A fresh report has shown that Australian adults are continuing to under-consume vegetables, but has found potential avenues for the industry to help consumers develop healthier diet habits, including a focus on increasing the overall variety of vegetables eaten by Australians.
The Fruit, Vegetable and Diet Score report, produced by the CSIRO and commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, compiled the self-reported dietary habits of adults across Australia over an 18-month period.
“Australians who report eating a greater variety of vegetables also report eating more vegetables overall, suggesting that increasing consumers’ familiarity with a range of vegetables may be a good way of indirectly increasing overall consumption,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe.
“If the industry can broaden consumers’ horizons and help them understand how to prepare and consume a greater range of veggies, this could have flow-on effects as they then begin to include vegetables more in their everyday diets.
“This report suggests that by combining these activities with a targeted effort to increase vegetable consumption at dinner time, the industry could help Australians bring more vegetables into their diet and capitalise on the benefits of eating healthier.”
The report highlights dinner as a key driver of Australians’ vegetable consumption, finding that adults who always have at least three types of vegetables with their evening or main meal are most likely to meet their recommended daily servings of vegetables.
Previous research funded by the Australian vegetable industry has also found that increasing potential snacking occasions for vegetables could make a significant difference to Australians’ overall vegetable consumption.
“There are a range of factors which affect Australians’ consumption of fresh produce, including fundamental points like having easy access to vegetables when and where they usually eat,” said Mr Lindhe.
“Australian growers are constantly innovating with new products and packaging formats that make it quicker and easier for Australians to add veggies into their everyday diets – both at mealtimes and as snacks.
“As the industry continues to adapt to new trends in consumer behaviour, we’re hopeful that more and more Australians will start taking advantage of the incredible range of fresh, delicious vegetables being grown right around the country.”
This report was commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia using levy funds and funding from the Australian government.