School of Medical and Health Sciences
Edith Cowan University, ECU
University of Tasmania, UTAS
Regional food systems are complex networks, with numerous retail sources that underpin a local economy. However, evidence is limited regarding how consumers define, identify, and source regionally grown fresh fruits and vegetables (RGFFV). A cross-sectional study was conducted in Tasmania (TAS) and South Western Australia (SWA) to compare how RGFFV are defined, identified and sourced by consumers, including self-reported consumption of selected RGFFV. Survey data were analyzed using the Chi-square test and t-tests. Results (TAS n = 120, SWA n = 123) identified that consumers had mixed perceptions of how RGFFV are defined, including produce sold at farmers markets, or grown within their region (TAS/SWA). RGFFV were commonly identified using product labelling (55% TAS, 69% SWA; p > 0.05). Respondents reported frequently shopping for RGFFV at major supermarkets, with more TAS respondents shopping weekly in comparison to SWA respondents (67% vs. 38%; p < 0.001). Supermarkets offered convenience and consumers enjoyed the experience of farmers’ markets, especially in TAS (42%) in comparison to SWA (21%; p = 0.012). The major RGFFV consumed were root vegetables and apples/pears, but consumers were frequently unsure about the produce’s provenance. Our findings indicate multiple opportunities to improve consumption of fresh, regional produce in TAS and SWA, which may positively impact regional economic growth and community health. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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