Ask any Australian aged 14+ if they eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day, and chances are the answer will be no. According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, only 2% of the population does — despite this being the minimum daily fruit-and-veg intake recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Among the rest of us who don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, daily serves vary dramatically depending on factors such as age, gender and socio-economic status.
Serves of fruit and vegetables eaten each day
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), November 2013 – October 2014 (n=14,088). Excludes can’t say.
Eat your greens!
Vegetables are where most Australians fall short: more than 60% of the population eat just two or less serves each day, and only 6% eat five or more serves. Women tend to eat more servings than men, and Australians aged 50+ are generally more likely than their younger counterparts to eat three or more serves each day. But even though people aged 65+ are the most zealous vege-eaters, a mere 8% of them eat the recommended five serves each day.
People from the lowest socio-economic quintile (FG) also tend to eat fewer daily serves of vegetables, being less likely than the average Australian to eat more than a serve and more than twice as likely to eat no vegetables per day.
In contrast to their insufficient vege intake, Australians do much better at eating enough — or more than enough — fruit. Thirty-three percent of women and 28% of men eat their recommended two serves of fruit each day; and 18% of men and 20% of women eat more than that. While older Australians are more likely to meet (or surpass) the recommended daily intake of fruit than younger Aussies, they are consistently outstripped by 14-17 year-olds — 62% of whom eat two or more serves per day.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“The NMHRC’s message that we should all be eating at least five serves of vegetables and two of fruit every day has been widely promoted, but very few of us manage to do so. The amount of vegetables most of us eat, in particular, is well below the recommendation.
“Compared with the ease of eating two pieces of fruit a day, eating five serves of vegetables isn’t always so straightforward. Coming up with and preparing creative, tasty vege-centric meals takes time – all that chopping! It’s a far cry from Australia’s long-standing meat-and-two-veg culinary tradition (although our increasingly multicultural population is changing this).
“Overall, young married parents are among the least likely segments of the population to get their ‘two-and-five’, which is cause for concern, as it suggests that their kids are probably missing out too. Young singles also rate poorly for eating the recommended daily serves of fruit and veg, as of course do people from the FG socioeconomic quintile. Married people without kids tend to be a little likelier to eat their recommended daily servings, as do older single parents.
“But given that less than 2% of Australians do eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day, pretty much all of us have ample room for dietary improvements.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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