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Millions Invested to Encourage Vegetable Consumption

Millions Invested to Encourage Vegetable Consumption



Millions Invested to Encourage Vegetable Consumption

Article by: Hari Yellina

A pro-vegetables organisation is urging both political parties to invest $100 million in increasing vegetable consumption. The bold request was made by Nutrition Australia and Ausveg, co-leads of the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium (FVC), in order to not only increase vegetable throughput but also aid Australia’s recovery from COVID-19. To bolster its visibility, the FVC has the cooperation of more than 250 supporting organisations. Ausveg and Nutrition Australia have both submitted documents to the Commonwealth Treasury requesting the funding.

According to Lucinda Hancock, chief executive officer of Nutrition Australia Victoria and FVC co-chair, cross-industry collaboration between the health and agriculture segments will enhance not only clinical outcomes but also help build resilient regional communities and provide economic benefits that far outweigh the cost of collaboration. “If every Australian ate an extra cup of veggies every day, we’d save more than $200 million a year on our soaring health-care costs,” Ms Hancock said.

According to Ausveg CEO and FVC co-chair Michael Coote, increased vegetable intake will create up to $1 billion in economic benefit for Australian taxpayers and governments after 11 years. “Increased vegetable consumption will aid in the reduction of chronic diseases such as some cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease, as well as the slowing of the worrying rise in obesity.” We can turn around poor vegetable consumption with proper amounts of investment and cross-industry commitment to collaborate. “However, we must act quickly.” Australians eat 13 kg less veggies per capita per year than they did in 2001.”

A nationwide behaviour change programme, according to the FVC, would have a number of side effects, including:

  • an additional veggie serving each day;
  • a reduction in health spending of more than $200 million per year (across state and federal governments);
  • significant reduction in the incidence of chronic diseases such as certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease, as well as a contribution to arresting the rise in obesity

The current requests for government assistance are backed up by a business case and evidence foundation produced over the last three years by FVC members. In the run-up to the federal election in 2022, the group intends to continue engaging with prominent policymakers from various agencies and political parties.