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Hazel

Hazel MacTavish-West

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Tasmania Health And Medicine > Nutrition
Trades > Food Production
To review state-of-the-art approaches to food innovation for value-added, convenient, healthy foods - Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland
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My Churchill Fellowship: Investigated opportunities to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into value-added, convenient, healthy foods.

My study tour: Spanned five countries (mid-March to mid-May, 2018), and reviewed companies throughout the entire supply chain from seed breeders to producers and processors, from retailers with consumers in mind to research and support companies, with a bit of agri-tourism thrown in.

In summary: As the trip evolved, it became evident that I was receiving unexpected but consistent answers to some of my questions, especially around things like waste, shelf-life, packaging, production efficiency, retailing and how we communicate about vegetables. This shifted my thinking.

Key take-outs: The vegetable and fruit industry supply the food groups we all need to be eating more of. They are doing a great job of developing and finding new, better varieties to grow, with meaningful characteristics for us (how they look, taste and how we can use them). Food trends are moving in the direction of more “plant-based” eating, which is a great opportunity. There are new ways to get fresh produce and meal kit solutions to people: these are worth investigating. Adding further value is about focusing on the strengths and quality of the core produce, and selecting sensible food technology solutions, that deliver quality food, safely and at an acceptable price. Food packaging is evolving rapidly and is a key area for focus; government legislation may be required for real change. Retailers can take a strong lead in helping people value fresh produce: improving how it’s displayed, engaged with and promoted (not just on price). Supply chains need to be more local, opening up opportunities for smaller producers and reducing food miles and packaging. Cross-sectoral approaches for promotion of healthy eating and enjoying vegetables and fruits are required. Since the whole of society will benefit from this, all players should contribute. I believe the message should be “less stick, and more carrot”. Connecting people with primary production needs to improve, at all levels.

Key Words: Vegetable, Fruit, Plant-based, Food Innovation, Value-adding, Processing, Nutrition, Health, Packaging, Value Chain, Food, Consumer Trends, Food Trends

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