New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) Crunchy prunes, lush Washington apples and juicy grapes... India is in love with American fruits. A colourful exhibition of American health food and beverages was inaugurated at Godrej Nature Basket in Delhi Thursday afternoon.
'We are proud of the high quality of American food products and we are happy to be able to bring more of America's delicious, healthy food options to Indian consumers,' said the US deputy chief of mission Donald Lu, who inaugurated the exhibition at Defence Colony.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Godrej Nature's Basket chain of stores in Delhi and Mumbai and the leading US food and industry groups like the Washington Apple Commission, the California Table Grape Commission, the California Tree Fruit Agreement (representing California peaches, plums and nectarines), the United States Trade Association as well as several individual US brands.
'We have witnessed a great demand for high quality food products in India. The average consumer is showing increasing interest in food products from the US,' she said.
Prunes or dried plums from California are increasingly appearing on breakfast menus in homes of professionals across urban India. They are available in dry packs in almost all superstores across India.
B. Sesikaran, director of the National Institute of Nutrition, says prunes have a long shelf life.
'Prunes can be transported easily without refrigeration. They contain high level of vitamin A and iron. The low-fat prunes are also a good source of soluble fibre and are rich in potassium that protects the heart and provides vital nutrition during pregnancy,' Sesikaran says.
The California Prune Board is raising awareness about its benefits among Indian women approaching menopause.
Shona Malik, the president of the Indian Menopausal Society, says: 'Prunes have been shown to help in bone formation essential for maintaining skeletal health.'
'The anti-oxidant properties of prunes are universally acknowledged and one of the several benefits of prunes is that it combats hot flushes that are very common during menopause,' she added.
A survey cites that of the 75,000 types of apples grown worldwide, the top nine are grown in Washington. The Red Delicious variety accounts for 30 percent of its production. Every year, Washington exports nearly 30 percent of its apples to countries across the world, including India.
A spokesperson for the Washington Apple Commission said: 'The US apples have found their way to the fruit marts in India.'
In 2008-2009, India was fifth on the list of countries to which Washington supplied apples. It exported around 18 lakh apples. In 2007-2008, it figured ninth on the list of exporting nations with around 8 lakh apples.
Moreover, California grapes are available in India throughout the year. The country made an inroad in the Indian market in 2001.
'As India mostly grows green grapes, the country imports red, black and blue California table grapes for its exotic fruit market that is growing rapidly,' a spokesperson for the California Grape Commission said.
The food display will end Sep 5.