Last month Donn Zea, Esther Ritson-Elliott and Julie Jenkins joined the 40th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress, the flagship event of the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC). Nearly 1,300 attendees from 65 countries gathered at JW Marriott Grosvenor House London to share ideas on market development, the latest findings in health and nut allergy research, and the sustainable growth of the industry. Participation in these events ensures that California Prunes gain visibility on a global platform of international traders.

Donn Zea presented on the panel of Prunes Round Table, moderated by Brad Schuler of Sunsweet.
Esther Ritson-Elliott presented at the Global Strategies session to promote the work of the DFA campaign, partly funded by INC., and led a meeting with INC executives to discuss the future of Dried Fruit within INC.

California Prunes had a prime position exhibition booth, which provided a great opportunity to meet with industry colleagues from around the globe and share the latest news and benefits of California Prunes. Each year we gain valuable, high quality trade leads for industry and additional mailing list contacts. We distributed over 400 samples across 3 days, as well as trade POS and sustainability collateral. These events raise brand awareness of California Prunes and their benefits, create an opportunity to reconnect with existing trade colleagues from across the globe (US / Japan / UK / EU), and make sure California growers and handlers have a voice at the table of a global platform.

Today’s Dietitian

The California Prune Board (CPB) routinely works with Registered Dietitians (RDs) to share the health benefits of prunes through the counseling of their clients. CPB representatives traveled to Savannah, GA to attend the Today’s Dietitian 2023 Spring Symposium, one of the largest gatherings of RDs in the country each year.

Presenters on behalf of CPB included Lauren Manaker, RD, CLEC and Connie Rogers, PhD, who joined together to present a 1-hour educational session as part of a sponsored luncheon. RDs participating in this conference were very receptive to the results of Dr. Rogers’ study, as well as Lauren Manaker heartfelt presentation, where she talked about her experience with poor bone health within her family. Dr. Rogers explained the results of this compelling bone health research in terms that RDs can understand and simplify to their clients. Lauren effortlessly displayed what it looks like to connect with clients on a personal level when counseling them on incorporating healthy foods into their diets with intention. The presentation nicely outlined the benefits of prunes on bone health, paired with how to incorporate prunes into a diet plan. The RDs loved the Chocolate Brownie Vegan Cookies and recipe cards we sent them home with. Several RDs shared prunes to their followers on social media and credited Lauren as having “Prune-fluenced” them to eat more prunes regularly. All in all, the symposium was a success.

PBS “America’s Heartland”

Last August we worked with “America’s Heartland,” a magazine-style, half-hour series produced by PBS KVIE, Sacramento for an episode featuring prunes as one of CA’s specialty crops. The episode features the Mariani family heritage in the prune business in California and give consumers an inside look at how prunes are grown, harvested, dried, and processed to become a delicious and nutritious food.

You can catch the episode airing live on July 19th, on your local PBS channel or watch it directly in the link here:

In coordinating this episode, the CPB team was able to capture some great content in partnership with CA GROWN who then shared this “Meet a Farmer” blog post highlighting the Mariani Family and many of our industry’s sustainability practices tied to the long history we have here in California. Special thanks to our chairman George Sousa and Natalie Mariani Kling for their participation.

Canada – Gut and Bone Health Webinar

California Prune Board hosted “Go with your gut. Feel it in your bones.”, a webinar hosted by and for registered dietitians. The webinar covered topics including the background of The California Prune Board, the latest scientific research on prunes, and tips for how to incorporate prunes into diet and lifestyle. The intention of this webinar was to engage with healthcare professionals in a new way, fostering valuable two-way communication, which was achieved through a live Q&A session between the hosts and attendees.

Italy – Prunes in Fun and Unexpected Places!



Vincenzo Vitolo’s art of mixology combines with the creativity of perfumer Cristian Calabrò to create a unique journey of flavours and fragrances with California Prunes

Milano, 11th May 2023 – Mixology and perfumery are arts that require passion, creativity and attention to detail and where the quality of the raw material is essential to achieve the perfect balance of flavours and smells. What if there was an ingredient that could combine flavours and scents in a unique and original way? That’s what happens when taste and smell combine with California Prunes!

The California Prune Board (CPB), which represents growers and packers of prunes from California, has created a unique sensory journey through a collaboration with mixologist Vincenzo Vitolo and perfumer Cristian Calabrò that starts with two signature cocktails based on California Prunes created by the award-winning bartender.

To create Pru-Ale and Balsamico, both of which have California Prunes as their main ingredient, Vincenzo Vitolo carefully selected and mixed the ingredients to create a unique taste and delicate balance. For the alcoholic Pru-Ale version, a home-made California Prunes gin was created to which Ginger Ale and lemon zest were then added. In the non-alcoholic cocktail Balsamico, on the other hand, California Prunes syrup is mixed with balsamic, ginger beer and lemon peel.

“In the creation of a new cocktail, it is essential to balance the individual components correctly in order to achieve a harmonious result and create a perfect combination of smell and palate. California Prunes are an extremely versatile ingredient and also ideal for creating original and tasty cocktails. Both in the Pru-Ale, in which California Prunes are used in an alcoholic base, and in the Balsamico made without the use of alcohol, this ingredient combines harmoniously with the other components to create a unique and inviting mix”– says mixologist Vincenzo Vitolo.

The art of mixology aims to recreate an intimate and all-encompassing tasting experience that involves all the senses of the cocktail drinker. To make this experience even more immersive, perfumer Cristian Calabrò has created an olfactory trail whose notes harmonise with those of the Pru-Ale cocktail: a perfect combination of raw materials and cocktail ingredients for a truly unique immersive experience.

“The idea of creating an olfactory bouquet with California Prunes at its centre immediately evoked the sun, the energy and the many facets of this fruit. I imagined it as the protagonist of the fragrance, with a citrus top note, incisive and sparkling in which the more severe part, entrusted to Juniper, would soften, embraced by the sweetness of the fruit. Pru-Ale is a creation that exhorts next summer”– says Cristian Calabrò, perfumer at CFF – Creative Flavours & Fragrances.

Thanks to their distinctive taste and unrivalled quality, California Prunes fit perfectly into both sweet and savoury recipes. Naturally free of fat and added sugar, they are also ideal for reducing the sugar content in various preparations.

All that remains is to try your hand at preparing these delicious cocktails that will be the perfect companions for a summer of flavour!



Non-alcoholic cocktail



Home-made California Prunes syrup

Ginger beer

Lemon peel


Alcoholic cocktail


Home-made California Prunes Gin

Ginger Ale

Lemon Peel

Nutrition News – Defining Bone Health and the Effects of Prune Consumption

By Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD

Bone health doesn’t always rank high under top health concerns for Americans even though we all start gradually losing bone once peak bone mass is reached somewhere around 30 years of age. In women bone breakdown speeds up with the dramatic decline of the bone protective hormone estrogen after menopause. In men, bone breakdown occurs more slowly with the steady decrease in testosterone as part of the aging process. Because of this, women are at risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis at a younger age than men, although more than half of American men and women aged 50 and older have low bone mass or osteoporosis[i].

In a sense we are all at risk of developing osteoporosis in our lifetime. Thus, the importance of prioritizing bone health can’t be understated. Knowing the health status of your bones is a great place to start, although determining bone health status involves more than a blood or urine test.

Assessing Bone Health

Clinically, bone health is assessed via a bone scan, most commonly a DXA (or DEXA) scan which measures bone mineral density, an indicator of bone strength. A DXA scan generates a T-score which is used diagnostically to categorize whether one has normal bone density, osteopenia (low bone mass) or osteoporosis. DXA results are also an important factor when estimating the risk of fracture which is calculated with the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool otherwise known as the FRAX® algorithm.

Unfortunately, DXA scans are quite expensive and most health insurance plans don’t cover them until age 65 for women, while 70 is the guideline to screen men for osteoporosis. So, we must take steps well before we reach 65 and 70 to protect our bones from breakdown. Adequate calcium and vitamin D are no-brainers for bone health, but they aren’t the only nutrients we need to help preserve our bones. Protein is critical for bone health as are magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin C, phosphorus, manganese, silica and boron. Making healthful food choices as part of a balanced diet can ensure we intake enough protein, vitamins and minerals for better bone health.

The Surprising Facts About Prunes and Bone Health

Prunes are a nutrient dense food that has emerged as a bone protective food in both animal and human studies. We don’t know yet the exact mechanism but prunes do offer several of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals, namely potassium, vitamin K, copper, magnesium and boron. Prunes are also rich in polyphenols associated with bone benefits.

Most of the human prune feeding trials have been conducted in postmenopausal women as that is a time in the life cycle where bone loss is the most rapid. Last year we reported the results of the largest prune feeding clinical trial to date that followed a cohort of over 200 postmenopausal women for one year. Hip bone mineral density and fracture risk were preserved in the prune eaters while the women who ate no prunes lost bone mineral density at the hip and experienced an increased fracture risk. Visit our recipe page on the California Prunes website for ideas to help you incorporate prunes into your daily diet.

Besides including prunes and other bone friendly foods in our diets (fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources), we can also lower our risk of developing osteoporosis by being physically active and engaging in weight bearing exercise, or strength training, Smoking and alcohol intake have negative impacts on bone. If you smoke stop, and if you drink alcohol limit your consumption to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and two drinks a day if you’re a man. Your bones will thank you!

Glossary of Terms

  • Bone density or bone mineral density (BMD) – a reflection of the amount of minerals, namely calcium and phosphorus, in our bones. The higher the mineral count the denser and stronger bones are and the lower the risk for fracture. Also called bone mass.
  • Bone mass –see bone density
  • DXA or DEXA – dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is a type of scanner that measures bone density and estimates the risk for fracture.
  • T-score – a number generated from a DXA scan of bone that reflects the comparison of your bone density to the average (the mean) bone density of younger healthy adults. The t-score is the standard deviation from that mean. A positive T-score indicates bones are denser and stronger than the average while a negative T-score means bones are less dense and thinner than the average.
  • Normal bone density – bone density is considered in the normal range when the t-score is equal to or greater than -1
  • Osteopenia –defined as a T-score between -1 and -2.5. Osteopenia is characterized by a loss of bone mass that weakens the bones but is not as severe as the disease osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis – defined as a T-score that is less than -2.5 Osteoporosis literally means porous bone. It is a skeletal disease marked by a reduction in bone mass causing bones to become thin, weak and brittle. This damages bone structure increasing fracture risk.
  • FRAX®: The Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX®) calculates the 10-year likelihood of an osteoporotic fracture occurring in the hip, wrist, humerus or spine. The tool takes into account an individual’s age, body mass index, gender and multiple clinical risk factors including, BMD, alcohol and tobacco use, prior fracture, parental hip fracture history and glucocorticoid steroid use.

[1] Sarafrazi N, Wambogo EA, Shepherd JA. Osteoporosis or low bone mass in older adults: United States, 2017–2018. NCHS Data Brief, no 405. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021. DOI:

Prunes Land a Spotlight at the American Society for Nutrition (ASN)

The results of two new prune consumption studies will be presented on July 24, 2023 at NUTRITION 2023 – the American Society for Nutrition’s annual flagship meeting. Researchers will discuss findings related to the impact of prune consumption on cardiometabolic risk factors. Keep an eye out for news coming from our researchers who are presenting their investigations.