This Friday the 15th of October, Aotearoa New Zealand will be the first country to celebrate World Fruit and Vegetable Day and it’s also a chance to acknowledge our rating amongst the nations with the highest fresh produce consumption.
Research activities conducted by The Global Alliance to Promote Fruit and Vegetable Consumption 5 A Day (AIAM5), with participation from 24 partner countries has revealed New Zealand has one of the highest percentages of the population consuming at least five servings of fruit or vegetables per day.
At 40 percent*, New Zealanders sit just above Costa Rica at 35.9 percent on the consumption tables, while Italy and Chile were the only nations surveyed who fully achieved the target of at least 400 grams of fresh produce per day. Lowest consumption levels were recorded in Argentina (160 grams) and Brazil (134 grams) who will be utilising the promotion opportunities presented by World Fruit and Vegetable Day to lift consumption.
5+ A Day Charitable Trust Project Manager, Carmel Ireland, says access to fresh fruit and vegetables is critical to the health and well-being of all New Zealanders.
“In times of a global pandemic such as this, it has never been more important for us to eat healthy, well-balanced diets, high in the vitamins and minerals which fresh produce provide,” says Ireland.
“This year’s World Fruit and Vegetable Day is a great time to acknowledge this. We’re pleased to have one of the highest rates of consumption in the world, however there’s still room for improvement given our excellent growing conditions that enable us to consistently supply high quality fresh produce to communities around the country.”
The research also reviewed contributing nations’ public policies, communications campaigns to encourage consumers to include fruit and vegetables in their daily diet and government support for such programmes.
“New Zealand is one of only a handful of nations that have government support to achieve our 5+ A Day goals,” says Ireland.
“Programmes such as Fruit and Vegetables in Schools which receives Ministry of Health funding are rare amongst our international colleagues and are critical to achieving generational change which enables our most vulnerable communities to access the vital nutrients provided by fresh produce,” she says.
The information collected in research by AIAM5 also included food waste policies amongst member nations. Eight of the 24 surveyed had no formal policy whatsoever to reduce food waste, while many, including New Zealand, had minimal guidelines.
“As we continue to encourage New Zealanders to eat their 5+ A Day, we would also like them to make smart choices when they shop. Buy only what you need, store your fresh produce carefully and use as much of the plant as you can. Small choices can make a big difference,” says Ireland.
* The 5+ A Day Awareness and Consumption Survey was administered by independent research company NielsenIQ and involved interviews with 700 New Zealanders between June 16 and June 23, 2021.
All the information about this edition of World Fruit and Vegetables Day 2021 can be found here: http://aiam5.com/wfvd/2020_9th-edition/.