Fresh Produce Watch - building consumer confidence in Australian horticultural produce (HG04030)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Fresh Produce Watch (FPW) was a unique and original program within the Australian horticulture landscape, with strong brand recognition as a direct consequence of this project. FPW was first established in 1991 as a project of the Australian United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association Ltd (AUF) to promote the clean and healthy image of fresh fruit and vegetables. Besides this proactive role, FPW took an active stance to defuse and reduce the negative effects of adverse media reports. This project was supported ‘whole of chain’ by industry sponsors with matching funding from the Australian Government through Hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Australian Limited).
The overall aim of FPW was to enhance consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of Australian fresh produce. FPW seeked to:
- Reassure consumers about the safety and quality of fresh produce.
- Foster the adoption of appropriate risk management strategies and best practice management systems by Australia’s fruit and vegetable industries, especially in the areas of pesticide use and microbiological food safety.
- Inform consumers of the positive actions taken by the Australian fresh produce industry to achieve responsible chemical use, improved food safety, the implementation of ecologically sustainable farming practices and the application of biotechnology in horticulture.
Key outcomes from this project included:
- A stronger presence for Fresh Produce Watch among national television media, with opportunities to inform and reassure Australian consumers about the safety and wholesomeness of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Better involvement of industry in dealing with key government stakeholders to manage foodborne illness incidents linked to fresh produce, especially risk communications.
- Higher profile for Fresh Produce Watch among industry, the media and government nationally and recognition of FPW as an ‘independent’ authoritative voice for the horticulture industry on food safety and risk communications.
It was highly recommended that recent success attained by Fresh Produce Watch prior to this report being published in the national media be further built upon. Furthermore, the critical role played by FPW in food safety issues and crisis management needed to be continued. This would require ongoing industry support and financial investment in FPW. Returns on this investment were clearly demonstrable - enhanced consumer confidence in the safety of fresh produce and continued purchasing and increased consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited).
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