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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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A Trip through the Produce Aisle from the Eyes of a Nutrition Scientist

Featured Article

By Jonathan Mein
Vegetables Division

belaverde2 broccoliWe all know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but not many people get to advance that cause as a career. As a Nutrition Scientist in our global vegetable division, I’m one of the lucky few.

The reality is that most of us don’t eat as much fruit and vegetables as we should.  That is where the cool part of my job begins.  I get to think about and address the challenges we face in providing consumers with safe, nutritious and, most importantly, delicious vegetables.

Most people don’t even realize that Monsanto has a vegetable business, let alone cares about taste, flavor, convenience, and nutrition.  But in fact, we care a lot.  I was in a colleague’s office the other day and made the comment that if people only knew how much time and effort goes into understanding how a tomato tastes, they would never believe it.  That is true for a lot of the work we do in vegetables.

BellaFina mini bell peppers are a perfect example of the work that we do in vegetables to provide taste, nutrition, and convenience to consumers.  Not only do they taste great, but their size makes them a great vegetable option for children.  As a new dad, I can appreciate making vegetables fun for everybody.  Any time we can make consuming vegetables tastier, more compelling or more convenient, I feel we have done our jobs.

I probably have spent more time thinking about broccoli nutrition over the past week than most people will over a lifetime.  With almost 12 years of conventional breeding efforts behind it, our Beneforté broccoli has resulted in a variety that tastes like broccoli but with enhanced levels of the phytonutrient glucoraphanin.  We’ve taken the science behind the antioxidant benefits of glucoraphanin and combined them with our expertise in conventional breeding to produce a broccoli with truly added benefits.  We all know broccoli is good for you, but we’ve managed to make it even better.

The research, thought, and passion that goes into filling your local produce aisle is a behind-the-scenes journey that starts with our people.  As I walk through the produce aisle at my local grocery store, I don’t just see the bright colors, smell the sweet scents and sample the great tastes.  I see the hard work that goes into that experience, and I am proud to say that I am a part of that hard work.  Every time I see a tasty tomato, broccoli stalk or other vegetable go into a shopper’s cart, I can enjoy a bit of satisfaction in a job well-done.

5 Responses to "A Trip through the Produce Aisle from the Eyes of a Nutrition Scientist"

  1. Great article but it might be a little difficult for many to understand why increasing glucoraphanin helps their families. I know it does, but that doesn’t make it simple to explain to the mother or father of most families. Needed a simpler explanation. Outside that one point, the article was extremely engaging.

  2. I thought this was going to be a more informative article. It is more advertising than information that I can use. I would visit a corporate website much more often if the mix leaned more heavily toward useful information.

  3. The title of this story would make for a really good series of articles informing readers about both interesting and health-minded, handy information that could help readers actually improve their health and increase the enjoyment they take from good food.

  4. After reading your article, it seems as though your scientist is taking all the credit for fruits and vegetables tasting great and being good for you. Guess what? They always tasted great and were always good for you. Monsanto should stick to writing articles about what it does best, which is providing the most amount of food for the least amount of money. That is an innovation, but taking credit for taste or health effects of fruits and vegetables is plain ridiculous.


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