While a $15,000 "Veggie Meter" might sound like a joke, it’s anything but and is changing the way the people at the Food Bank of Delaware serve those consuming fruits and vegetables.
Here’s how it works: A person's height and weight are entered into a laptop connected to the device. They they stick their finger in the meter and it determines, in just a few seconds, how many fruits and vegetables the person is eating via an LED light that measures a specific pigment stored in our skin—carotenoids—as the antioxidant found in green, yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables. The score ranges from zero to 800 and the higher the score, the better.
Food Bank of Delaware says they often see people score from 200 to 400, and their hope is that by using the device, and making it “fun,” they can increase produce consumption. The information is stored in a spreadsheet with a person's correlating Produce Prescription Program ID number.
The Produce Prescription Program allows low-income Delawareans to pick up a 25-pound box of fresh fruits and vegetables, making it easier and more affordable for families to eat more fresh food.