This presentation was delivered by Andrew Jones, PhD and John G. Searle Assistant Professor Department of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

This presentation discusses the contribution of fruits and vegetables to the diets of populations in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the socio-cultural and environmental barriers to meeting recommended dietary intakes of fruits and vegetables in these contexts. It begins by providing an overview of the nutritional landscape in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and proceeds to present evidence for the health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables (F&V).

The presentation goes onto describe our understanding of fruit and vegetable consumption in LMICs, as well as approaches and challenges to increasing F&V consumption in these countries. Approaches include home gardens, agricultural biodiversity for diet diversity, urban agriculture, reducing food waste and losses, and behavioral interventions.

The final section of this presentation is about policy, investment, and research priorities. It provides evidence for how policies and programs aimed at transforming food systems may modify fruit and vegetable consumption, and the sectoral synergies and trade-offs that may be faced through these actions with implications for both human health and the environment. The presentation includes policy, investment, and research priorities such as increased funding for research aimed at reducing unit costs of production of F&V, shaping consumer demand, reducing food waste and loss, diversifying production systems at various scales and locations, and advocates for better and more data to characterize global diets.

The key take ways Jones presents in this presentation include: 

  • Poor diets are the key driver of malnutrition in LMICs and F&V are central to improving diets and related health outcomes
  • Consumption of F&V is lower than recommendations in most LMICs though there are increasing trends, and gaps are not insurmountable
  • An “all-of-the-above” approach is needed to increase availability of F&V; increased research for improved technology is central
  • Enhancing affordability and shaping consumer demand are equally important priorities

This presentation was part of at an event titled "Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables," which took place on June 2-3, 2017, at the UC Davis Conference Center.