This past May, the Council met at Semiahmoo Resort to consider programs and budgets for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Fulfilling the mission of the Council to pursue nutrition research and health marketing, 55% of the projected funds available next year were approved for either research or marketing while maintaining a 30% reserve. The remaining 15% is used for administrative expenses including USDA oversight.
Research projects will target areas of study where raspberries are believed to have a competitive advantage in terms of health protective benefits due to high fiber, low caloric value, and a mix of phytochemicals: Diabetes, Chronic Inflammation, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cognitive Function. Studies looking at Bio-mechanisms and or bio-availability will also be funded in 2016. In total, there will be seventeen funded projects emphasizing human/ clinical trials or animal studies. No funded project extends beyond three years.
Research Committee Chair Adam Enfield recognized the significance of the investment being made to support these projects. “The projects focus on our research priorities. Funded projects will fill knowledge gaps about the health benefits of raspberries and will provide a scientific foundation to build a strong marketing message.”
Drawing from key successes during 2015, the 2016 Marketing program will expand its outreach activity to health professionals and include foodservice operators and food manufacturers for the first time. 2015 Market Research survey results were used by the Marketing Committee during proposed program development and review. Brad Rader, Marketing Committee Chair, noted the importance of market research in designing the marketing program. “All communications programs will benefit from the research conducted this year. Our focus is on communicating the health benefits and advantages of processed raspberries to build demand and value for processed raspberries.”
The Council also recognized the need to establish consistent, industry-wide food safety standards for both domestic and international producers and processors. The first step will be to conduct an industry vulnerability assessment prior to developing industry standards. A Food Safety Committee was appointed to oversee these initiatives and will provide a progress report to the Council at the November meeting.