South African metropolitan consumers’ response to health- related messages regarding fresh vegetables
The high prevalence of nutrition-related conditions and diseases in South Africa and scientific evidence regarding the health benefits offered by vegetables, guided this nationally representative study among South African metropolitan consumers. Vegetables have become a symbol of health for consumers, as they are exposed to health-related messages about vegetables by means of consumer socialisation and marketing. This study aimed to describe consumers’ opinions on health-related messages about vegetables, their frequency of consumption of different vegetables and the preparation practices employed by consumers for different vegetables. This descriptive study employed stratified sampling for the recruitment of respondents (N=1997) from metropolitan areas in South Africa. Field workers collected data by means of interviewer-administered questionnaires. Results showed positive consumer opinions on health-related messages about vegetables. Most respondents, however, failed to include a sufficient variety of vegetables that are needed for health maintenance in their diets since they indicated that there were certain vegetables they never ate. Less healthy practices, such as adding fat and sugar to many vegetables, were also common among respondents. Health messages concerning vegetables should emphasise the incorporation of a variety of vegetables in consumers’ diets. Interventions to equip consumers to employ healthy preparation practices are also recommended.