Skip to main content
Completed project

Understanding consumer triggers and barriers to consumption of Australian indigenous vegetables and Asian vegetables (VG15071)

Key research provider: Colmar Brunton
Publication date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What was it all about? 

This project was tasked with identifying commercially viable Australian indigenous vegetables and Asian vegetables; assessing their consumer appeal through a range of consumer interactions, including sensory testing; and providing recommendations for industry to ensure the greatest likelihood of success in the market.

The research team advised that, from their assessment, “there is great opportunity and much potential around commercialising and expanding the distribution of both indigenous and Asian vegetables in the Australian market”, with “a large proportion of customers attracted to the ideas of purchasing these unique vegetables”.

The project evaluated a number of vegetables, including these indigenous ones:

  • Native thyme
  • Acacia seeds
  • Lemon myrtle
  • Pepperberry
  • Saltbush
  • Bush tomatoes
  • Finger limes
  • Australian spinach (Warrigal greens)
  • Samphire

And these Asian vegetables:

  • Amaranth (red spinach)
  • Bitter melon
  • Choy sum
  • Daikon
  • Gai lan
  • Hairy melon
  • Lotus root
  • Okra
  • Wombok

Profiles were produced on each vegetable, including ideas on how to approach their commercialisation. These are collated in the booklets Realising the potential of native vegetables and Realising the potential of Australian-grown Asian vegetables.

Some top-level findings of the project were:

  • Naming of the vegetables for the consumer market will aid trial and purchase, with the project suggesting names that describe the sensory experience of the new produce (such as ‘sweet mild radish’) or that clarify the vegetable’s origin (such as ‘Australian-grown gai lan’).
  • There is limited consumer knowledge around many of the vegetables, so information around taste, texture, cooking styles and recipes will be essential. Comparing the vegetables to similar-tasting ones could be a good way to lift consumer confidence (for example, this native Australian spinach is much like ‘regular’ spinach).
  • Health and nutritional benefits will provide a strong reason for purchase.
  • Tapping into the food service and manufacturing industry, leading with health and provenance messaging, will help grow availability and consumer demand.


Download Realising the potential of native vegetables and Realising the potential of Australian-grown Asian vegetables.

Related levy funds

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund