Lucinda Hancock National Nutrition Week 2015 Interview

Lucinda Hancock National Nutrition Week 2015 Interview

Lucinda Hancock National Nutrition Week 2015 Interview

Nutrition Australia and the fresh produce industry are saying -no' to fancy food fads, and -yes' to fresh fruit and vegetables, as National Nutrition Week kicks off!

With an alarming 95% of Australians not eating enough fruits and vegetables, Nutrition Australia is supporting the Produce Marketing Association Australia - New Zealand to launch -Pick Right. Feel Bright!' – a new campaign that aims to educate and inspire all Australians to enjoy more fruit and vegetables every day.

'Nutrition Australia is delighted to partner with the Produce Marketing Association A-NZ to call on all Aussies to pick more fruit and vegetables." said Lucinda Hancock, CEO of Nutrition Australia Vic Division.

'Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants which all help keep our minds and bodies working day-to-day, and reduce our risk of chronic disease in the future."

'Whether they're fresh, frozen or canned, eating a variety of colourful produce is one of the easiest things we can do to improve our health and wellbeing."

Renee Harrison, Marketing Manager, PMA A-NZ is excited to have Nutrition Australia's support for -Pick Right. Feel Bright!' during National Nutrition Week. 'We have an abundance of quality fruit and vegetables yet we're not eating anywhere near the recommended amount for good health," said Ms Harrison.

However, a recent Nielsen survey shows the tide may already be turning with fruit now the second highest selling item in stores. While vegetable industry research shows we've ditched the weekly shop in favour of frequent drop ins, which could result in shoppers eating nearly 4 additional serves of veg a week!

It's not just adults that have embraced fruit and veg either. PMA A-NZ expects that the next generation of shoppers (born 1995 – 2010) is turning its back on current food fads in favour of a back-to-basics approach to healthy eating.

'We've dubbed the next generation -Normovores' and believe the fresh produce industry will play a strong role in aiding this tidal shift in nutrition trends" said Ms Harrison.

'It looks like we're finally finding a sensible middle ground between the typical unhealthy diet, and the food fads that have distorted our idea of what it means to eat healthy over the last few years," said Mrs Hancock.

National Nutrition Week runs from 11-17 October 2015. For more information, visit or to take the Try For 5 challenge to eat 5 serves of vegetables a day.

Interview with Lucinda Hancock, CEO of Nutrition Australia Vic Division

Question: What is National Nutrition Week 2015?

Lucinda Hancock: National Nutrition Week is Nutrition Australia's annual awareness campaign to promote healthy eating.

In 2015, we teamed up with the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand to support their new Pick Right. Feel Bright! campaign as the theme for NNW 2015. We're also hosting the Try For 5 for challenge, where people can sign up and take the pledge to eat 5 serves of vegetables every day for 7 days during National Nutrition Week. There's over $1000 in prizes available for school and organisation teams

Question: What do you hope to achieve during the 2015 National Nutrition Week?

Lucinda Hancock: With Pick Right. Feel Bright!, National Nutrition Week 2015 aims to inspire all Australians to choose more fruit and vegetables every day. Around 95% of Australians don't eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. In fact while only half of us eat enough fruit, only 7% of Australians are eating enough vegetables.

Question: Why should we be saying no to food fads?

Lucinda Hancock: The Australian Dietary Guidelines advise us to eat a wide variety of foods from every food group every day to get all the nutrients and energy we need for good health and to reduce our risk of chronic diseases. The Guidelines are developed by a committee of nutrition and health experts, based on thousands of studies.

Around 95% of Australians don't eat enough fruit and veg, yet a third of the kilojoules we consume each day come from -discretionary foods' like confectionery, fried foods, salty snacks, cakes, biscuits, sugary drinks and alcohol. For the vast majority of Australians, eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting down on these discretionary foods will improve their diet for better overall health.

However, many food fads are promoted as having the definitive secret to healthy eating, but they're often promoted by people without university level training in nutrition, and aren't always based on solid research. Strict diets and restrictive rules that cut out entire food groups or demonise individual nutrients (like carbohydrates) do not reflect the vast body of scientific evidence about why individual foods in the five food groups are beneficial for our health. Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance, cutting out entire foods groups without professional advice can put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies, and is simply unnecessary.

Question: Can you give us an indication of the amount of fruit and vegetables we should be consuming, daily?

Lucinda Hancock: The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the amount of foods we should aim to eat from each food group each day, based on our age and gender. Having said that, the recommendations for fruit and vegetables are pretty consistent for all, so generally people over 4 years old should aim for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day.

1 serve of fruit is 1 medium/large piece like an apple or banana, 2 smaller fruits like apricots or plums, or 1 cup of berries or canned fruit.

1 serve of vegetables is ½ a cup of chopped or cooked veg/legumes, 1 cup of raw leafy salad, or half a medium potato or about 75g.

For more, see:

Question: Is there a difference between canned, frozen and fresh vegetables?

Lucinda Hancock: Canned and frozen vegetables are an easy and convenient way to buy and use vegetables. There can be minor differences in the nutritional value of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (ie fresh produce being more nutritious when it is in season, or some frozen vegetables are -snap' frozen to retain their nutrients). But with the average Australian eating less than half their recommended intake of vegetables, eating more of any vegetable is a great step to Pick Right and Feel Bright!

We encourage people to use fresh, frozen or canned vegetables to help them consume their recommended 5 serves of veg a day.

Question: Why do you suggest eating a range of coloured fruit and vegetables?

Lucinda Hancock: Every food contains a different variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that we need for good health. Eating a variety of foods every day ensures we get a broad range of nutrients to meet our recommended intakes.

Fruit and vegetables fall into five different colour categories: red, purple/blue, orange/yellow, green and white/brown. Each colour carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour and of course some of their healthy properties. So eating a range of colours is a neat way to get a variety of these great nutrients.

Question: What challenge do you put to our readers this National Nutrition Week?

Lucinda Hancock: Join the #TryFor5 to discover new ways to eat five serves of vegetables a day. Sign up at and you could win great prizes.

Interview by Brooke Hunter