Educating health professionals on the nutrition and health benefits of avocados (AV20003)
What is it all about?
This investment is delivering evidence-based information about Australian avocados to health and food service professionals in Australia. By improving the awareness, knowledge and attitude of health professionals to the nutrition and health benefits of avocado, they will be encouraged to recommend avocado to their clients, or include avocado in their menus, and ultimately help to drive Australian avocado purchase and consumption.
The project team will undertake a range of activities, including:
- Establishing a digital hub that houses nutritional resources on avocados, including recipes, meal plans and local and international research on health benefits.
- Conducting a systematic literature review on avocados and health outcomes. This research will underpin all other project activities.
- Communicating with health professionals via a range of channels such as roundtable discussions, media releases, social media toolkits, a quarterly e-newsletter and participating in conferences. The project team will also work collaboratively with relevant professional associations and health influencers.
- Holding farm tours to connect health professionals to the source and to showcase growing regions, varieties and the breadth of the avocado industry.
In the last six months (November 2022 to April 2023) the following activities have been conducted to promote the health benefits of avocados:
- A research study was conducted to gather evidence that supports the health and nutritional benefits of avocados and encourages the increase of the recommended serving size from 50g to 75g. The study was conducted by CSIRO and published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- The findings were shared with key health media journalists and professionals through various communication channels, including a digital hub and newsletters.
- A media release was distributed to 120 mainstream and specialist publications, media representatives, nutritionists, and healthcare experts. Many of them responded positively to the communication, and the media will be monitored to detect any key messages from the report in coverage of avocado health and nutrition information.
- A mid-survey benchmark research was conducted to measure the impact of the program to date. The survey showed an increase in health professionals recommending avocados daily and awareness of their nutritional properties.
- Facebook and Instagram were utilised to increase the digital newsletter subscriptions and grow the database of health professionals interested in avocados. This successfully generated 192 new sign-ups.
- They will participate in two upcoming health professional conferences and continue to expand their digital hub with newly created resources added every month. They have also delivered six newsletters and three research alerts.
Several core activities have been delivered over the past six months of the project (May - October 2022) to deliver key information, messaging, and resources to target audiences.
The launch of the Avocado Nutrition and Health Report summarising the global body of evidence for the nutrition and health benefits of avocado and the substantiation of an increased serving size from 50g to 75g. The content of this new report has been delivered via several communication channels including the digital hub, EDM newsletters, conferences, online videos, and farm tours. A media release for health professional media was distributed (22 July 2022) along with a social media toolkit to drive the health and nutrition messages for Australian Avocados.
Participation in two health professional conferences:
- FILEX fitness trainer conference (30-31 July 2022) at a Fitness First centre in Sydney
- Dietitians Australia conference (14-16 August 2022) at the Adelaide Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Australia.
The team established a trade exhibit at both events showcasing the new Australian Avocados health professional nutrition digital hub, the new Avocado Nutrition and Health Report and a raft of newly created patient resources (Gut Health, Heart Health, and the Weight friendly 7-day meal plan).
Both conferences reached over 900 delegates, with more than more than 400 health professionals signing up to the Health Professional email list with 1,500 copies of our new educational resources distributed to delegates and 800 Hass avocados given away.
Another core activity involved connecting health professionals to the project’s key messages via high profile health and wellbeing ‘influencers’. Several influencers were taken on an intimate Avocado farm tour at Costa’s Homestead farm at Tolga in Far North Queensland. The unique event involved a tour of the farm and packing shed, an in-house agronomist and consultant dietitian providing insights on how avocados are grown and where it comes from and packaged and a briefing on the health and nutrition benefits of Australian Avocados. View the latest insights from the farm tour.
The health professional digital hub continues to expand with newly created resources added every month. The most recent content developed for the site includes downloadable resources on Gut Health and Heart Health, a Weight friendly 7-day meal plan and a series of research updates. These resources are promoted via mailouts to our growing subscriber database, which to date has seen four EDMs and two research alerts distributed. The health professional database continues to grow with nearly 2,000 subscribers at last count.
To provide evidence to support the health and nutrition benefits of Australian avocados and the substantiation of an increased serving size from 50g to 75g, we commissioned a systematic literature review summarising the global body of evidence for the nutrition and health benefits of avocado. Conducted by research partner CSIRO, this literature review has been submitted as a manuscript to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When the paper is published, a communication plan will be activated to share the publication with health professionals and amplify the key messages throughout their sphere of influence.
Over the past six months, the Project Team have begun working on a combination of approaches to inform health professionals on the nutrition and health benefits of avocado, encouraging and enabling them to recommend avocado for inclusion in their clients’ diets, and ultimately help drive Australian avocado purchase and consumption.
Evidence suggests that the most effective way to influence the behaviour of health professionals is to provide activities that combine multiple interventions.
The program will combine a range of resources, tools, information materials and research to achieve its goal, including:
- Audience research to identify the most useful information content and format for the target audience(s)
- A healthcare professional digital hub for information materials, research updates, patient guides and other resources
- A systematic literature review summarising the global body of evidence for the nutrition and health benefits of avocado
- An expert roundtable to determine the ideal serving size of avocado, with a view to increasing to 75g/day
- The development of resources including fact sheets, research updates, dietary and recipe information
- Creation of a targeted customer database of motivated healthcare professionals for regular communication via electronic distributed mail
- Collaboration with existing research organisations to capitalise on existing available materials and resources.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund.