Tag Archives: falling sales in fruit and veg

Fruit and veg sales out the window in a crisis reveal statistics

30 Jan

don't expect to see another promo for Macdonalds on this blog anytime soon!!

Newly released figures from DEFRA state that fruit and veg sales are in sharp decline in the UK. Depressing but not surprising. Fruit and veg are simply much more expensive than a £1 burger from Maccas.  But is price alone the cause of such a drop in consumption?  I don’t think so.  Tescos (and the other retailers) drove a 30% price reduction in fruits and vegs  over the last 3 months, Department of Health has spent £75m in 3 years on the change-4-life 5-a-day campaign and still we ate less.

One reason could be the enormous advertising budgets of fast foods and sweets manufacturers, estimated here on DEFRA at £375m a year.  It’s easy to blame price or big food manufacturers for a veggie sales decline but fundamentally I believe our decisions to eat what we eat, when we eat it, are never rational.  My theory is that while price (perception) is important, we humans can only worry about one thing at a time.  And when the health of our finances is in deep doodoo, we let personal nutrition go to hell. ‘Give me comforting, easy to prepare, and cheap food, now!  I’m busy surviving the crisis!’

Fruits and veg are a hassle to prepare, difficult to eat ‘on-the-go’ and to most people, not instantly comforting.  They are seen a personal indulgence of time AND money and add mixed messages about their impact, they are barely worth the trouble. Nutrition is an abstract long term investment for hippies, sadly not an everyday essential for the masses.  One day…

Parliament are debating the issue as we speak.  I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the article in The Grocer here:

Fruit and veg consumption has continued to fall in the UK, with Brits buying 0.9% less in 2010 than they did the previous year.

Purchases of fruit and veg were 7.5% lower in 2010 than in 2007, new figures from Defra show, and down 8.7% on 2006 levels.

Poor households have cut back the most, with those in the lowest income bracket buying almost a third (30%) less fruit and veg in 2010 than in 2006.

Fruit bore the brunt of the cut, purchases falling by 11.6% between 2007 and 2010, while vegetable sales slipped by less than 3%. But fresh green vegetables also saw significant reductions, with purchases down 4.5% on 2009 and 15% on 2007.

Last week, The Grocer reported that the UK was near the bottom of the pile in a comparative survey of fruit and veg consumption across the European Union.

Nigel Jenney of the Fresh Produce Consortium said it was disappointing to see further confirmation that the UK was not meeting minimum recommendations for a healthy diet.

“The FPC is pressing government to support the industry by doing more to promote fresh produce as the ultimate value-for-money convenience food,” he said.