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About the food systems

Find out what influences people's access to healthy and sustainable food.

Illustration of an avocado, broccoli, banana bunch and tomatoes against a blue background.

At VicHealth, we believe that everyone deserves access to healthy, sustainable, and culturally appropriate food. We're passionate about creating a food system that not only supports the health of individuals and communities but also cares for the environment. 

We work tirelessly to advocate, influence, and invest in the food system to make sure that all Victorians can enjoy delicious, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable food. But we know that systemic barriers can make it difficult for some communities to access these foods. That's why we're committed to unpacking these barriers and taking meaningful action to dismantle them. 

This page visually unpacks the influences we need to understand and address so all Victorians can enjoy a healthy lifestyle and diet. By understanding these challenges, we can work together to create solutions that make healthy food accessible to everyone. 

What influences our ability to eat healthy?


Fresh produce often takes a bigger bite out of the bank account than ultra processed foods. It can be expensive to cook food that's better for our bodies. 



When you're on the go, finding the time to cook a fresh meal or buy fresh ingredients isn't always possible. It's harder to eat healthier with a demanding schedule.



Depending on your housing situation, you may not always have access to the appropriate facilities needed for cooking healthy meals. Whether it's a communal kitchen or limited space, housing can impact how and when we prepare food.


Neighbourhood design

The design of your neighbourhood can affect the food you eat. In some places, you could have a 5 minute walk to a fresh food market, while in others you might have to drive for 20 minutes.


Geographic location

If you live in a city, regional area or more remote community, your food options will be different. Cost, variety and freshness of food are all determined by where you live



Ultra processed foods advertising is everywhere, constantly bombarding us. It can be so sneaky, we may not even realise it when it happens!


Social exclusion 

The impact of colonisation, including dispossession of land and associated traumas, has broken traditional eating practices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For communities of multicultural backgrounds, they may feel uncomfortable to cook and enjoy their traditional foods due to fears of discrimination and exclusion



There is so much information out there about what is healthy and this can be confusing. Advice on social media may not always be verified or accurate. Navigating this can be tricky and exhausting.

Food for thought. What influences our ability to eat healthy?


Are you like Caleb? For him and his family, the price of fresh produce is too high. They make the best of what they have but the climbing prices mean they can afford less and less fresh food each month.

Caleb finds frozen meals last longer and are more affordable.

How can we make fresh produce and other healthy foods more affordable?



Meet Leyla, she’s a Uni student working two jobs to make ends meet. Between lectures and work, she usually gets home after 10pm and barely has time to cook. When she can spare a moment, she opts for quick, low-cost, filling foods like instant noodles and sausage rolls.

How can we make healthy options easy even for busy people like Leyla?



Alex lives in a sharehouse with a small kitchen. She doesn’t always have access to the facilities needed to cook healthy meals.

How should we build houses and apartments to provide the space Alex needs to prepare meals?



Sourab lives in an area with more fast-food outlets than supermarkets. It takes an hour for his family to drive to the nearest market to buy fresh produce.

How could we plan suburbs so Sourab can be in walking or cycling distance to fresh food?



Eden lives in a remote area with higher food prices. Some items are close to three times the price you would pay in metropolitan regions.

How do we redesign the way food is moved around Australia to better support Eden and others in remote communities?



Trevor likes to eat foods he sees on TV and social media. Whether it’s an ad with a catchy jingle or the latest Tiktok recipe trend, he gravitates to what he sees most.

How can we ensure that Trevor is inspired by healthy food Tiktoks and ads, rather than being bombarded with unhealthy food advertising?



Carla comes from a migrant background. Her family is one of the only multicultural families in their suburb. She takes processed food and snacks to school so she doesn’t stand out.

How do we address systemic racism in communities to ensure they are safe spaces for Carla and others from multicultural backgrounds?



This is Kora, she wants to eat healthy but doesn’t know how! She finds the supermarket overwhelming and cooking to be quite complex.

How can we create supermarkets that encourage healthier food purchases?

Infographic of what influences our ability to eat, as described on the webpage.


Our work to transform our food system includes partnerships with local government, advocating for policy change, protecting the community from industries that sell harmful products and investing in groundbreaking research and programs. We're also investing in the development of Future Healthy Food Hubs in seven communities across the state, making healthy food accessible to those who need it most. 

But we can't do it alone. Creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system requires a whole-of-sector and community approach. We invite you to join us as an interested community member, food systems activist, academic or policymaker to take meaningful action that goes beyond individual behaviour and creates systemic transformation. 

Together, we can create a food system that nourishes both people and the planet, and is accessible to all Victorians. So join us today, and let's make a difference! 


Get in touch with [email protected] 

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.
This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.