Tag Archives: the grocer

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.

Denmark’s fat tax! I l love it! But let’s pick on thin and lazy people also.

9 Oct

Fat people are more obviously unhealthy than thin people but both cost the NHS. We need a tax on unhealthy food in general, not just saturated fats. Thank you NZ Sunday Mercury for this pic, which raises lots of other questions...

I think a fat\health tax is great but sadly totally flawed. I’d call it a health tax, tax refined carbs and dramatically lighten up the costs of ‘healthier’ foods.  My belief is that the masses, including both skinny and fat people, know that a KCF/Maccy D/Burger King/Taco Bell/Red Rooster/etc burger/fries is bad for them, but because it tastes good, it fills you up and it’s cheap, health doesn’t get a look in.  

The figures are widely varied but recently, the Independent newspaper blog suggested that ‘fat’ people cost the UK £4.2bn’ in obesity related illnesses. However in a 2008 story in The Grocer, this figure is more like £6.8bn and it’s not just fat people who are chronically unhealthy, thin people are also a drag on the system costing the NHS even more at £7.3bn a year.

I pay £2.99 for a raw chocolate bar that perks me up and gives me essential minerals and vitamins when I could pay for 35p for an average chocolate bar that also does the job of perking me up but only for a moment and at a cost to my liver, gut, brain and adrenal system.  When times are tough, and I need a snack – there is no way I can afford to choose ‘healthy’.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive and they don’t last for months in my grocery cupboard, making bulk buying difficult. Raising the price of naughty food will certainly make me (average person) think twice, but the only way this will really work to cut costs to the NHS is if the price of health foods is also slashed.

While it is a worry that Cameron is proposing a tax only on saturated fats, it is a step in the right direction. Breaking habits of lifetimes is hard and people don’t like change, but when it comes to money – maybe we have hope that the message will get through to the people who need it whether they are smart, thin, fat, stupid, poor or rich.

We are what we eat and it’s as simple as that!