It's a truth universally acknowledged that the health of the people is intrinsically linked with the health of the planet.

If our earth isn't healthy, it's pretty hard for us to sustain ourselves for long.

It's excellent to see issues of sustainability around food come to the fore in recent years.

Food waste is one issue that we can all do something about today.


We can't keep throwing away 120,000 tonnes of food a year, much of which could have been eaten.

Throwing away food isn't only unsustainable; it also feels bad.

So it's heartening to see the Countdown supermarket chain also doing something about this, with the launch of its Odd Bunch fruit and vegetables.

This is "imperfect" produce; fruit and vegetables that might otherwise never go on sale because it looks a little less than ideal.

The Odd Bunch produce will be cheaper than its perfect counterparts, and will vary depending on season and area.

Nutritionally, of course, a bent-out-of-shape carrot is just the same as a perfectly cylindrical one.

Hail-damaged stone fruit is just as good for us as pristine peaches.

If this seasonal produce is extra affordable, it will probably have a positive effect.


After all, anything that might encourage us to eat more plants has got to be good.

It's pretty much a no-brainer that eating lots of vegetables and fruit makes us feel better and healthier.

More incentive: recent research from Otago University has found it can also boost our mental state.

In fact, they found that lifting our intake of fruit and vegetables can make a difference to the way we feel in just a couple of weeks.

The researchers in Otago's Department of Psychology investigated the effects of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption on changes in psychological well-being.

The study participants who were given two extra servings each day of fresh produce reported significant improvements to their psychological well-being over two weeks, with boosts in vitality and motivation.

Interestingly, it seems that being hands-on in helping people to get more fruit and veg - actually giving it to them - works better than just reminding them to eat more.

The group in the study who were sent texts reminding them to eat more didn't show any improvement in wellbeing, and neither did those who were given $10 vouchers to buy more.

We need to be spoon-fed, basically.

While I find this slightly disheartening - free money doesn't even work! - the Otago researchers have pointed out the opportunities.

"People in dormitories, children in daycare centres, patients in hospitals, employees in the workplace, could be provided with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis," they say.

Countdown is on a similar track with the free fruit it offers kids in its stores.

This all fits with other research showing that making simple changes to our environments - bringing healthy food to the fore; getting unhealthy food out of sight - changes our behaviour for the better.

We humans, for all our complexities, are quite simple creatures.