Wednesday, 24 March 2021 15:55

Fruit and vegetables celebrated

Written by  Peter Burke
President of United Fresh, Jerry Prendergast and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor at the launch of the United Nations International Year of Fruit and Vegetables at Parliament. President of United Fresh, Jerry Prendergast and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor at the launch of the United Nations International Year of Fruit and Vegetables at Parliament.

The world's population seems to have lost some of the value in consuming fresh fruit and vegetables, according tor the President of United Fresh, Jerry Prendergast.

His comments came at a function, held recently at Parliament, to launch the United Nations International Year of Fruit and Vegetables - conceived to raise awareness of the contribution fruit and vegetables make to society, especially in terms of nutrition, dietary diversity and health. It also aimed to showcase the economic contribution that they make to countries and their role in environment and sustainability.

United Fresh works with HortNZ and Plant and Food to promote the intrinsic values of fruit and vegetables to consumers in NZ.

Prendergast says the key objective in NZ during the year is to really raise the profile of fresh fruit and vegetables.

"We want to put them on a pedestal... with a particular focus on the consumer," he says.

"The risk is that other products have got salts, fats and sugars in them, which are addictive and are very attractive in terms of the palette. If we don't continue to highlight the nutritional value of the fresh fruit and vegetables, we have the potential to go backwards."

Prendergast says NZ is in a unique position where a product is growing in the field one morning and the next morning, sitting on the shelf in a local supermarket. He says the sector has to ensure that consumers understand the value of eating within a season - code for fresh - and they understand the nutritional value of doing this.

"We are using the international year of fruits and vegetables to highlight to consumers this value proposition," he says.

During the year, United Fresh will be working with HortNZ and Plant and Food Research to promote the work all the organisations are doing. Prendergast says a key item of note is the excellent work done by Plant and Food Research scientists to develop new cultivars of fruit and vegetables that appeal to consumers.

One of the challenges facing all primary sectors, and horticulture is no exception, is consumer demand for more ready meals or convenience products. However, Prendergast believes that the hort sector is up to meeting that challenge.

"It's about understanding how to use them, in a way that is quick and easy. These options are already availble in NZ because if you look at the salad lines in the supermarket now, they are absolutely outstanding. There is a whole range of products which simply require the addition of some avocado, tomato and capsicum and there is a very easily prepared very nutritious meal," he says.

More like this

COVID-19: Wash fruit and vege in water only

Misinformation is circulating in some media and on social media regarding the role of food in the potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus, says United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast.

Changing diets will drive demand

The average Kiwi pantry and dinner table will evolve in the new decade with a focus on fresh, fast, fit and fair, says United Fresh.


Girls can do anything!

Industry collective Women in Horticulture (WiH) – along with the Massey Hort Society hosted – recently held a livestream event…

Growers want the tools

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the promotion of fruit and vegetables is about healthy food and food security.

Machinery & Products

Italian stallions hit the spot

Having got throught the ravages of PSA, kiwifruit production has bounced back delivering record harvests and record prices for orchards.

Blowing life into apple harvest

Probably better known in the viticulture sector, Tractor Repairs and Spares (TRS) is now expanding into the horticulture area -…

Mulcher has powerful bite

With the gradual rise in horsepower of tractors being used in orchards, Power Farming NZ has introduced a duo of…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Blue murder

OPINION: Your old mate recently read an off-the-wall suggestion, by some boffin, that deliberately staining meat blue will lead to…

Foot in mouth - again!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor too often suffers from 'foot in mouth' disease.

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter