Health Stimulate and inform

Covid-19 wake up call to better eating

Now is the time to eat healthy, eat local and eat what’s in season.

Covid-19 could be the wake-up call over the health benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Mike Chapman, chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, says that while New Zealand grows enough food to feed 40 million, yes, 40 million, people we unfortunately have some of the worst eating habits in the world.

“Well, Covid-19 is our wake-up call to change those poor habits.

“Ministry of Health data shows that only just over 50 per cent of us are eating the recommended three or more servings of vegetables and two pieces of fruit a day.

“Research has shown that starting to eat your 5+ A Day fruit and vegetables at breakfast time is the best way to ensure that you will eat sufficient numbers each day.

“This, in turn, promotes good health. A recent survey reported that 82 per cent of us eat breakfast during the week but only 44 per cent include fruit and vegetables with breakfast.

“So your plan should include adding fruit or vegetables to your breakfast, with a plan to continuing eating fruit and vegetables throughout the day.

“Those countries that rely on imported food to feed their people face the risk that the food they need will not reach their country. Food shortages will not assist the fight against Covid-19. We are fortunate in New Zealand that we grow what we need to eat to survive without having to rely on imported food.

“To date, about one third of our fruit and vegetables are imported. Covid-19 is likely to see those imports drop away with New Zealanders having to place greater reliance on what we grow here.

“Many consumers will then discover that their food is seasonal and that a year-round supply of food in supermarkets is not possible. For example, year-round kumara, kiwifruit and apples will probably not be possible when the New Zealand season for these crops end later in the year.

“New Zealand kumara, kiwifruit and apples are currently being harvested and are in season. There is nothing like a newly-harvested vegetable or piece of fruit.”

So, New Zealand, now is the time to eat healthy, eat local and eat what’s in season.”


Mike doesn’t know exactly why New Zealanders have some of the worst eating habits but says it is time to change.

Fresh fruits and vegetables help protect against diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

“It’s time we changed what we are doing. It’s never too late.”

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For more information:

Horticulture New Zealand


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