Offering Grapes in School Lunch Promotes Better Eating

Less Waste When Grapes Were Served

By Jeff Cardinale, California Table Grape Commission

Offering fresh grapes as part of the school lunch menu helped improve the school lunch eating behaviors of children in a pilot study conducted through Texas A&M University.

The study looked at the effects on plate waste when fresh grapes were offered compared to when they were not offered. The results show that when the school meals included grapes, consumption of healthier menu items increased, suggesting that grapes can serve as a “gateway” fruit to healthier eating.

The study was conducted in two elementary schools and two middle schools from one school district in Texas. Grapes were made available on “grape days” as an offered fruit choice. Non-grape days were defined as days when grapes were not offered.

Study results included:

  • When offered as a fruit choice, grapes were minimally wasted.
  • On grape days, lost dollars attributed to vegetable plate waste was significantly less than on non-grape days.
  • Intakes of effective calories, fat, sodium, protein, and fiber per serving of entrees, vegetables and fruits on grape days were higher than on non-grape days.
  • On grape days, the children consumed more of the school lunch, which is an overall goal of school lunch.

“Our study shows that offering grapes in school lunches is a smart strategy that goes beyond grapes’ status as a favorite fruit to grapes having a beneficial impact on the degree to which students make healthy choices, and on their consumption of the school lunch overall,” said Dr. Peter S. Murano, co-author of the study.

It is hoped that schools across the country take note of the benefits of serving California table grapes in an effort to help encourage good eating habits for the students.

2021-05-12T11:05:14-07:00February 14th, 2018|

Vertical Integration and Grape Flavors

Vertical Integration and Grape Flavors

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Vertical integration, the combination in one company of two or more stages of production normally operated by separate companies, has helped lead to success in many facets of the agriculture industry. Harold McClarty, who founded HMC Farms with Mike Jensen, said without vertical integration, his farm would not be able to survive or have nearly the same level of success.  “We would not be in stone fruit if we were not vertically integrated,” McClarty explained. “There are three profit centers: the growing of it, the packing of it and the selling of it. We have all three of those profit centers. Without them we would not be able to survive the tough years.”

Cotton Candy grape clamshell

Cotton Candy grape clamshell (Photo source: Grapery)

McClarty also said the grape industry has made significant strides in flavor profiles in the marketplace. One popular flavor is Cotton Candy, which is grown and sold by Grapery, a company founded by Jack Pandol in 1996. Grapery also grows and sells Gum Drop grapes, Moon Drop grapes, Flavor Pops grapes and more.

The increase in unique flavors, according to McClarty, has helped grapes become a popular snack. “There’s been a revolution in the varieties of grapes grown just over the last five to seven years,” McClarty said. “These new varieties have revolutionized grapes and enabled us to produce more on less. 

To evaluate a grape, McClarty suggests you “look at a berry’s color, crispness and sweetness; these are the things that make a grape taste delicious. It really is a revolution, and we haven’t seen it in the California marketplace as much as we have in the rest of the United States. The retail chains in California just haven’t embraced it as well as some of the really good supermarkets on the East Coast and in the Southeast,” noted McClarty.

2016-05-31T19:24:13-07:00February 9th, 2016|

CA Grown Campaign Builds Awareness

CA Grown Campaign Builds Awareness of the State’s Agricultural Bounty

By Kyle Buchoff, Assistant Editor


Denise Junqueiro, California Olive Committee director of programs and services and serves and CA Grown Campaign vice-chair, reported California Grown is really about building awareness of California-grown products. One of five Mediterranean climates in the world, California is a rare place where specialty crops that thrive in short, wet winters separated by a sunny and dry spring, summer, and fall, can be grown.

“We know people are curious,” said Junqueiro. “We know people want to know where their food comes from. We have an abundance of crops in our state, and we believe we grow these better than everyone else in the world. So we are trying to increase awareness—not only about our products—but about the farmers who grow them, because our farmers really care. Our efforts are about shining a light on all the bountiful fruits, vegetables and nuts we grow in California,” she noted.


California Grown, according to their website, gives farmers the platform to share their farm stories and to help consumers understand where their food comes from. Farmers present their food safety measures, choices in crop varieties, sustainable and creative packaging solutions to make serving dinner faster and more convenient, strong ties to the land and to their neighbors, pride in homegrown products and in their work; and support for the economy.

California Grown  is supported by the state and federal governments, hundreds of growers, and all Californians. The group also collaborates with about 20 member partners in California agriculture to remind everyone to seek out and purchase agricultural products grown and produced in California.



CA Grown Campaign

California Olive Committee

2021-05-12T11:06:00-07:00December 30th, 2015|

Table Grape Ads Feature Growers

California Table Grape Ads Feature Growers

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

In an effort to shed a more positive light on agriculture and the growers who cultivate the food we eat, some advertising campaigns are focusing on bringing growers to the forefront. Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, said this is exactly what the Commission’s campaign has been doing, and it has been receiving positive feedback. “The heart of the global campaign the Commission is fielding,” Nave said, “is very much about California table grapes and the heritage that growers bring to the table—the years of understanding the art and the science that go into growing table grapes.”

The California Table Grape Commission has generated commercials that focus on the family aspect of California’s grape growers and can be seen on Food Network television. “The heart of the campaign of table grape ads,” said Nave, “is basically branding California and the growers of California table grapes. We’ve portrayed our brand this way, in this particular campaign, for about eight years, and it really resonates. A National Consumer research study of the four advertising commercials we are currently fielding on the Food Network revealed very high marks.”

Nave explained the commercials help to create trust between consumers and growers by showing consumers the faces behind their food. “The two commercials that feature growers’ families interacting with one another, one set in a vineyard and another at home, resonated the highest with consumers,” Nave said. “Consumers have a huge amount of trust for growers. There is a hunger among consumers—not only in the U.S., but in other parts of the world as well—to understand who is growing the food they bring home to their own families. So showing consumers a California table grape ad that features the grower, the grower’s family, and their vineyard, really resonates. So the campaign is working well. I think it’s a campaign that we will be continuing.”



California Table Grape Commission

Grapes from California “Family Dinner” tv commercial

Grapes from California “Generations” tv commercial

2016-05-31T19:27:07-07:00October 13th, 2015|

California Table Grape Commission

Kathleen Nave on the Table Grape Commission

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Before the California Table Grape Commission was established in 1968, only 1.7 pounds of grapes were consumed per person annually, according to Kathleen Nave, president of the organization. She said the Table Grape Commission began at the request of growers working with California’s legislature to better promote grapes. Today’s annual consumption rate is 8 pounds of grapes per capita.

“I had talked to some of the founding fathers back in the late 50s, early 60s,” Nave said. “They told me there were so many changes happening in the world and in the retail environment at that time, they were afraid of losing the land their families had immigrated to from around the world. So they wanted to come together and pool a little bit of money from every box of grapes they sold to be overseen by the state of California and a board of table grape grower directors to increase demand for their product“To this day, the Table Grape Commission is still governed by growers who are nominated by their peers in each district in which grapes are grown in the state,” Nave said, “and it is all overseen by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.”

While the Table Grape Commission continues to promote table grapes and to create a domestic demand for them, Nave said the Commission is reaching beyond this basic consumer base, to foreign consumers. “Everything we do is designed to create demand,” Nave said, “to get that retailer to put more California grapes on the shelves, to promote and advertise them more often, to encourage that importer to bring grapes in, and to get consumers to go into their grocery stores and ask, ‘Where are the California grapes?’”

2016-05-31T19:27:07-07:00October 12th, 2015|
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