. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says avocado acts as a ‘nutrient booster' and is one of the best choices people can make when increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. "Eating avocados promotes additional absorption of nutrients from those other foods as well. By eating avocado with other fruits and vegetables your body is better able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from your meals,” she explains. 5 A Day spokesperson, Carmel Ireland, says the objective of this year's 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month is to challenge Kiwis to add an extra serving of fruit and vegetables to their daily diets to boost their overall health and shrink their waistlines. "In-season fresh fruit and vegetables, like avocados, are not only delicious and versatile but promote good health, protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and can help with weight management,” says Ireland. New Zealand Avocado is supporting the initiative by providing 5 A Day with free avocados and healthy avocado recipes to distribute during its month-long promotion. "The 5 A Day Charitable Trust does a fantastic job at highlighting how important fruit and vegetables are. The website (www.5aday.co.nz), Facebook page, Twitter and You Tube accounts will also feature fresh ideas about how to use avocados in the kitchen this summer,” explains Scoular. Scoular says avocados are one of the most nutritionally complete foods on earth and there are many reasons why this ‘super fruit' should be regularly eaten by people of all ages – including pregnant mothers, babies and the elderly. "Avocados are naturally cholesterol free, making them a heart-healthy addition to your diet. They can also help with weight management because they supply the body with ‘good' monosaturated fats which contain oleic acid to activate the brain to make you feel full.” Avocados are a versatile ingredient which can be used in all types of cooking – including smoothies, on toast, in salads, pizzas and omelettes and even in cakes and desserts. They are also the perfect substitute for butter, margarine or mayonnaise as they're tasty, salt-free, low in sugar, and full of fibre. "Avocados are a delicious and nutritious addition to every day cooking. They are full of vitamins and beneficial fats that will boost your overall health and well-being. The 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month also coincides with the start of the avocado season so now's the perfect time to incorporate them into your diet,” says Scoular.

Nadia Lim Celebrated As New Zealand Avocado Ambassador

New Zealand Avocado is thrilled to announce that celebrity Masterchef Nadia Lim will become its ambassador for the 2012-13 avocado season which officially begins today. Lim will work alongside New Zealand Avocado to educate Kiwis on the many health benefits of avocados and how they can be used as an everyday ingredient to create nutritious and delicious meals and snacks. Since winning the New Zealand Masterchef title in 2011, the qualified dietician regularly contributes to Bite (NZ Herald), Food Magazine, the Healthy Food Guide, and has established her own popular website (www.nadialim.com). She is also working on a follow up to her acclaimed Nadia's Kitchen cookbook. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says having Lim positively endorse avocados and use them in her own recipes will bring enormous exposure to the avocado industry this summer. "Nadia is extremely talented and is very enthusiastic about being an ambassador for avocados. NZ Avocado is very excited to have someone of her calibre and profile on board.” Scoular says November 1st also marks the start of 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable month, where New Zealanders will be encouraged to increase their daily intake of produce such as avocados to improve their overall health. "By eating an avocado with other fruits and vegetables your body is better able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from your meals,” Scoular says. "Avocados are considered to be nature's ‘super fruit' because they help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, are full of vitamins and contain ‘good' monounsaturated fats. They are extremely beneficial for people of all ages – including babies, pregnant mums and the elderly.” Lim has developed four avocado recipes exclusively for New Zealand Avocado – two of which she will cook at the official avocado season launch held at Main Course in Auckland today, including an Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad. The celebrity Masterchef says avocado is one of the most simple, yet versatile ingredients you can use in the kitchen, and she hopes to encourage people to try new and delicious flavour combinations. "Avocados can be used in all types of cooking – from smoothies, to salads, on toast, pizzas, omelettes and even cakes and desserts. They're also a great substitute for butter, margarine and mayonnaise,” Lim explains. "I personally love avocados and I've just recently returned from France where avocados ‘avocat' are eaten regularly and feature daily on restaurant menus. More and more Kiwis are now discovering how healthy avocados are and my goal is to inspire people to try new recipes and incorporate this wonderful fruit into their everyday diet.” Last season local avocado growers produced the largest crop in the history of avocado production in New Zealand. This season, New Zealand Avocado expects to supply the New Zealand market with 1 million 5.5kg trays. "New Zealand Avocado is a not-for-profit organisation and I'm really looking forward to supporting the work they do. Avocados are so good for you, they should be a staple food item in every Kiwi kitchen this summer,” says Lim.

Nadia Lim Launches First Avocado Recipe as New Ambassador

New Zealand Avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, is a master at serving up delicious, healthy food – and now she has created a sensational summer recipe for you to enjoy at home. The celebrity Masterchef says avocado is one of the most simple, yet versatile ingredients to create stunning, restaurant-quality meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. Lim is creating four special recipes on behalf of New Zealand Avocado to be released throughout the season. The first of which is a fresh Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad, which Nadia will be demonstrating at the official avocado season launch next month. "Avocados are truly one of nature's super heroes. There's a plentiful supply over summer, they're versatile and are packed full of nutrients and anti-oxidants. But most importantly, they taste absolutely delicious and are a great staple ingredient in any kitchen,” says Lim. Since being crowned New Zealand's Masterchef in 2011, the qualified dietitian has worked to improve Kiwi's eating habits by creating healthy recipes. "Avocados are full of the ‘good' monounsaturated fats which are essential for our health, the fact they taste delicious is a bonus,” says Lim.  >> Check out Nadia's recipe for Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad  www.nadia.co.nz Photography by Kieran Scott 

Now in Season - Avocado Reduces Fat Cravings and Inspires Healthy Hearts

TAURANGA, Friday 12th October 2012: As the avocado season's harvest kicks off, the Heart Foundation Tick programme is urging Kiwis to eat more of the world's most nutritionally complete fruits this summer. The Heart Foundation Tick has joined forces with New Zealand Avocado to encourage people to ditch ‘bad' fats and consume more ‘good' fats like those found in avocados. More than half the total fat in avocado is made up of oleic acid, which provides unique health benefits similar to that of olives *. Oleic acid works by increasing the body's absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and antioxidants while activating the part of your brain that makes you feel full, meaning you may be less inclined to crave saturated and trans fats found in other foods **. Avocados contain a unique combination of essential fatty acids, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. This blend of benefits has earned the fruit many accolades including ‘super fruit' status. Avocado has also been awarded the official Heart Foundation ‘Tick', cementing it as an official smart and healthy food choice. Heart Foundation Tick manager Deb Sue says some New Zealanders think avocados are too high in fat so avoid eating them altogether. "In actual fact, monounsaturated fat is great for heart health and helps you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados are naturally cholesterol free, are packed full of nutrients and are an incredibly versatile food. Avocados are an ideal way of increasing your intake of 5 A Day fruit and vegetables and we would love to see New Zealanders eating more of them in place of foods with a lot of saturated fat,” says Sue. "Avocados are really diverse and can be used in smoothies, salads, and by spreading avocado onto sandwiches instead of using butter, you can reduce your intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium.” There are now over 1100 Tick approved products in New Zealand, all of which must go through rigorous independent testing to ensure they comply with strict nutritional criteria. This summer the Heart Foundation will include avocado recipes in its Tick Recipe Guide booklet and on-line at www.heartfoundation.org.nz. Avocados will also be promoted via the ‘Tick Club' which has over 30,000 members nationwide. When choosing avocados, be mindful that green ones will be ready to eat in 7-10 days and can be kept in your fruit bowl to ripen naturally. Avocados with olive green skin will be ready in 2-3 days, while purple/brown ones are ripe and ready to eat. Ripe avocados can be refrigerated to extend their life a few more days but black avocados should be avoided as they're past their best. Meanwhile, New Zealand Avocado will support the Heart Foundation Tick programme this summer by supplying avocados at events and initiatives throughout the 2012-13 season. The New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular says up to 2.9 million trays of Hass avocados are expected to be harvested between now and March for export and the domestic market. "Last season was a record crop and the favourable prices meant many people tried – and loved – avocados. There will be plenty of beautiful fruit in supermarkets this season for people to enjoy throughout the summer months,” says Scoular. Avocados provide a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating them can help lower your cholesterol absorption, protect your liver, improve your skin and maintain a healthy weight and digestive system. "Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients. They taste absolutely delicious and are extremely versatile – you can use them in hot, cold, sweet or savoury dishes. We would definitely encourage people to be adventurous with avocados this summer and try something new. And there will be lots of fantastic new recipes around for inspiration,” says Scoular. ENDS   * - http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/healthy-eating/5-reasons-to-eat-more-avocados   ** - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5  

United Front Key to Asia

Media clipping from Bay of Plenty Times

Kaino Joins Miss Japan to Push Avocados

Media Clipping from NZ Herald Business Section

Avocados Under The Spotlight In Latest Medical Study

TAURANGA, March 2012: A new pilot study which aims to investigate if the dietary habits of New Zealanders can be changed, will encourage participants to eat avocados and other specific foods every day to help reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. Nutrigenomics New Zealand (a collaboration between AgResearch, Plant and Food Research and The University of Auckland) is asking a group of people aged 20 to 60 to change their diet for six weeks to incorporate foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado, along with fish and seafood, lean meat, fresh vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and whole grains. It is thought a ‘anti-inflammatory' diet such as this, could assist in reducing the chances people have of developing cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's as well cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and autoimmune diseases. The study is being led by Auckland University's head of nutrition, Professor Lynnette Ferguson. It draws inspiration from the Mediterranean diet which relies heavily on the above foods and avoids processed food or items high in sugar, fat or white flour. "This sort of eating pattern is based on the traditional foods and lifestyle of individuals that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Spain, Italy and Turkey. Although the specific dietary guidelines that we are asking people to follow are not identical to this, they have a number of things in common,” Professor Ferguson says. "In particular, we request that people eat at least seven servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, two or more servings of fish per week, and that their sources of fat are mainly from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.” This pilot study is nearing completion. Nutrigenomics New Zealand will use the information gathered to gauge how feasible it is to get Kiwis to change their diet long enough to see changes in inflammation. Different levels of support, education, recipes and food was given to participants to establish how much intervention is needed to successfully get people to modify their diets. Blood and urine samples will also be taken before and afterwards to see if there is a change in people's inflammation profiles. . "We would like to use the outcomes of this study to then design a large scale study for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients who could benefit greatly from a diet like this. We ultimately wish to be able to provide dietary guidelines that will aid individuals suffering from the disease,” Professor Ferguson explains. The Avocado Industry Council (AIC) supported Nutrigenomics New Zealand with avocados and recipes throughout the pilot study. AIC chief executive Jen Scoular says the industry is excited to see the results of the study as avocados have long been renowned for their health benefits. "The fats in avocados are classed as ‘good fats' because they lower your cholesterol and are good for your heart. Eating at least some avocado every day will definitely make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing so hopefully the information and insights gained from this study will benefit all New Zealanders,” Scoular says.

Governor General visits Bay avocado orchards

Avocado orchardists Andrew and Maria Watchorn were tickled when the Governor General visited their Omokoroa orchard to get a first-hand look at the Bay of Plenty’s avocado growing industry. The Watchorn’s hosted Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae on Thursday, where Maria says they were amused by the fact the Governor had never seen an avocado tree before. Governor General Sir Jerry Mataparae gets his first look at an avocado tree. "He came to visit our orchard, and it was the first avocado tree – he had never seen an avocado tree until he came onto our property. "I think he was quite shocked, I don’t think he thought they were going to be such lovely, lush trees. We worked hard to get the orchard looking pristine. "He really thought avocado trees were beautiful trees.” As part of the tour, Sir Jerry visited the Zespri headquarters in Mount Maunganui before going to the Apata packhouse and Watchorn’s orchard on Prole Road, Omokoroa. Maria says the Governor General is a "lovely, warm, approachable” person who really loves avocados. "He got a tray of avocados to take back to Wellington with him.” This season’s avocado crop is looking good for the Watchorns. "I cannot say that about the whole industry, because of the on-off season’s for people. "Because of bi-annual bearing, some people are not able to produce a crop every year. There are some growers out there that have a very, very light crop, if any at all. "We are fortunate enough to get another really good crop, good fruit, good sizes. The season for us has been very good.” On the orchard, Maria says they use a range of innovative techniques to improve fruit production. "We have fully automated frost protection systems in place and the water comes from a bore that is slightly warmed, that is fully automated computerised system.” Apata coolstore manager Ian Tangney speaks with the Governor General. Last season, the avocado industry recorded one of its biggest crops yet, although returns are not as good as anticipated after the record volumes swamped the Australian market. "As a grower, the impact is the price. Our normal tray payout has been reduced.” Maria says although they have not received the final payout, it is estimated returns will be down by $5-$7 per tray, compared to last year. "With the Australian market swamped by both New Zealand and more Australian fruit than anticipated, it has brought the price down.” Source: http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/23084-bay-avocado-industry-on-show.html

Avocado industry sets export sights on Europe and beyond

The avocado industry is testing technology to prevent fruit ripening in transit that it hopes will open up markets in Europe.  Two thousand trays of fruit were exported to France in December packed in shipping containers fitted with dynamic controlled atmosphere equipment - technology which creates a low-oxygen atmosphere.  A shipment is on its way to Honolulu, and two more containers will be sent to France to help determine the ideal conditions for transporting avocados for more than 20 days.  New Zealand Avocado Growers' Association chief executive Jen Scoular said the European market could be hugely important. "It's not just Europe, it's also Russia ... We are forecasting reasonably significant increases in volume, so the more markets we have available, the better." The technology is being used to set the oxygen level in the container at the outset, but could be adjustable in transit if it proves worth the additional expense.  'We can't ever undervalue the amount of effort that we have to put into retaining our markets.  Building new markets is certainly a high priority, but retaining value in our current markets must also be a big part in our strategy." The trial is being monitored by Plant and Food Research in association with the Avocado Industry Council.  Scoular said the association was keen to see greater exporter collaboration to achieve more sustainable returns for growers.  "If an exporter has not provided up-to-date forecasts on returns or is unable to talk about their longer-term market strategy, growers should question whether that exporter is their best business partner."  The Avocado Industry Council is engaged in a project with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to promote agreement on chemical-residue levels in six Asian countries and is working with government and industry to assess the potential for exports to China and India.  The export-season harvest runs from September to February and Scoular said it was expected to be about 3.7 million trays, with Australia accounting for about 75-80 per cent. Exports in the 2010/11 year were worth $67 million.  "Early in the season Australia forecast their crop would be light because of adverse weather," Scoular said. "But the actual crop out of Australia was significantly higher, so when New Zealand avocados arrived across the Tasman their market was swamped and prices fell." Cold weather before Christmas had also resulted in less demand.  "I think there will be people who are losing money ... There are others who will do reasonably well. I think it's a bad year for growers because the expectation was high."  AVOCADOS AHOY * Atmosphere controls are being tested to ship fruit to more distant markets. * Computer systems monitor and control the atmosphere or levels of gases present in a container. * Sensors measure the stress level of the avocado or the level of oxygen deprivation it can handle before being damaged. * A control unit then sets that level of oxygen in the container so the fruit can hibernate.  Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10784036

The green jewel in the Katikati crown

Every year, a small town in the Bay of Plenty pays tribute to the humble avocado. Vicki Ravlich-Horan was there. Every January Katikati transforms from New Zealand's mural town to our avocado capital. Perfectly positioned in the Bay of Plenty, Katikati is a town bursting with gourmet delights. A quick look at their website, will show you that this town has it all, from salami to cheese makers, European bakers, wineries, seafood and orchards full of the everyday and the exotic. But in January the avocado is king.  Organised by the local Pakeke Lions, the festival is in its ninth year. The mid-January festival is a great opportunity for holidaymakers to spend a day enjoying some local food and wine and perhaps learning a bit more about avocados. So this summer we put it on our must-do list.  I've heard a lot about the local Plant and Produce Market, held every Friday from 4pm-6pm, so we decided to go a day early and stay the night.  Half an hour before reaching Katikati, we stopped at Waitete Cafe and Restaurant in Waihi, for a late lunch. Chef and owner Roland Straessle is the perfect host. Classically trained and with over 40 years of cooking under his belt, Roland's passion for great food still shines through.  As usual we have taken too much time over lunch and I am afraid we will be late for the market. I have been told there is a young chap who makes the best chocolate brownies but you need to get in quick, because he sells out fast.  We arrive just before 4pm and already a crowd is forming waiting to get in. That's right, no queue-jumping here, the market starts at 4pm on the dot.  With a glass of homemade lemonade in hand we wonder around the stalls admiring the beautiful selection of fresh produce. Unfortunately there are no chocolate brownies today. There is, however, a big line forming in front of the Breadnz stand, where Megan and Henri are selling their beautiful range of sourdough and wood-fired pizzas.  We decide to grab a loaf, along with some Mt Eliza cheese, local homemade pickles from Kaimai Country and some salad goodies. After a quick stop at Finer Wines on the main street, where the owner Jim recommends a great drop, we have accumulated the perfect summer dinner.  We wake on Saturday to a mixed bag weather-wise but optimistically pack the sunblock, hats and umbrellas and head to the avocado festival.  The majority of New Zealand's avocados are grown in the Bay of Plenty and this season has seen New Zealand's biggest ever crop, so I'm keen to get some great ideas on what to do with this healthy and plentiful fruit.  We watch kids make avocado faces, guacamole-making competitions and an avocado cooking demonstration by local chef Peter Blakeway. We learn how to tell if an avocado is ripe without squeezing it (a big no-no). We try avocado icecream, oil, smoothies and guacamole. There are plenty of other things to see and try with local wineries and producers all here, but we came for the avocados. And when I am all avocado-ed out, it's time to relax on a blanket with a glass of wine in hand and Rhythm Express playing in the background.  Essential info * avofest.co.nz * katikaticuisine.com * Waitete Cafe and Restaurant: Open seven days, 31 Orchard Rd, Waihi * Katikati Plant and Produce Market: Friday 4pm-6pm at the A&P Showgrounds, Main Rd, Katikati * Finer Wines: 8 Main Rd, Katikati  Source: NZ Herald

Avocado - the new star of the kitchen

It wasn't so long ago that avocado was typically hidden beneath seafood and lettuce in a mayonnaise-drenched prawn cocktail. Today, this oval fruit that means "ahuacatl" or testicle in the Aztec language can be served in so many ways that it's tipped to become a culinary star.  Originating from South America, the avocado wasn't truly discovered in the Western world until 50 years ago, but it's now dubbed one of our superfruits and the only fresh fruit wearing the Heart Foundation tick. Packed with fibre, iron, Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin B6 and potassium, the avocado also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels as it is rich in monosaturated fat.  At the recent Katikati Food and Wine Festival, avocado promoters were handing out avocado smoothies and chef Peter Blakeway was serving avocado turkey stuffing and avocado icecream. Blakeway lives in Bay of Plenty, where three-quarters of our 1500 avocado growers reside, and he has whipped up unique ways of using avocados, everything from avocado and chocolate truffles to curried tomatoes and avocado. Avocado Growers Association communications manager Midge Munro says that while we have had a healthy avocado industry for the past three decades, "I think we're still discovering the avocado. People still don't know what to do with it and that you can use it in a variety of ways. People are shocked that you can drink it. It has one of the highest concentrations of folate so it's brilliant for pregnant women, and also really helpful for men with fertility issues."  Those who claim it has medicinal benefits also state "the avocado contains amino acids, especially one called glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Increasing the body's production of glutathione inhibits the progression of the ageing process" - but there's no mention of how many avocados must be devoured before glutathione production stops any wrinkles and sag.  In New Zealand, two types of avocado are grown here but only the Hass variety is commercially available. The Hass avocado - the nubbly skinned variety where the skin blackens as the fruit ripens - grows well in our climate. Boasting dense fruit with a nutty taste and smooth texture, it is most plentiful from October through to March, when it is cheaper too. The reed avocado is round and stays green throughout its February to June growing season, and is less plentiful here. Food writer Julie Biuso has created twists on old favourites in her book Never-Ending Summer.  Coconut-Avocado Ice Cream by Peter Blakeway A soft blender icecream made without eggs.  500ml milk 300ml coconut cream 150g white sugar 3 avocados, peeled and pitted 1 tsp lemon juice  Blitz all of the above in a blender until very smooth, cover and refrigerate until cold. Freeze in an ice- cream machine according to manufacturer's directions, then decant to a covered container and place in the freezer.  When ready to serve place in a refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the mixture to soften to "spoonable".  Avocados and Prawns with Lime and Tomato Salsa by Julie Biuso 2 medium-sized vine tomatoes 3 Tbsp extra virgin avocado olive oil 1 Tbsp lime juice 4 kaffir lime leaves, centre ribs removed, finely shredded 1 spring onion (white and pale green part only), trimmed and finely chopped 1 fresh hot red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 1/2 tsp salt 12 medium-sized green (raw) prawns, fresh or frozen 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/4 tsp ground cumin 2 ripe but firm avocados Olive oil for hot plate  To make the salsa plunge tomatoes into a saucepan of gently boiling water and count to 10, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of cold water and slip off the skins. Cut into quarters, remove cores and flick out seeds. Dice flesh finely but don't add to salsa until just before serving.  Whisk together avocado or olive oil, lime juice, lime leaves, spring onion, chilli and salt.  Prawns: If prawns are frozen, thaw them quickly in a sealed plastic bag immersed in a sink of warm water. Twist off their heads, then peel off shells, leaving the small piece of shell on the tail intact.  Using a small sharp knife, slice down the back of each prawn and gently extract the red or black vein. Rinse prawns and pat dry with paper towels.  Put turmeric and cumin on a plate and rub the spices over prawns.  Halve avocados, remove the stones and place halves on serving plates.  Cook prawns on a preheated oiled barbecue hot plate over medium heat for a few minutes each side until they change colour. Alternatively, cook prawns indoors in a hot ridged grill pan in 1 tablespoon of hot avocado or olive oil.  To serve, add tomatoes to salsa ingredients and spoon into the cavities of the avocados. Arrange prawns on top and serve immediately. Also delicious on toasted ciabatta.  Avocado Smoothie by the NZ Avocado Growers' Association Half a ripe avocado One banana One cup of trim milk One tablespoon of honey Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves two.  Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/in-the-kitchen/6306547/Avocado-the-new-star-of-the-kitchen

Nutritious lunches with fruit, veg

School lunches provide a great opportunity to work more fruit and vegetables into your child's diet, giving the energy and nutrients they need to get the most out of their learning day - and that goes for adult lunches as well. Nutritionist and 5 A Day advocate Claire Turnbull offers suggestions for making packed lunches interesting and flavourful with fruit and vegetables. • While children may be reluctant to eat whole pieces of fruit, they love food they can eat with their fingers. Choose colourful fruit and vegetables and chop them up into bite-sized pieces that can be stored in small containers or slipped into sandwiches and wraps. • Incorporating fruit and vegetables into lunches doesn't need to be a covert operation. Small children love to help Mum and Dad in the kitchen and they are more likely to eat lunches they have helped make. It's also a great way to teach them how to make healthy choices. • To keep lunches nice and cool, particularly during the warmer months of the year, Claire recommends using a chilly block and putting it at the bottom of your child's lunchbox or bag. To make a chilly block, freeze a small bottle of water and add to the box to keep it chilled or use a store-bought chilly block placed in the freezer the night before. • Spread avocado on sandwiches instead of butter • Prepare sliced cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, tomato wedges and grated carrots for your family to make their own wraps, sandwiches and subs. If you take them in a container and put your sandwich or wrap together at work or school, it prevents the sandwich getting soggy. • Mix chopped fruit such as kiwifruit, apples, pears and oranges with low-fat yoghurt. Young children tend to eat more fruit when it is chopped up • For a change use wholegrain pita, naan, bagels or tortilla wraps instead of bread. For more information visit www.5aday.co.nz Five of the best Here are five tasty and healthy lunchbox ideas: 1FOR a nutritious packed lunch try egg and lettuce wholemeal sandwiches cut into triangles for fun and easy handling. Pack a low-fat yoghurt and a small banana - try drawing a face on the skin for added fun! 2 For a delicious and healthy alternative to sandwiches, try a potato frittata wedge packed with chopped courgette, onion, corn, spinach, mushroom and/or tomato - anything goes in this great lunch option. Pop chunks of cheese and cherry tomatoes in a small container for added protein, vitamins and minerals. A home-made mini banana bran muffin adds extra fibre to this lunchbox and makes it a great filling snack so the children don't run out of steam before the day is out. Add a piece of fruit to round out the nutrition content. 3 Children love pizza! Leftover home-made pizza slices with their favourite vegetables such as mushrooms, tomato, baby spinach, corn, courgette and onion are a great way of getting a few extra vegetables in at lunchtime. Making a wholemeal pizza base will add a little more fibre, keeping children fuller for longer. Add a small container of berries and grapes. Cucumber sticks make a fresh, healthy addition to this lunchbox combo. 4 Sushi with tuna and avocado along with a handful of carrot sticks makes a tasty lunch providing carbohydrate and a good vitamin boost. Add strawberries or apple slices for a nutrition boost. 5 A wholemeal roll or wrap with ham and cheese, lettuce, grated carrot and cucumber makes a tasty protein-packed lunchbox staple and is a fantastic way of adding more vegtables. You can include sliced tomato in a small snap-lock bag so the children can add it at lunchtime - this stops the roll going soggy. A pottle of chopped fruit in juice makes a good alternative to fresh fruit.  Source: 5 A Day

Adding an avo a super healthy taste treat

We are right in the throes of a bumper crop of New Zealand-grown avocados. The picking season has begun with 5.8 million trays expected to be available. The size of the crop is also well reflected in the current price for the fruit. An estimate of the current crop suggests it is 20 per cent larger in volume than ever before and nearly double the 2010-2011 volumes. This will mean plenty of packed-full-of-goodness avocados for every age. With such an abundance of avocados we no longer need to take them for granted. The soft, smooth and creamy texture can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Avocados are not only tasty and satisfying on the palate, but they're also one of the most nutritionally complete fruits in the world. With more than 40 per cent of us now following advice and enjoying 5 a day, "add an avo" to your meal to increase the percentage. Avocados are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain good mono-unsaturated fat, they're cholesterol-free, are a good source of fibre and brilliant for your skin. The "Add an Avo" campaign has been tried in Australia and was extremely successful. Run by the NZ Avocado Growers' Association, it is aimed at highlighting health and nutritional benefits as well as raising awareness about how to choose, handle and store avocados. With today's demanding schedules, late night events and little time to make nutritious dinners, avocados are an ideal way to ensure you're getting essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats. It may be as simple and delicious as slicing your avo onto toast, into a salad, adding to scrambled eggs or blending it up into a smoothie. Whether as a first food for babies (blended) or for making guacamole, avocados have a multitude of tasty and healthy uses – even as a face mask. There are many myths in New Zealand about how to choose, store and ripen avocadoes, and even how to cook with them. It's probably because avocados didn't feature highly in our grandmothers' kitchens. Here are a few quick tips and tricks to dispel the myths. Things you should know about avocados:    The Guinness Book of World Records lists avocados as the most nutritionally complete fruit.  Avocados can be used in warm dishes – try stirring cubed avocado through cooked pasta.  They contain essential fatty acids, which can help to reduce cholesterol deposits.  Avocados are a perfect first food for babies going on to solids.  Avocados contain more potassium per serve than bananas.  There are more than 500 varieties of avocado – Hass is the most common commercial variety grown in New Zealand.  You can freeze freshly mashed ripe avocados if you want to have an "emergency supply" of avocados on hand for guacamole.Tips to choosing, ripening and storing your avocados:  Never squeeze an avocado – you are damaging it.  Choose based on colour: bright green = not ripe, olive green = 2-3 days to go, brown green = good for slicing and dicing, brown = good for mashing.  Do not choose a black avocado – it is past its best.  Ripen avocados by placing them in your fruit bowl. Once ripe, avocados will store in the fridge for a few days.  Leftover avocado can be kept in the fridge by squeezing lemon juice over the exposed area and wrapping in cling film. If a brown layer forms, simply scrape off.Ways to use avocados quickly:  Mash up on toast with tomato and feta cheese.  Stir cubed avocado through an omelette with tomato and cheese.  Top a cooked pizza with slices of avocado.  Use in mashed potato in place of butter.  Top grilled chicken with diced avocado and crumbled feta.  Remember when purchasing avocados to buy early and use late.     CORN FRITTERS WITH CRISPY BACON AND AVOCADO SALAD (serves 4) Ingredients (A basic fritter recipe – you may wish to add or subtract other vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, mushrooms etc) 2 free range eggs 2 cups buttermilk (1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream if buttermilk unavailable) 2 cups self-rising flour 1 400g tin whole kernel corn 1 400g tin creamed corn 2 Tbsp chopped spring onions 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste salad greens such as mesclun mix 8 rashers of crisp belly bacon 2 fresh ripe Hass avocados 1 tsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp lime-infused avocado oil Method: Break the eggs into a good-sized bowl and whisk with a fork.Add the butter, milk and flour and lightly mix to a lumpy batter. Add the whole kernel corn, creamed corn, spring onions, parsley. Again lightly mix with the fork and season with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Take care not to over-mix the batter as this will cause the fritters to toughen. Heat a little avocado oil in a heavy based pan and cook the batter into your chosen sized fritters. Cook on the first side until lightly browned and well set and then turn over and continue cooking until they are lightly firm to the touch. Place on the serving plates and top with crisp belly bacon, the salad and the fresh avocados. Drizzle with lemon juice and avocado oil. Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/life-style/5963244/Adding-an-avo-a-super-healthy-taste-treat - © Fairfax NZ News

Tasty Trio of Goodness

The tasty trio of asparagus, avocados and spinach tops my list of favourite greens. And given their ready availability and price, now is the time to savour them.  From its first cultivation in Greece, asparagus has played a key role in traditional folk medicine and has been used as a tonic, a sedative and also as a treatment for neuritis and rheumatism.  Of course, it was inevitable, given its shape, that asparagus should be treated - in times past - as an aphrodisiac. However, in speculating on the alleged effect of asparagus on humans, writers have overlooked the sex life of asparagus itself. Although asparagus usually produces male flowers on some plants and female on others, it occasionally produces hermaphroditic blossoms, of which both pistils and stamens are functional.  Asparagus is best cooked the same day it's bought, but will keep tightly wrapped in damp paper towels for three to four days in the refrigerator.  Avocados are plentiful and are perfect partners for asparagus. Avocados are healthy, with 50 per cent more potassium than bananas and a range of vitamins including carotene, seven of the eight B vitamins, vitamins C and E.  They also contain other minerals in small amounts. Cholesterol-free, they contain only 5g of fat per serving, most of it the good-for-you mono-unsaturated kind.  I prefer to eat avocados raw. When cooked, the heat affects the oils causing an unpleasant off-flavour. Add avocados to hot foods at the last minute and away from the source of heat. If stuffing and baking, combine cold avocado with the hot food and return it to the shell. Place briefly under a grill, to brown the top.  Spinach was made famous by Popeye the sailor, a comic strip and cartoon character who became much stronger after eating the vegetable. The belief that spinach enhances strength is largely the result of the iron content being mistakenly reported in the 1930s as 10 times the actual amount.  However, research indicates spinach may help to prevent a variety of diseases, including cancer and cataracts. It makes a delicious crunchy salad but it is also great in stir-fries or pasta dishes.  Recipes  SHAVED ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH AVOCADO Great starter or accompaniment.  8 thick but tender asparagus spears Juice 1 lemon (2 and 1/2 tbsp) 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/4 cup each: finely grated parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 medium avocados 8 mint leaves  Snap ends off asparagus. With a vegetable peeler, shave asparagus into ribbons into a bowl.  Whisk lemon juice, garlic and parmesan in a small bowl then whisk in olive oil. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons over asparagus and toss. Halve, stone and peel the avocados. Slice each half into four. Fan on to four serving plates. Top with shaved asparagus and mint leaves. Drizzle with more dressing. Serves 4.  CREAMY SPINACH SALAD This makes an excellent light lunch served with crisp rolls. Blanched asparagus or sliced avocado could be added.  4 large rashers bacon 1/3 cup good mayonnaise 2 tbsp each: plain yoghurt, white wine vinegar 1 tbsp caster sugar 130g baby spinach leaves 1 small red onion, thinly sliced  Pan-fry, grill or microwave bacon until crisp. Combine mayonnaise, yoghurt, white-wine vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Put spinach in a salad bowl. Top with onion rings. Crumble bacon on top. Toss together with dressing.  Serves 4.  GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH AIOLI  Aioli: 3 plump cloves garlic, peeled 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten Salt and white pepper to taste 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil  Asparagus: 500g asparagus, trimmed 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 red chilli, seeded and diced Freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 tbsp sliced flat-leaf parsley  Place garlic, egg yolk, salt, pepper, lemon juice and mustard in a mini food processor or use a wand blender and mix until smooth. (Add a dash of saffron or turmeric for colour, if preferred.) With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil steadily, until thick. Makes about one cup and will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Set grill to medium-high. Toss asparagus with oil in a large roasting dish. Sprinkle with chilli and pepper. Grill asparagus until crisp-tender, about five minutes, turning occasionally during cooking. Transfer to a platter. Drizzle aioli over the asparagus and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.  AVOCADO WITH ASIAN NOODLES Add prawns or diced chicken to make a complete meal.  100g thin, dried rice noodles 2 tsp each: sesame oil, rice bran oil, grated root ginger 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tbsp each: light soy sauce, hoisin sauce 2 spring onions, diagonally sliced 1 large avocado, halved, stoned, peeled and cubed 1/2 cup coriander leaves  Prepare noodles according to packet instructions.  Drain well. Cut into smaller pieces if preferred. Heat oils in a wok or frying pan.  Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir in noodles, soy sauce and hoisin sauce, ensuring noodles are coated evenly. Add spring onions, stir-frying for one minute.  Fold in the avocado and coriander.  Serves 4 as an accompaniment.  Source: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/tasty-trio-of-goodness/1141598/

Green with envy over avo glut

The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions.  I am hearing already that there is going to be a bumper avocado crop this season. I have plenty of ideas for using fresh avocados, but would love to have them on hand all year around. Cooked avos are horrible, but do you have any ideas for how I could freeze or preserve or process them to keep them? Or is it something that really is only seasonal? - Sally  What a lovely problem that's going to be - I dream of such worries and in fact today I ate some avocado on toast with a poached egg and basil, and coriander cress sprinkled on top at private members club Shoreditch House. Not quite as nice as Miles Kirby's avocado on wholegrain toast at Caravan cafe in Clerkenwell, but still ... I agree with your cooked avocados, and am yet to see anything good about them or taste anything fanciable.  However they are useful in cooking, and I have had a lovely chilled soup made by sauteing till softened (before puréeing and cooling) 1 medium leek, 1 clove garlic, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 500g golden kumara and spices (try chilli flakes, a little cinnamon, fresh ginger).  Once chilled mix in 800g puréed avocado, 400ml unsweetened coconut milk and season to taste. It'll be thick and rich and is best served as small portions. Garnish with a red capsicum and red onion salsa with plenty of lime juice, grated zest and shredded coriander, mint or basil leaves mixed in.  I also make a lovely sorbet from equal quantities (near enough) of mango and avocado flesh. Add sugar syrup or runny honey to taste and 50ml lime or lemon juice to every 500ml purée - adjust the taste to suit yourself. Churn as you would an ice cream and if it's a little icy then next time add a little more sugar syrup or a shot or three of golden Stolen Rum.  It is also great used as a salsa - dice the flesh and mix with thinly sliced spring onions, lime or lemon juice, chopped fresh red or green chillies to taste, the kernels of boiled or grilled sweetcorn, and lots of shredded herbs such as coriander, basil, tarragon or minced lemongrass - serve this over grilled fish or chicken.  I was cutting up an avocado recently and a friend was mesmerised as he'd never done it the same way. Cut the fruit in half lengthways and twist open. Firmly but carefully clunk a knife into the stone and twist to remove - but be careful as it's potentially slippery. Holding the halved fruit flesh facing up, and using a round nosed knife, such as you'd butter your bread with, cut the flesh into dice but keeping the flesh intact. Then simply use a dessertspoon to scoop out the flesh into diced pieces. So easy and no mess on the chopping board to clean up. Hass avocados are ripe to use when they are brown-green, or can be used soft-ripe when they are dark brown (black means they are past their best).  Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10758719

New avocado awareness campaign coincides with bumper season

A new campaign has launched to encourage us all to ‘Add An Avo’ to our daily diet. The Add An Avo campaign is being run by the NZ Avocado Growers’ Association, the not-for-profit body that looks after the country’s avocado growers. The campaign coincides with the start of Hass avocado season, which is set to be the biggest avocado season New Zealand’s ever seen. "We’re estimating a crop 20% larger in volume than we’ve ever had before and nearly double our 2010-2011 volumes. This means plenty of beautiful fruit, packed full of goodness for every age,” explains chief executive of the NZ Avocado Growers’ Association, Jen Scoular. Soft, smooth, creamy and loved by adults and children alike, avocados are not only tasty and satisfying on the palate, but they’re also one of the most nutritionally complete fruits in the world. Avocados are packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The campaign is aimed at highlighting these health and nutritional benefits. NZ Avocado Growers’ Association also wants to raise awareness about how to choose, handle and store avocados, as well as how to enjoy them, with various recipe offerings and information packs. "We have such an abundance of avocados in New Zealand, we often take them for granted. Part of our campaign will address some common misconceptions and myths about how to tell when an avocado is ripe and how to ripen them at home. What we want to do is remind people of their incredible richness, versatility and health benefits and also to offer advice about how to choose an avocado in the supermarket,” says Scoular. With today’s demanding schedules, late night events and little time to make nutritious dinners, avocados are an ideal way to ensure you’re getting essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats. "Eating an avocado can be as simple and delicious as slicing it onto toast, into a salad, or blending it up into a smoothie. They are an ideal ‘on the run’ food,” says Scoular. From creating a face mask for beautiful skin and complexion results, blending as a first food for babies, making guacamole, or blitzing up a super smoothie, avocados have a multitude of tasty and healthy uses. Avocados are a treasure trove of nutrients. They are naturally cholesterol-free and contain good monounsaturated fat, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. By the same token they are also a good source of fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and is important in the control of weight. A source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, avocados are also great for skin and anti-aging. They contain folic acid and other vitamins including E, which is brilliant for skin, B6, which releases energy from food and promotes a healthy nervous system, and iron, important for brain function, immunity and the formation of red blood cells. "Avocados are an amazing fruit and we’re looking forward to sharing recipes and lots of information about their importance in your daily diet over this bumper season,” says Scoular. About NZ Avocado Growers’ Association and Avocado Industry Council. The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand with exports last year (2010-11) totalling $67m. The 2011-12 season will see the industry produce its biggest crop ever at 5.4 – 5.8 million trays (31,900 tonnes), which represents a jump of just under one million trays from the previous biggest season. The NZ Avocado Growers’ Association (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council  (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. Source: http://www.foodnews.co.nz/23045/new-avocado-awareness-campaign-coincides-with-nz-bumper-season/

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