No veg please, we’re British: UK not producing enough fruit and veg for population

Britain is not producing or importing enough fruit and vegetables for its population to get the recommended five portions a day, new analysis has found.

According to a newly published research by the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (Shefs) research group, which includes The Food Foundation, only one in ten children and a third of adults are eating enough fruit and vegetables.

The report says that the UK would need to produce or import 9% more fruit and vegetables for everyone in the UK to be able to eat the recommended amount.

Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free

Sign up here to get the latest grocery and food news each morning

The Shefs Fruit and Vegetables Policy Brief, which is intended to inform policy makers of the need to increase production and consumption, stated that much of our fertile farmland is used for animal agriculture.

Additionally, people have turned away from home-grown foods such as peas and carrots, and more than 80% of our fruit and almost half of our vegetables now come from imports, many of them too exotic to be grown in Britain.

The high cost of fruit and vegetables is also contributing to the health gap between rich and poor, the briefing shows. In the year to October 2022, the price of fruit rose by more than 10% and vegetables by more than 15%, making fruit and vegetables too expensive for many people to buy.

Healthier foods are nearly three times as expensive per calorie as less healthy foods, meaning people are switching away from purchasing fruit and vegetables when budgets are being stretched amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“As the government takes forward the development of the Horticulture Strategy for England – which is now long overdue – we show it must aim to increase both production and consumption of British fruit and veg,” executive director of The Food Foundation, Anna Taylor said.

She added: “This will make a significant difference to the nation’s health and help our farmers. It’s a win-win.

Professor at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Rosemary Green commented: “SHEFS research is about identifying food system changes that would be beneficial for both people’s health and the environment.

“Increasing production and consumption of fruit and veg is vital to achieving these goals, and should be prioritised now,” she said.

The news comes as Aldi has become the latest retailer to remove best before dates from around 60 of its own brand fruit and vegetable products to help tackle food waste.



1 Comment. Leave new

  • I’m sorry this is complete and utter rubbish, all dreamt up to drag us kicking and screaming back in bed with the EU! I work in a supermarket and the amount of wasted fruit and Veg I see on a daily basis, is unbelievable.. so yes we are growing/providing enough! The key is better education, teach people how to prepare and cook with the veg, better healthier meals…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.



Sign up to our daily newsletter to get all the latest grocery news and insights direct to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.