New research shows breakfast could provide the greatest opportunity for our fresh produce industry to convince more Kiwis to consume fruit and vegetables.
Almost 1000 New Zealanders took part in an online survey conducted last week for the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust. It found 39 per cent of Kiwis are less likely to eat fresh produce at breakfast. Responses for other meal and snack times ranged from 17 to 25 per cent.
"Breakfast is clearly an area we can target in conjunction with our partners," says 5+ A Day Charitable Trust General Manager Paula Dudley. "Our latest research report shows awareness of the 5+ A Day message is at an all-time high – 92 per cent of people know they're supposed to be eating five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day."
"The ongoing challenge for our industry is to increase consumption. Breakfast is an ideal time to eat healthy foods and kick-start the day. We will now work to raise awareness of what people's options are first thing in the morning by providing more recipe ideas and inspiring consumers through our communication and promotion activities."
Price is still perceived to be the biggest barrier to consuming fresh fruit and vegetables followed by quality/freshness, availability, variety and awareness of the health benefits.
"We know that buying fruit and vegetables in season is both cost-effective and nutritious, so 5+ A Day will continue to focus on dispelling the myth that fresh produce is expensive. Encouraging people to eat what's in season will change their perceptions over time and we remain committed to educating and informing the public on this point."
Other responses to the question 'what would encourage you to eat more' included:
"This is all valuable feedback that we feel is important to pass onto the wider industry," Dudley says. "Keeping in touch with the mindset of consumers is crucial. We should never assume people are aware of the health benefits or know how to cook or consume fruit and vegetables at different times of day. Ongoing education and promotion is essential."
The nationwide survey was conducted by market research company Consumer Link and the results will be used to identify what areas the 5+ A Day Trust needs to focus on in the coming year.
"Another interesting finding is that 53 per cent of consumers do look for health information on packaging or labels such as the vitamin or mineral content. So investment in this area is definitely worth it," Dudley says.
The vast majority of survey respondents buy their fresh fruit and vegetables at the supermarket (88 per cent), while people also purchased at fruit and vegetable shops (48 per cent), farmers' markets (19 per cent), flea markets (4 per cent), direct from farmers (2 per cent) and via the internet (1 per cent).
Consumption rates remain at 40 per cent of all Kiwis eating 5+ A Day according to the latest Ministry of Health statistics, showing there is still work to be done to get all Kiwis eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.