The VegKit programme will encourage Australian children to increase their daily intake of fresh produce by more than half a serving per day.
Through A$4m in research and development funding, the five-year programme will deliver a free toolkit for educators, health professionals and research agencies. The kit will include information on dietary guidelines and evidence-based knowledge of flavour exposure and food preference.
Hort Innovation general manager for research, marketing and investment, David Moore, said the ultimate aim is to increase childrens’ vegetable intake by half a serving per day.
“In that view, there is potential to increase demand for fresh produce by 19,000 tonnes per year if every child aged 2-6 years increases consumption by greater than half a serving - demonstrating a great return on research investment.”
CSIRO project lead, David Cox, said that vegetables were important for long-term good eating habits and overall health, but surveys suggest 95 per cent of Australian children weren’t eating enough.
“Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as putting more vegetables on the plate,” he said.
“This project is about getting children to enjoy vegetables, using knowledge about the development of taste preferences, and then using this information to find practical ways of addressing the problem.”
The project will be delivered through a collaboration between CSIRO, Flinders University and Nutrition Australia, and financially supported by Hort Innovation.