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 increase Aussie veg intake.
Despite countless individual attempts to encourage Australians to eat more vegies, just seven percent of Aussie adults are eating the recommended daily intake. Further, only five per cent of kids are getting their daily veg. The average Australian is eating around 13 kilos fewer vegies per year than we were 20 years ago. That’s half a serve fewer veg per day.
Small change, big effect
The FVC has released a business case that outlines how much of a difference it would make to Australia’s future if people could be encouraged to up their veg intake. Here are just some of the findings on how it could benefit our nation’s health, as well as our economy:
1. 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.
2. Australians eating at least 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. This would be shared by all parties along the food supply chain.
3. Increasing veg intake would lead to improved health outcomes that could drive reductions in conditions such as mental health issues and obesity. This would generate as much as $1 billion economic value after 11 years to Aussie taxpayers and governments.
4. Every $1 invested in a behaviour change program to increase vegetable consumption would also result in a $10 return on investment.
Let’s work together
The consortium has produced the above video to highlight the benefits of a long-term behaviour change campaign. It encourages those with a vested interest in improved health outcomes and increased vegetable consumption to support this “once-in-a-generation” opportunity. It’s one that could 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 in truth, health outcomes are not improving. Consequently, this problem is simply too big to tackle alone.”
The job of increasing the Aussie veg intake 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 so needed to achieve a sustained increase in Australian veg consumption.
A lasting impact
“We’re hopeful we can work with industry, retailers, farmers, philanthropists and others throughout the supply chain with a goal to fostering support, collaboration and investment that will drive healthier, wealthier communities,” says FVC Chair and Nutrition Australia CEO Lucinda Hancock. “It would make a lasting impact for generations of Australians.
“Eating plenty of vegetables has never been more critical. I urge everyone with an interest in supporting the health of their families, friends and communities to support our cause. Because you can help to make a difference.”
To find out more and to check out the business case in more detail, head to thefvc.org.au