New research shows that many consumers aren’t able to identify
individual varieties of some of their favourite vegetables, with peak industry
body AUSVEG warning that these findings suggest Australians could be missing
out on the benefits of tailoring their vegetable purchases to their needs.

The latest Project Harvest report, produced by market research agency Colmar
Brunton, shows that more than a third of Australian consumers can’t name a type
of chilli, and more than half aren’t able to recall a specific variety of pea.

“Even for some of their favourite vegetables, we’ve found that consumers have
difficulty recalling different varieties of those vegetables, which suggests
that they’re not familiar with the different options that are available to
them,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.

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

“With many vegetables, different varieties offer their own individual flavour
and texture profiles, which can make a big difference for consumers in getting
the most enjoyment out of their vegetable purchases,” said Mr Lindhe.

“For example, a bird’s eye chilli is well-suited to Thai food, and is far
spicier than a jalapeno pepper, which is commonly used in Mexican cooking,
while serrano peppers are great for fresh salsas.”

“Consumers who aren’t aware of these differences in heat and flavour could be
missing out. Someone might avoid chilli after eating a bird’s eye or a habanero
chilli and finding it too hot, and while they may enjoy the milder flavour of a
jalapeno, they’re not going to try them out unless they know they have other

The report also shows that Australians are able to identify particular
varieties of some vegetables, with consumers commonly able to identify iceberg,
cos and rocket lettuce varieties. AUSVEG believes this level of awareness sets
a model for consumer education about other vegetable varieties.

“While there are obvious visual differences between lettuce varieties, we believe
that the taste differences between them – and consequently, their different
uses in meals – have been a major factor in consumers learning the difference
between varieties,” said Mr Lindhe.

“Consumers understand that rocket and cos lettuce are more bitter than iceberg
lettuce, for example. This means that they’re more likely to use rocket or cos
if they’re after that flavour profile, while shoppers who might want some
crunch in a salad or sandwich but want to avoid the bitter taste know they can
use iceberg lettuce instead.”

“We encourage consumers to explore the differences in flavour and texture for
varieties of other vegetables – they may find they like something new, or might
just discover a new twist on an old favourite.”

Project Harvest is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the
National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government. 

Lindhe, Manager – Communications, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: