The broccoli variety is the first in a range called ‘Vital Vegetables’, and contains 40 per cent more antioxidants than normal varieties, reported the ABC.
Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI) cooperated with New Zealand body Plant & Food Research on development of the varieties, which were bred using traditional techniques over 10 years at a cost of about A$20m.
The high levels of antioxidants in the new varieties is aimed at helping lower the risk of cancer in consumers, said the DPI’s research team leader Dr Rod Jones.
“We know one in three people could greatly reduce their risk of cancer through simple changes to their lifestyle, like eating a greater variety of healthy foods rich in antioxidants, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight,” he told the Herald Sun.
“Our research suggests the higher level of antioxidants found in Booster Broccoli may increase health and wellbeing and reduce the incidences of serious illnesses.”
Dr Jones said the product was a premium-branded item, so the returns to growers should be higher than with standard vegetables.
Another 15 products are in development, including lettuce, capsicum and tomatoes.
“Once those lines come through, plus all the other ones we’re looking at – cauliflower, onion, carrot – I don’t think it will take too long for the investment to be recouped,” said Dr Jones.
Booster Broccoli can already be bought in supermarkets around Australia.