Queenslanders not eating enough vegetables as cost-of-living crisis bites

The skyrocketing cost of produce is the top reason Queenslanders are not eating enough vegetables for good health, a new survey reveals.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland is sounding the alarm over the new Fruit & Vegetable Consortium research, which highlights how the rising cost of living has hit eating habits.

In the national survey of 1020 grocery shoppers, a whopping 85 per cent of regional Queenslanders linked vegetables becoming more expensive to not eating enough greens.

City dwellers are also feeling the pinch in the produce section. Seven in 10 shoppers (72 per cent) surveyed in the state’s capital agreed produce price hikes influenced how many vegetables they ate.

Most Queenslanders are falling well short of the recommended five serves of vegetables a day.

Other survey results include:

  • The most common number of daily serves of vegetables eaten is two.
  • Twenty-six per cent of people in Brisbane and 28 per cent in the regions eat just one serve of veggies or less a day.
  • Just three per cent of Brisbane shoppers eat five serves, versus nine per cent in regional areas.
  • Four in five Brisbane residents agreed more affordable vegetables would motivate them to eat more produce. This rose to 87 per cent in regional Queensland.

Health and Wellbeing Queensland principal nutritionist, Mathew Dick, says too many Queenslanders are missing out on the many health benefits of vegetables.

“With cost-of-living pressures putting the squeeze on household budgets across every town and city, it’s alarming that Queenslanders are scrimping on this vital food group,” Mr Dick said.

“Vegetables are nutritional superstars packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals that can also help us manage obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Eating just one extra serve a day brings health benefits, so we definitely don’t want to see people ditching veggies from their diets.

“That’s why we’re urging Queensland shoppers to give our wallet-friendly tips a go, look for ways to minimise waste in the kitchen and bump up their vegetable intake for better health and wellbeing.”

It comes after Australian Bureau of Statistics data for the March quarter showed the cost of fruits and vegetables was up 6.7 per cent on the previous year.

The results are part of a survey of 1020 Australian grocery shoppers in May by the Fruit & Vegetable Consortium – an alliance including Health and Wellbeing Queensland that is focused on boosting vegetable consumption.

The consortium highlights the huge benefits the nation would reap if every Australian ate an extra serve of vegetables a day, including cutting government health spending by an estimated $200 million per year.

Top tips to save on groceries

  • Scan catalogues and make a list before going to the supermarket to limit impulse purchases.
  • Plan a week’s menu upfront and only shop once a week.
  • Shop the specials and buy bigger amounts when items are discounted.
  • Chop up older veggies from the fridge and add them to stews, soups or pasta dishes.
  • Instead of tossing stems, stalks and leaves, cut them finely to add to stir-fries, soups or salads.
  • Consider frozen or canned varieties of veggies – these are a good alternative if fresh produce is too expensive. Look for low-salt options and use herbs and spices to boost flavours.
  • Bulk up meals with cheap and filling legumes such as chickpeas, cannellini beans and lentils.
  • If you are not using a full tin of something, transfer the remainder to a container and use within 24 hours or freeze immediately to use another time.