Dole Nutrition Institute
Dole Food Company, Inc. is committed to supplying the consumer and our customers with the finest, high-quality products and to leading the industry in nutrition research and education.
To this end, Dole’s owner David Murdock located the Dole Nutrition Institute’s (DNI) research laboratory at the NC Research Campus to further his mission of producing healthier fruits and vegetables. In addition, the DNI is a world-class leader in consumer based nutrition education utilizing websites, social media, free on-line monthly newsletters, videos, brochures, cookbooks and other resources to get the message to our consumers that eating fruits and vegetables is really good for you.
At the NCRC, Dole has a 10,000-square-foot analytical chemistry laboratory situated within the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute Building where Dole scientists are tasked with identifying and quantifying the myriad of phytochemicals found in the company’s fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests that diets rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain large amounts of these types of compounds, may help reduce the risk of developing some of the more common diseases people experience as they age such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The Dole lab is also working on how to enhance the nutrition benefits of its products by working with the exceptional agronomists Dole has in its Fresh Fruits and Fresh Vegetables divisions.
Dole collaborates with many of the campus partners including the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab, the David H. Murdock Research Institute and the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute to demonstrate in a clinical setting why fruits and vegetables are healthy. Examples of research projects conducted so far are:
- The use of bananas as an alternative energy source to sports drinks for athletic performance
- Chia seed consumption and Omega 3 fatty acid bioavailability
- The effects of fruit and vegetable juice on inflammation and oxidative stress
- The health implications of vitamin D from Portobello mushroom powder
Some of the studies performed have contributed to the formulation and development of a number of Dole products, and the company’s research has resulted in several scientific publications contributing to the knowledge base supporting the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the nutrients they contain.
In addition, Dole has jointly funded a continuing post doctoral research program with NC State University utilizing NMR to assist in compound identification further enhancing the industry-academic partnerships that define the NC Research Campus. Dole is also a participating member of the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP), a campus wide research project to understand what compounds plants make and how they make them.