In New Zealand's Bay of Plenty, more than two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese. It was reported this week that the cost of fruit and veg prices jumped 2.1 per cent in December 2019. Fingers were pointed at seasonal produce such as spuds, apples, onion and kiwifruit.
Potatoes jumped 18 per cent to $2.13 per kilogram, apples by 15 per cent to $3.80 per kg and onions by 8.9 per cent to $2.38 per kg. The cost of kiwifruit almost doubled in one year, rising 32 per cent to a weighted average of $8.27 per kilogram compared to $4.24 in December 2018.
Greengrocers in Te Puke and Rotorua said a difficult growing season and unpredictable weather had contributed to the rise in prices. One fruit shop owner said he had noticed a drop in people buying fruit and veg in general and out-of-season fruit such as cauliflower, broccoli and kiwifruit were either too expensive or completely out of stock.
If healthy food such as fruit and veg is too expensive, how are we supposed to drop the region's obesity rate? Of course, it's up to each individual to look after their own health but this also depends on family budgets. Low-income families who might be struggling to put any food on the table might not be thinking about what is healthiest, but instead, what is cheapest.
Perhaps the government should remove GST on fruit and veg to make it that little bit easier for people to eat healthily. On the bright side, avocados have been cheap as chips lately. I guess that means millennials can eat avo on toast and still save to buy a house.