USHBC Promotes a Daily Dose of Blueberries as Part of the Food as Medicine Movement


A new “power period” for 2024 emphasizes how fruits and vegetables like blueberries help support better health

FOLSOM, Calif. – April 30, 2024 – The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is encouraging daily consumption of blueberries in support of the Food as Medicine movement. Broadly defined as the integration of food and nutrition interventions into the healthcare system, Food as Medicine is a transformative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. USHBC is raising awareness of this movement among health professionals throughout April and May, showcasing how blueberries – and their essential nutrients – can benefit an overall healthy lifestyle.

Food as Medicine is an ancient concept experiencing a modern resurgence in the food, healthcare, non-profit, and government sectors amid a rise in diseases related to poor-quality eating patterns and physical inactivity1. Half of American adults – about 117 million people – have one or more preventable chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, poor bone health and some cancers2. In this environment, Food as Medicine interventions are now central to the federal strategy to end food insecurity as well as reduce food-related disease incidence and overall healthcare costs in the U.S3. While an official Food as Medicine diet has not been established, fruits and vegetables like blueberries are a cornerstone of published nutrition recommendations to date4.

“One of every five deaths across the globe is attributable to suboptimal diet – which is more than any other risk factor, including tobacco5. Eating more fruits and vegetables like blueberries is an important action Americans can take to improve their overall well-being. The good news is that the Food as Medicine movement is working to help more people access these simple, nutritious foods to support better health,” said Leslie Wada, PhD, RD, Senior Director of Nutrition and Health Research at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

In 2022, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health brought renewed attention to the Food as Medicine movement and catalyzed private and public sector commitments to support improved nutrition and health, including many initiatives to scale Food as Medicine programs. The North American Blueberry Council and USHBC were recently selected as a partner for one such initiative, the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities, making a formal commitment to invest up to $7 million in health and nutrition research by 2030 to improve health outcomes and diet quality of all Americans.

Given the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that blueberries may play a role in supporting positive health outcomes, USHBC is well positioned to help socialize the concept of Food as Medicine and lead the charge for produce in this initiative. In addition to essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber, blueberries contain phytochemicals called polyphenols. Among these naturally occurring plant chemicals are anthocyanins, which give blueberries their beautiful blue color and have been studied for their health benefits, including those associated with cardiovascular health and antioxidant effects.

USHBC also serves as a proud member of the National Produce Prescription Collaborative, an organization that leverages produce prescriptions as prevention and intervention for diet-related diseases. Produce prescription programs, one of the current Food as Medicine interventions, allow providers to prescribe fruits and vegetables to patients with diet-related diseases or those facing food insecurity. 

“As we work to address food insecurity and help Americans establish healthier – and potentially life-saving – eating patterns, we have an urgent need for scalable solutions that drive purchase and encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables like blueberries,” said Kasey Cronquist, President, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “The Food as Medicine movement is ripe with opportunity, and USHBC is proud to be a leader in the produce space. Collectively, we can work to advance Food as Medicine initiatives into food and health systems on a national and global level.”

USHBC’s Food as Medicine promotion in April and May represents a new power period, part of Grab a Boost of Blue, a strategic positioning and call to action backed by health focused tools and research for retailers. As part of the promotion, USHBC is distributing a new toolkit geared toward health professionals, with resources also available for retailers to promote the Food as Medicine initiative in store and digitally. The Food as Medicine toolkit will include a new tip sheet, display ad and social graphics with accompanying post copy and updated recipe cards. 

About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture research and promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at

1 Food as Medicine  – American Society for Nutrition

2 The Healthy Eating Index: How Is America Doing? | USDA

3 FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Launches the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities, Announces New Public & Private Sector Actions to Continue Momentum from Historic Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Conference | The White House

4 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at

5 Downer S, Berkowitz SA, Harlan TS, Olstad DL, Mozaffarian D. Food is medicine: actions to integrate food and nutrition into healthcare. BMJ. 2020;369:m2482. Published 2020 Jun 29. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2482