Why is vegetable consumption falling, even though everyone knows 5-a-day is key to healthy eating? What will it take to get enough daily servings into people to start receiving a health benefit?
The 2006 BC Food Self Reliance report (see copy in Consumer Reading Room section of this web site) notes that people in BC were eating 2.9 vegetable servings and 1.9 fruit for a combined 4.8 daily servings of this vital food group.
At that time, 3.75 vegetable and 3.75 fruit daily servings for all adult Canadians was recommended for a combined total of 7.5. The latest word from the experts is eat between 7 – 1o combined servings daily. I was shocked to read a study saying consumption had fallen to 4.3 combined daily servings of vegetables and fruits.
Who cares what people eat?! A 2017 study by the Vanier Institute of the Family quoted a report that calculated the cost to the Canadian economy of not eating enough vegetables and fruits. It was $ 4.39 BILLION a year. That is a lot of economic activity to lose.
Global public health research shows a real health benefit starts at 5-a-day combined vegetable and fruit servings. Few in BC were getting this benefit in 2006 and across the country things have just gotten worse. Is there a link between soaring provincial health care spending and the collapse in the amount and type of vegetables that people eat each day?
Could there be a connection between how food tastes and how much of it people will eat? Does availability have an impact? What if the supply of good tasting vegetables grown using carbon-capture practice increased? Would people eat more of it if more was available?
These are the billion dollar questions the Kamloops to Calgary region of farmers and consumers need to answer.