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Vegetable consumption lags

vegetablesAustralians know there’s nothing healthier than a plate full of vegetables, but still aren’t eating enough of them, with new consumer research exposing the gap between consumers’ attitudes towards vegetables and their follow-through at mealtimes.

A report compiled by market research agency, Colmar Brunton, shows that when asked to rate the perceived health of food types, consumers place vegetables well and truly at the front of the pack, ahead of fruit, nuts, pulses/beans and all other food types.

However, vegetable consumption continues to lag, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently revealing that Australians eat fewer than half of their recommended daily serves of vegetables. News reports yesterday also revealed that data from the Tasmanian State Government shows 93 per cent of Tasmanians don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables.

“It’s an encouraging sign that Australians clearly understand the health and nutrition benefits that vegetables can give them, but it’s disappointing to see that this isn’t translating into well balanced, vegetable-rich diets,” said Andrew White, deputy CEO, Ausveg.

“According to the ABS, Australian women eat an average of 2.5 serves of vegetables a day, compared to their recommended 5 or more, while men, whose recommended intake is 5-6 or more serves a day, are eating fewer vegetables than women, averaging only 2.3 serves a day.”

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition for consumers’ wallets. This report shows that while consumers may know what the healthy choice is, they’re often being persuaded to go with other options,” said White.

The research shows that consumers are interested in pre-prepared options of vegetables, particularly among those which are perceived as requiring more preparation to cook, such as green peas, sweet corn, Asian vegetables and beans.

“We know that a big factor is the extra time and preparation that consumers think vegetables require, for many people with time-poor lifestyles, it can seem a lot easier to pick up a ready-to-eat meal, even when many vegetables require little more than a wash and a chop,” said White.

“Offering convenient, ready-to-eat formats for vegetables, or ensuring consumers know about quick and simple ways to prepare produce, may be key factors in helping Australians make better diet choices.”

“Vegetables don’t just offer nutritional benefits – the fresh produce created by Australian growers can add new tastes, textures and colours to meals. We’d love to see consumers take advantage of this by increasing their vegetable intake.”

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