LONG ISLAND CITY, NY--(Marketwired - May 17, 2013) -  With hamburgers and hotdogs leading the world of grilling, it's easy to forget that there is life beyond the bun. Yet popular online grocer FreshDirect's annual Food Seasonality Survey reveals that 66 percent of registered dieticians rate vegetables (35 percent) and seafood (31 percent) as their preferred grilling choice this summer, followed by beef (18 percent) and poultry (16 percent). However, while Dieticians prefer grilling vegetables and seafood, more than 75 percent say these items are the most challenging foods to consistently find fresh, and 58 percent of dieticians cite freshness as the number one factor in achieving good flavor during food preparation.

"Dieticians are joining the ranks of Americans calling for freshness from their local food suppliers, and in the process they're reinforcing something we've long believed: there is a fundamental disconnect in our food system," said David McInerney, FreshDirect co-founder and food sourcing expert. "At FreshDirect we tackle this critical issue head-on, making fresh and healthy food easier to find, buy, prepare and eat. We do this by forging sincere and sustainable relationships with hundreds of farmers, ranchers and fishermen throughout the world to source the best tasting, healthiest, freshest foods for our customers. Our online delivery model allows us to create hyper-local, farm-to-table food systems that result in healthy relationships between consumers, their food, their farmers, and their world."

Food transportation is also cited as a contributing factor to taste, seasonality and quality. In fact, 85 percent of dieticians agree that less transport time equals healthier produce, 93 percent agree that in-season foods taste better and 31 percent rate seasonality as the most important factor of fresh food products.

"Produce seasonality and locality is extremely important," said McInerney. "The average American meal travels 5,000 miles before it reaches your dinner plate. At FreshDirect, we have locally sourced produce from around the country that is harvested at its ripest point, delivered to FreshDirect and distributed to customers. Our farm-to-table business model provides consumers with fruits and vegetables that are fresher than those that travel a longer road to people's homes."

When it comes to seafood preferences and challenges, the survey reveals that 35 percent of dieticians rated salmon as the hardest seafood to find fresh, followed by 32 percent citing shrimp and lobster as the hardest seafood's to find fresh. Fifty-eight percent of dieticians say they prefer purchasing wild-caught salmon with 67 percent willing to pay more compared to farmed fish. 

"At FreshDirect our fresh seafood usually goes out to customers the same day we receive it, demonstrating the advantage of our direct model," said McInerney. "When purchasing seafood, look for a wild-caught shrimp or fish -- like our Patagonia shrimp. Thanks to a rich diet available in a natural habitat, wild-caught seafood has a subtle flavor and delicate texture perfect for the grill or a quick sauté. Plus wild salmon is rich in omega 3's, and has a higher protein content and lower fat content than farm-raised salmon giving you the added nutritional benefit."

New, healthy grilling sides also topped the survey in popularity for this summer. According to the survey, 65 percent of dieticians Rate a mix of kale, arugula and endive and other leafy greens as their favorite grilling side dish. 

The annual Seasonality survey was designed to gather attitudes and opinions on a variety of food related topics, including cost, convenience and seasonality. Last October, FreshDirect surveyed over 200 dietitians and attendees at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, the world's largest annual meeting of food and nutrition professionals, to find out what the experts really think about food, body image, and healthy lifestyles. The Food & Nutrition Conference served as a kick-off for the development of the FreshDirect Nutritional Advisory Board, a panel of nutritionists who have been consulting with FreshDirect since then, on dietary trends. The board is part of FreshDirect's ongoing product development and helps to take FreshDirect's commitment to providing nutritious and great tasting options to the next level.

FreshDirect's annual Food Seasonality Survey includes the responses of 57 Dieticians who serve as part of the Nutritional Advisory Board.

About FreshDirect
FreshDirect is the leading online grocer in the U.S., delivering premium quality fresh-from-the-farm foods and brand-name groceries to customers in the greater New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro areas and the Greater Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania. With a 2,600-member workforce that is still growing, FreshDirect places an emphasis on nutritious, delicious meals and convenient services that allow customers more time to live healthy lives. FreshDirect aspires to be a valued corporate partner in all communities in which it serves. 

For more information, visit www.freshdirect.com. Follow FreshDirect on Twitter: @freshdirect and on Facebook: facebook.com/FreshDirect

Contact Information:

Sarah Lindsay
Phone: 215-564-3200 x118