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NEWS

Plastic matters to Kiwi food shoppers

tomatoes in plastic

Plastic packaging is a top concern for Kiwis when buying groceries, and the number of people following a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diet has grown, according to new research.

Findings from a survey, conducted by life science company Bayer and the NZ Nutrition Foundation (NZNF), show 42 per cent of respondents identified the amount of plastic packaging as an extremely or very important concern when making decisions to purchase food and beverages.

However, other issues related to sustainability, such as production practices or farming techniques, were less important to respondents.

According to nutrition writer and commentator Niki Bezzant, who was involved in the survey,  the fact respondents were less concerned with sustainability practices is interesting.

“Although plastic packaging is detrimental to the health of the planet, agriculture emissions and less sustainable farming practices can also be problematic,’ Ms Bezzant says.

Interestingly, 30 per cent of respondents reported being vegetarian or vegan the past 12 months. A further eight per cent reported being flexitarian.

Rates were highest among young people (15-34-year-olds).

This is an increase in numbers from the 2008/2009 Ministry of Health Survey, according to NZNF scientific director and AUT emeritus professor of nutrition Elaine Rush.

As well as being less likely to eat a plant-based diet, older respondents were less concerned with sustainability.

The survey was an online questionnaire and had 1346 adult participants.

First published: November 2019

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