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Pro cyclist, nutritionist to promote U.S. pistachios

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

The Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers have enlisted the help of British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish to promote the healthful aspects of their product. Cavendish joins an "ambassador team" of athletes that will tout pistachios.

Capital Press

SACRAMENTO — Another California commodity group has turned to a world-class athlete to help promote the healthful aspects of its product.

The Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers enlisted British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish as an “ambassador” who will tout pistachios as his “official snack.”

Cavendish, who has 25 stage wins in the Tour de France and is regarded as one of cycling’s top sprinters, will be joined in the effort by his nutritionist, Nigel Mitchell, who is also the nutritionist for the British National Cycling Team.

The sports figures will help generate a global demand for pistachios, which are expected to double over the next five to seven years as its sudden profitability has produced a growth in acreage, noted Judy Hirigoyen, the American Pistachio Growers’ director of global marketing.

“It’s a case of an agricultural product that is hugely increasing its volume,” Hirigoyen said. “We have this huge crop that’s anticipated in the future and we’ve got to export it to our export markets.”

The pistachio group signs up Cavendish as the California Dried Plum Board has maintained a three-year relationship with two-time Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin, who tied the all-time record for medals won by a female U.S. athlete.

The plum board has been using Coughlin to promote the healthful quality of dried plums, as she has touted them in ads in women’s magazines and elsewhere. An avid cook, Coughlin also creates and promotes recipes that incorporate dried plums, including Indonesian fried rice and sauteed kale.

Cavendish has been an outspoken proponent of healthy lifestyles and cycling for everyday well-being, and he touts proper nutrition for optimal performance. In a statement, He said in a statement that he loves pistachios and eats them because they’re recommended by his nutritionist, who is a strong advocate for whole foods as fuel for athletic performance.

The two are part of an “ambassador team” for American pistachios that includes big-mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones and the men’s an women’s U.S. Olympic water polo teams, which also claim pistachios as “official” snacks.


American Pistachio Growers: http://americanpistachios.org

California Dried Plum Board: http://www.californiadriedplums.org


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