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Growers International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021

International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021

Fruits and vegetables, your dietary essentials

What is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables?

The primary role of the food and agriculture sector is to adequately feed people by increasing the availability, affordability and consumption of varied, safe and nutritious foods that are aligned with dietary requirements and environmental sustainability.

The United Nations declared International Year of Fruits and Vegetables in 2021 is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health.

The purpose of the year is to:

  • raise awareness of the health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption
  • advocate for healthy diets through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • promote international efforts to boost fruit and vegetable production and value chains in a sustainable and safe way
  • bring in a focus on the need to reduce losses and waste in fruit and vegetable supply chains from production to consumption
  • invite relevant stakeholders to strengthen the capacities of developing countries to adopt innovative approaches and technologies in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.

Everyone has a role to play ­ from governments and private sector companies to the general public and even youth. We can all work together to make a difference and ensure that fruits and vegetables become part of everyone’s diet in an effort to promote healthy habits and eradicate hunger and malnutrition from the planet.

How does Hort Innovation’s work contribute to this initiative?

As the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture, each year we invest millions of dollars into critical R&D, extension, marketing and international trade initiatives. We’re extremely proud of the work we do to drive productivity, profitability and demand for Aussie growers, and for the sector at large.

We exist to drive a prosperous and healthy Australia, by providing the best knowledge and solutions to create a world-class horticulture sector. This involves connecting growers and consumers to drive demand and investing in solutions to increase the sustainability and prosperity of Australia’s horticulture industries.

In 2019/20 Hort Innovation invested in over 500 R&D projects, as well as 24 industry-specific marketing programs. You can visit your industry’s grower page at any time to access information on new, ongoing and completed projects, and to download resources produced by levy investments such as fact sheets and guides.

Below we take a look at some of the big-ticket initiatives Hort Innovation is involved in that contribute to creating a profitable and sustainable horticulture sector in Australia.

To motivate more Australians to eat more fruit, vegetables and nuts, The Good Mood Food campaign was launched by Hort Innovation in 2019/20.

A major behaviour-change campaign, The Good Mood Food was developed to support the horticulture sector through the impacts of recent challenges including bushfires, drought, floods and COVID-19 – the effects of which are being felt in consumer spending and purchasing behaviour. Its message is simple, but impactful: when you eat better, you feel better, and Aussie horticulture produce is the way to go. This was particularly relevant during COVID-19’s lockdown lows.

Overall, the campaign has been successful in reaching Aussies with The Good Mood Food message:

  • 98 per cent of Australians are expected to be reached by the campaign during its run
  • 7 million Australians had seen the campaign as of early September 2020
  • 56 per cent of consumers surveyed in July 2020 said The Good Mood Food campaign had positively influenced their shopping habits.

Hort Innovation is currently looking at ways to turn The Good Mood Food into an enduring campaign for Australian horticulture.

To learn more about The Good Mood Food, you can visit www.horticulture.com.au/the-good-mood-food

There is also a consumer-facing The Good Mood Food website, www.thegoodmoodfood.com.au, which is a central spot for campaign messages and materials, with links to recipes and inspiration from a host of different horticultural industries. It also features health and nutrition content backed by Hort Innovation R&D.

Hort Innovation is working with growing businesses, consumers and others to develop a guide to help the horticulture sector share its sustainable, ethical and safe farming practice stories with stakeholders.

Increasingly, consumers and company investors are asking for evidence that sustainable and ethical practices are used by the producers of the food they consume and products they buy or the companies they support.

A sustainability framework is being prepared for Australian-grown horticulture, a sector of some 12,000 businesses employing 70,000 people to grow $13.2 billion of fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, turf and nursery plants annually.

You can learn more about this initiative at www.horticulture.com.au/sustainability.

Learn about the nutrition and health benefits of Australian-grown vegetables at www.veggycation.com.au. Funded by Hort Innovation, Veggycation aims to increase awareness about the goodness of vegetables: nutritional information, optimum cooking methods, preparation and storage.

All information on the site is based on pre-approved nutrition and health claims from Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (FSANZ) Standard 1.2.7 and nutritional information from the NUTTAB database.

Hort Innovation is a supporter and member of the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative that supports cross-sectoral research development and extension to minimise the damaging consequences caused by biosecurity threats to Australian plant industries. This includes endemic and exotic pests, diseases and weeds that affect Australia’s plant industries, community and the environment. 

You can learn more about the initiative at www.pbri.com.au.

Did you know? Fast facts about fruit and vegetables

Below are some interesting figures and stats about the fruit and vegetable sector from the United Nations that highlight the importance of fruit and vegetables, as well as growing them in a sustainable manner.

  • Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, (e.g. folate, vitamin A and C, potassium) and beneficial phytochemicals.
  • As part of a healthy diet, fruits and vegetables can help lower risk factors for non-communicable diseases, such as overweight/obesity, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • A minimum amount of 400g per day or five portions of fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health.
  • Significant quantities of fruits and vegetables that are perfectly fit for consumption are wasted along the food system because of aesthetic or physical irregularities.
  • Digital innovations make it possible to track and trace fresh produce from production to consumption. This broadens market opportunities, reduces losses and waste and makes the value chain more transparent.
  • The large diversity of fruits and vegetables offers options that are adapted to different production systems and markets.
  • Production of high-value fruits and vegetables can be profitable, compared to other crops, from small amounts of land, water and nutrients.
  • COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of short and inclusive value chains – including for fruits and vegetables – as a way to provide better market opportunities for family farmers in urban and peri-urban areas.

Interested in facts and figures about Australian horticulture?

Each year Hort Innovation produces the Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook, which offers the most comprehensive and contemporary data available on all sectors of the Australian horticulture industry in one easy-to-use guide.

The Handbook features more than 470 pages of information drawn from several supply chain sources, including international trade statistics and industry peak bodies, the Handbook includes data on more than 70 horticultural products including fruit, nuts, vegetables, nursery, turf, and cut flowers.

Access the guide and learn more about the Australian horticulture sector here.