THREE years ago it was a broccoli latte.
Now, Hort Innovation has trotted out a sweetpotato ice cream in another showing of what's possible to increase vegetable consumption in Australia.
The sweetpotato, coconut and maple ice cream was handed out to delegates at Hort Connections 2021 in Brisbane last month with the vast majority of people giving it the tick of approval.
The ice cream features a sweet earthy flavour and a half serve of veggies per two scoops.
In addition, the Hort Innovation stand also offered avocado ice cream and mango ice cream.
A section of the significant Hort Innovation stand included a pop-up Fresh Cafe, including the Feel Good Ice Cream Bar that later transformed into the Sweetpotato Cafe, serving up sweetpotato hot chips and sweetpotato sausage rolls.
While headline-catching, sweetpotato ice cream isn't necessarily new. There are various recipes on the internet and sweetpotato ice cream is readily available from food trucks in Japan.
The representative body, Australian Sweetpotatoes, also has a recipe for sweetpotato, coconut and peanut butter ice cream on its website.
Hort Innovation sweetpotato advocate Samantha Parker said sweetpotatoes were packed with nutrients.
"This sweetpotato ice cream contains vitamin B5, which is needed for mental performance and to combat tiredness," she said.
Ms Parker said Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed 96 per cent of the population do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day (five to six serves).
She said sweetpotatoes were also a surprisingly rich source of vitamin C.
"Vitamin C is important for immunity, but it's also an antioxidant, which means it's good for overall health, collagen formation and the absorption of iron."
According to the lastest Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook, more than 106,000 tonnes of the root vegetable is grown in the nation each year with 88 per cent produced in Queensland.
Sweet Potatoes Australia general manager Claire Maslen said producers are continuously looking for ways to diversify their offering to health-conscious Aussies and encourage the consumption of home-grown produce.
"This is an exciting time to be in the sweetpotato industry," she said.
"While the root vegetable remains a staple next to the meat and three veg on Aussie dinner plates, it's also emerging as a versatile basis for chips, baked goods, and now - we never thought we'd see it, ice cream."
Ms Maslen said any effort to cut food waste was also positive.
"The development of this ice cream and other products definitely has the potential to help us use veggies that would traditionally be considered 'too ugly' for sale in a fun and interesting way," she said.
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