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Ongoing project

Educating health professionals on Australian melons (VM20003)

Key research provider: Nutrition Research Australia

What’s it all about?

This investment is delivering evidence-based information about the health benefits of Australian melons to health professionals in Australia.

Melons are unique amongst all fruit because they represent the full spectrum of colour across their varieties which provides the full range of colour-associated nutrients required to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Categorisation of fruits by colour is a powerful and engaging way to translating nutrition science to individuals across all life stages, and as melons are iconically served sliced as an arch, this project will position Australian melons to health professionals as the ‘double rainbow fruit’.

The project team will utilise gap analysis, nutritional testing, market research and a literature review, to create an engaging educational campaign centred around the rainbow concept. The program will include shareable educational resources, webinars, and expert videos which cite peer-reviewed literature for credibility. The Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN) hub for nutrition professionals will also be updated with all resources and information created during this project.

Over the last six months, the project team has been focused on the development of collateral and kicking off the communication and educational phase of the project. 

Following on from the completion of the Melons and Health Technical Report early in the reporting period, other key outputs of this period include two brochures (Healthcare Professional (HCP) and client friendly), an educational webinar and consumer and HCP relevant messaging for the updated Melons Australia website. 

These deliverables have sought to bring to life the key over-arching and unique proposition messaging for melons; Melons – Goodness in every colour.  Using melons as the hero fruit, the communication has strategically and skilfully brought focus and awareness to the value of bioactives and colour variety in the diet, both key trending topics for HCPs. While the communication educates on individual melon nutritional benefits, this strategy aims to provide the different melon varieties as 'a family', a unique and engaging proposition story. 

The brochures were developed, communicated via EDM and housed on NRAUS Melon hub.  The webinar was a highly successful with 100 per cent of attendees rating it as ‘excellent or very good’ and reporting they would recommend melons to clients to increase colour variety in the diet.  The website copy and direction were well received by Melons Australia.

The current reporting period has centred on developing and finalising two key parts of the project. Firstly, the scientific information required for the development of evidence-based key communication messages. Secondly, the over-arching communication strategy, outlining how the science can be translated, to gain engagement and impact for melons with healthcare professionals (HCPs).  

The strategic planning and scientific development phase of the project has been completed and has placed the project on track to enter its next stage, the development of communication and educational strategies and material.

During this reporting period, two key outputs were achieved, that had hindered the development of a science base. This included a ‘Gaps Analysis’ that provided an updated composition knowledge on the nutritional and colour-associated bioactive composition of melons, and an ‘Umbrella Systematic Review’ that outlined the health outcomes associated with individual bioactive colour pigments found in fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, an update to the original ‘NUTRITIONiQ database’ literature search for melons, which summarised the published research on specific health effects, was also conducted.

The ‘Umbrella Systematic Review’ and ‘Melons NUTRITIONiQ database’ are in the final phases of completion.  The technical report aims to establish evidence-based messages that highlight the unique nutrition and health benefits of melons. It will be a key tool for the creation of communication material and educational activities.

The audience sentiment research findings and other data points were utilised by Nutrition Research Australia to inform the assessment of the current healthcare landscape and develop the communications opportunity for melons. The over-arching communication strategy for messaging, including the development of the logo device ‘Melons – goodness in every colour,’ were presented to key stakeholders and received overwhelming positive feedback.

To measure the effectiveness of this project over time and to gain valuable market insights, a research survey was designed for healthcare professionals. The survey captures:

  • Knowledge levels of the nutritional properties and health benefits of melons
  • Perception and opinions of melons in the diet
  • Behaviour and frequency around recommending melons to improve fruit variety.

The survey was promoted to healthcare professionals through a four-week targeted social media campaign and sharing via the NRAUS networks. A total of 339 eligible healthcare professionals completed the survey (47 per cent dietitians/nutritionists, 35 per cent GPs/doctors/nurses and 18 per cent other healthcare professionals) exceeding the target of 200 respondents. 258 signed up to the Australian Melons Healthcare Professionals Database.

Some findings of the research were:

  • 61 per cent of respondents were familiar with some nutritional properties of melons but couldn’t specify them, while 1 in 4 respondents were familiar and could specify them.
  • 37 per cent of respondents ‘sometimes’ recommend their clients/patients improve their fruit variety, while 32 per cent recommend improving fruit variety ‘often’.
  • The most popular forms of educational materials desired by HCPs were technical-scientific brochures (55 per cent), followed by short videos (48 per cent), webinars (47 per cent) and simple, infographic brochures (43 per cent).

Results highlighted a number of strategies and learnings that NRAUS have and will continue to implement into upcoming activities.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Melon Fund