New fresh-cut fruit and vegetable products are being developed worldwide. Nutrition educators' perceptions of these products were studied.
Professional dietitians in Nova Scotia were asked to complete a questionnaire on their use of fresh-cut produce. The questionnaire also elicited their attitudes and perceptions about the convenience, taste/quality, nutrition/health benefits, cost, and safety of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.
Sixty-three percent of respondents reported eating five to six servings of fruit and vegetables a day. This group most frequently consumed fresh-cut fruit as snacks or dessert, and vegetables in stir-fry dishes or salads or cooked with meals. In general, fresh-cut fruit and vegetables were perceived as convenient, safe, and nutritious. While approximately 50% of participants felt fresh-cut produce did not differ in taste from whole fresh produce, almost the same number considered whole fresh produce superior in taste.
Dietitians have a generally positive perception of fresh-cut products; however, there is uncertainty about the nutritional value, cost/benefit, and use of the products. Dietitians require more information on the nutrient value of these products and on suggested alternative uses. Attention should be paid to developing fresh-cut products that have good sensory quality.