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Fruits and vegetable measures program

Background

In July 2011, FSANZ undertook a small program to estimate the average weights for a range of fruits and vegetables likely to be consumed during the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS). This initial work was expanded throughout the course of the survey.  

Sampling

A range of commonly consumed fruits and vegetables including apple, banana, pear, capsicum, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, mushroom, potato and tomato were selected for analysis in July 2011. Samples were weighed in-store at seven supermarkets and one independent grocer in the Canberra area. Samples were then allocated to size categories based on weight.

FSANZ continued to collect additional measures data for whole pieces of fruit and vegetables, including edible portion information (such as the proportion of stem, seeds or skin removed before eating) and other commonly reported portions such as slices, mouthfuls or wedges throughout 2012-13. Samples were weighed both in-store and at home.

A total of 376 vegetable and 239 fruit samples were weighed during this program.

Results

As demonstrated in Table 1, some foods in this program displayed minimal variation across varieties, thus allowing for grouping of similar foods. For example, the weight of all red skinned apples within each size category, were found to be similar regardless of the variety and as such individual measures for each variety were not required. Other foods, such as mushrooms and tomatoes, showed clear size differences across varieties that required separate measures.

The fruit displaying the highest variability across all sizes was brown pears with weights ranging from 147 g to 500 g from 31 samples. The fruit with the least variability across all sizes was Fuji apples with 20 samples ranging from 145 g to 180 g. Iceberg lettuce displayed the highest variability of all the vegetables, ranging from 350 g to 885 g from 20 samples. Roma tomatoes were the least variable vegetable ranging from 89 g to 166 g from 10 samples. Overall, vegetables showed greater variability within varieties than fruits.

For the complete set of results generated from this program refer to Attachment 1.

Updates to the measures database

FSANZ used the data for fruits and vegetables in this program as a basis to assign a food specific portion to each of these foods in the food measures database.

Some values gathered later in the program may not have been included in the derivation of the final measure if they supported existing data and their inclusion would not have had a noticeable impact on the average.

For some foods, such as squash, this program identified a limited range of sizes available in stores (i.e. small and large). As such, all reports of these foods were assigned to one of the observed measures even if an alternative size was reported, such as mini or extra large.


Table 1            Average weight of selected fruits and vegetables.

Food

Variety

Size (g)
(range)

small

medium

large

extra large

Apple

Fuji

151 (145-155)

164 (160-170)

177 (175-180)

Pink lady

158 (155-160)

183 (170-200)

214 (210-220)

Red delicious

163 (150-180)

198 (195-200)

218 (205-235)

Royal gala

153 (140-180)

179 (160-200)

205 (175-235)

Golden delicious

151 (145-155)

162 (160-165)

183 (180-185)

Granny Smith

146 (125-155)

165 (155-180)

188 (175-205)

Banana

Cavendish

114 (97-127)

151 (140-160)

171 (165-185)

213 (197-246)

Mandarin

77 (67-88)

Mango

Kensington Pride

300 (222-388)

Pear

brown

159 (147-168)

195 (160-221)

290 (189-376)

444 (385-550)

Packhams Triumph

178 (160-185)

201 (190-210)

243 (220-280)

Capsicum

green

201 (160-235)

278 (255-310)

336 (320-350)

red

224 (190-240)

271 (255-285)

328 (300-385)

Carrot

common

74 (40-100)

131 (114-151)

169 (153-190)

221 (197-250)

Chilli

green

15 (10-20)

red

14 (10-20)

Cucumber

Lebanese

127 (108-148)

174 (136-213)

214 (195-235)

Telegraph

196 (190-200)

252 (235-265)

370 (325-560)

Lettuce

Iceberg

417 (350-495)

570 (520-600)

772 (680-885)

Mushroom

button

24 (10-30)

cup

38 (35-40)

Potato

Desiree

123 (100-135)

161 (150-175)

181 (180-185)

213 (200-230)

Sebago

151 (130-175)

289 (255-320)

398 (355-465)

Squash

button, golden

46 (38-53)

68 (57-80)

Tomato

common

121 (88-135)

152 (140-165)

194 (175-220)

Roma

124 (89-166)

 

Conclusion

The results of the fruit and vegetable measures program have given FSANZ an improved level of confidence about the quality of measures assigned to these foods reported during the AHS.

 

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