New Zealanders are acutely aware of the impact food production processes have on our planet according to new research released today by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust.

Almost 1000 people participated in an online survey last week with 81 per cent of respondents saying they believe eating more fruit and vegetables is better for our environment than other options such as meat or processed foods.

Plant-based diets have become one of the biggest global health trends, as people craving healthier lifestyles prioritise eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

“While it’s great to see we’re aware of the environmental impacts of food production, Kiwis still have a way to go to increase their daily consumption of fresh produce,”  says 5+ A Day Charitable Trust General Manager Paula Dudley.

“Our latest research report shows awareness of the 5+ A Day message is extremely high – 92 per cent of people know they’re supposed to be eating at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

“Yet consumption rates remain at 40 per cent of all Kiwis eating 5+ A Day according to the latest Ministry of Health statistics. So there is still work to be done.”

The latest research found that breakfast may provide the greatest opportunity to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets. When asked which meal or snack they were less likely to include fresh produce, 39 per cent of people admitted breakfast was their weak point.

“Breakfast is clearly an area 5+ A Day can target in conjunction with our partners,” Dudley says. “It’s an ideal time to eat healthy foods and kick-start the day. We will now work to raise awareness and provide creative breakfast serving suggestions and recipes to inspire people to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables at this time of day.”

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 Charitable Trust will focus on in the coming year.

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. Learning to buy and eat what’s in season is a great habit to get into and the best way for Kiwis to get bang for their buck. This research proves people know it’s good for their health – and the health of our planet too.”

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