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NewsBites March 2016 Issue

Three Veggies Account for Nearly 60% of Supply

IMAGE THINKSTOCK

When Americans are told, "Eat your vegetables," we hear, "Eat white potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce." According to a recent USDA report, those three vegetables account for almost 60% of the veggies and legumes available for consumption. (And tomatoes are technically a fruit.) In 2013, the latest year for which data were reported, 115.6 pounds per person of white potatoes were available for Americans to eat, two-thirds of which were used for French fries, potato chips, and other frozen or processed potato products. White potatoes accounted for 30 percent of the 384.4 pounds per person of vegetables and legumes available. Tomatoes had a 22% share, with 20.2 pounds per person of fresh tomatoes and 65.9 pounds processed in a variety of ways, including canned and in sauces and soups. Fresh lettuce (head lettuce, romaine and leaf lettuce) rounded out the top three at 25.5 pounds per person, or 7% of the total.

Vegetable diversity has actually improved since 1970, however, when those three favorites accounted for 67% of all available vegetables and legumes.

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