There is a gap between knowledge and action when it comes to healthy eating, a new report finds.

People are still not eating enough vegetables even though they know they are healthy, when asked to rate healthy food types, a market research report from Colmar Brunton shows.

Industry body AUSVEG says the ABS recently revealed that Australians eat fewer than half the recommended daily serves of vegetables; and data from Tasmania finds 93% of Tassies don’t eat enough fruit of vegetables.

“It’s an encouraging sign that Australians clearly understand the health and nutrition benefits that vegetables can give them, but it’s disappointing to see that this isn’t translating into well balanced, vegetable-rich diets,” says AUSVEG deputy CEO Andrew White.

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

“According to the ABS, Australian women eat an average of 2.5 serves of vegetables a day, compared to the recommended 5 or more, while men, whose recommended intake is 5-6 or more serves a day, are eating fewer vegetables than women, averaging only 2.3 serves a day.”

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition for consumers’ wallets. This report shows that while consumers may know what the healthy choice is, they’re often being persuaded to go with other options,” says White.

However, the research shows that consumers like pre-prepared options of vegetables, especially those which are perceived as requiring more preparation to cook, such as green peas, sweet corn, Asian vegetables and beans.

“We know that a big factor is the extra time and preparation that consumers think vegetables require – for many people with time-poor lifestyles, it can seem a lot easier to pick up a ready-to-eat meal, even when many vegetables require little more than a wash and a chop,” says White.

“Offering convenient, ready-to-eat formats for vegetables, or ensuring consumers know about quick and simple ways to prepare produce, may be key factors in helping Australians make better diet choices.”