Coronavirus: Demand expected to rise for fresh produce

Industry groups say New Zealand growers produce more than enough fresh fruit and vegetables to feed the nation.
Industry groups say New Zealand growers produce more than enough fresh fruit and vegetables to feed the nation. Photo credit: Getty

Consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is expected to rise due to the coronavirus outbreak but there is more than enough to go around, says an industry group.

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust said recent research had suggested that lack of time was a factor in Kiwis failing to consume their recommended daily intake. 

Project Manager Carmel Ireland said it indicated that those with more time on their hands do consume more fresh produce.  

"Given many of us are in social isolation, and we are all very aware of building and maintaining immunity, we expect Kiwis to be eating more fresh produce," said Ireland.

She said while it was understandable that people were focussed on buying essentials and dried goods as the threat of COVID-19 drew closer, fresh produce was important.

"Our New Zealand growers produce more than enough fresh fruit and vegetables to feed our nation. 

"Now more than ever Kiwis should be enjoying a wide range of colourful fresh produce. Look for items that are particularly high in vitamin C such as kiwifruit, citrus and feijoas - all of which are coming into season right now."

Recent Ministry of Health data shows only 53 per cent of New Zealanders were consuming the recommended daily intake of vegetables and 51.5 percent were eating enough fruit.

Meanwhile, the demand for New Zealand produce was also expected in key export markets.

ASB senior rural economist, Nathan Penny said New Zealand's food export sector was predicted to prove relatively resilient to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Indeed, we anticipate that global food demand is likely to remain firm (outside of premium foods) as food consumption is prioritised in household budgets," said Penny. 

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