Aussie veg intake: “We need to act now”
The Fruit & Vegetable Consortium (FVC), a coalition of Australia’s leading health professionals, researchers and horticulture industry groups, is calling on governments, growers, manufacturers, retailers and anyone else with an interest in building a happier, healthier and wealthier Australia to support a long-term behaviour change by collaborating in national marketing and education programs to inspire Australians to eat more vegetables.
Despite countless individual attempts to encourage Australians to eat more vegetables, just seven percent of Australian adults – and only five per cent of children – are eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables. The average Australian is eating around 13 kilos fewer vegies per year than we were 20 years ago – around half a serve fewer veg per day.
The FVC has released a business case that outlines just how much of a difference it would make to Australia’s future – from our health and wellbeing to jobs and the economy – if people could be encouraged to up their veg intake. Here are just some of the findings:
• If Australians ate 10% more vegetables every day (less than a quarter of a serve), there would be a $100 million reduction in health expenditure per annum.
• Australians eating an extra half serve of vegetables per day would conservatively generate an incremental increase in returns to Aussie growers and supply chain partners of $634 million per annum, which is shared by all parties along the food supply chain.
• Increasing vegetable consumption will lead to improved health and wellbeing outcomes that will drive reductions in psychological and physical health issues, obesity and other illnesses, which will generate as much as $1 billion economic value after 11 years to Australian taxpayers and governments at all levels.
• Every $1 invested in a behaviour change program to increase vegetable consumption results in a $10 return on investment.
The consortium has produced the above video to highlight the benefits of a long-term behaviour change campaign and encourage those with a vested interest in improved health outcomes and increased vegetable consumption to support this “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to positively influence the course of Australia’s future.
“We need to act now,” says FVC Managing Director Justine Coates. “Australia is the fifth most obese country in the world, and health outcomes are not improving. This problem is too big to tackle alone, and there is increased momentum behind our call to arms.”
The job of increasing vegetable consumption is too large for any one business, jurisdiction or industry – the FVC’s business case outlines how a coordinated effort and pooled resources would more effectively deliver the scale of behavioural shift that’s now required to achieve a sustained increase in Australian vegetable consumption.
“We’re hopeful that we can work with industry groups, retailers, farmers, philanthropists and others throughout the supply chain with a goal to fostering support, collaboration and investment that will drive healthier, wealthier communities, and make a lasting impact for generations of Australians,” says FVC Chair and Nutrition Australia CEO Lucinda Hancock.
“Eating plenty of vegetables has never been more critical, so I urge everyone who has an interest in supporting the health of their families, friends and communities to support the cause of the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium and see how you can help make a difference.”
To find out more and to check out the business case in more detail, head to thefvc.org.au