Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans and other animals as food. Vegetables refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. Vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked and play an important role in human nutrition, being mostly low in fat and carbohydrates but are bulky and filling.  Many nutritionists encourage people to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, five or more portions a day often being recommended. It is necessary to review the emphasis on increasing the global consumption of fruits and vegetables to double by 2050 to meet global nutrition targets. Vegetables and fruits consumption should be based on palatability and taste of the individual, not driven by nutrition. Protein, fats and dietary energy density in vegetables and fruits is far less than the human requirement. The minerals and vitamins that are present in most of these vegetables and fruits is a small fraction of the daily values. In most of the countries, food is fortified with micronutrients. Other plant products such as nuts and seeds are rich in many nutrients present in vegetables and fruits. Cost of the vegetables and fruits is very high compared to other food groups. Reducing the consumption of vegetables and fruits will reduce the global green-gas emissions and fresh water use. Modifying processes in making long shelf life plant products like soya meal to suit human consumption (retaining nutrients intact) will increase the availability of affordable nutrients to vulnerable people in low and middle income countries.