Australians underestimate the value for money of Australian vegetables, leading to an imbalance in vegetable purchases across socioeconomic demographics, according to peak industry body AUSVEG.

“There is a perception among consumers that vegetables are more expensive than other foods, but research has shown that they are excellent value for money,” said AUSVEG Assistant Manager – Industry Development, Mr Kurt Hermann. 

New data from the Nielsen Homescan system, which tracks the food and grocery purchase habits of over 10,000 Australian households, shows that the frequency of vegetable purchases tends to increase as household incomes increase.

AUSVEG says that this trend may be linked to consumer misperceptions about the cost of vegetables.

“Project Harvest, another vegetable industry consumer research study, shows that when consumers are prompted to consider fresh vegetable spend relative to their entire grocery budget, they are surprised by how cheap vegetables really are,” said Mr Hermann.

“The apparent link between household income and vegetable purchases is concerning. However, consumers often overestimate how much of an impact vegetables have on their grocery budget and as such, we believe that this trend can be counteracted.”

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

According to the Nielsen data, high-income households make up 38 per cent of the population, but constitute nearly half of all ‘heavy buyers’ for capsicum and sweet corn. Meanwhile, low-income households, which represent 28 per cent of the population, only make up 18 per cent of heavy buyers for the same vegetables. The same trend appears across vegetables like broccoli, carrots and cucumber.

In the ‘light buyer’ category, defined as households which only buy vegetables a few times a year, lower-income households are over-represented for staple vegetables like cucumber, capsicum, carrots and lettuce.

“The data shows higher-income households are disproportionately represented overall, and lower-income households are under-represented, when it comes to buying vegetables,” said Mr Hermann.

“A vegetable-rich diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, however, and all Australian households can enjoy cheap, nutritious meals and can add more vegetables to their shopping baskets than they may think.”

Both Project Harvest and Nielsen research are funded by HIA using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Kurt Hermann, Assistant Manager – Industry Development, AUSVEG 
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0421 007 510, Email: