Fruit and vegetable consumption falls in the UK

Poorer families in Britain have cut the amount of fruit and vegetables they buy by almost a third to consume little over half the recommended five portions per day. Households in the lowest income bracket consistently bought smaller and smaller quantities of fruit and vegetables between 2006 and 2010, the most recent year for figures released by DEFRA.

Fruit purchases among families on the lowest incomes fell 30 per cent at just 2.7 portions per person per day. The amount spent on food in the bracket peaked at 16.8 per cent in 2008, before falling back to 16.1 per cent in 2009 and 15.8 per cent in 2010.

The DEFRA survey suggests this was possibly due to households finding ways to trade down to cheaper products.

The survey also looked at home-grown food, and found that between three and four per cent of fresh fruit and veg entering the household in 2010 came from free sources, mainly gardens and allotments.

NB: The reduction in consumption of perishable foods, such as fruit and vegetables may well be one reason why less food is waste – and both link to food price rises.