More Britons eat up their fresh fruit and veg: Mintel

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

More Britons are eating up their fresh fruit and veg
More Britons are eating up their fresh fruit and veg

Related tags Fruit Vegetable

British consumers are eating more fruit and vegetables and becoming increasingly critical of retailers who waste food, reveals new research by Mintel.

A quarter of consumers polled by Mintel reported buying more fruit and vegetables compared with a year ago. And 10% said they can afford to buy more fresh fruit and vegetables now than in 2013.

Up to 93% of all consumers buy fresh fruit each week, while 90% buy fresh vegetables.

Overall, fruit and vegetables sales have achieved 16% growth between 2009 and 2014. The combined UK fruit and vegetable market is valued at an estimated £16bn, up from less than £14bn in 2009. Over the next five years sales are predicted to rise to just under £19bn, in growth driven mainly by inflation.

Sales are predicted to rise

The new research also revealed shoppers’ growing tolerance of blemished and misshapen produce, while concern mounted about retailers’ food waste.

Nearly half (42%) of fruit and vegetable buyers said they would buy oddly shaped fruit and vegetables if they were cheaper. Well over half (62%) of fresh fruit and vegetables shoppers reported that low price was important, followed by the best before date (41%) and whether it was on promotion (38%).

Turning to food waste, more than half (56%) felt food retailers should do more to reduce the amount of food they throw away. Another 28% of shoppers were concerned about their own waste of fruit and vegetables.

Mintel’s head of UK food, drink and foodservice research Kiti Soininen said the research revealed opportunities to boost sales. “It is clear that consumers are open to ‘ugly’ produce, but where oddly shaped fruit and veg sits with mainstream offerings, it is at risk of going unchosen, even if subconsciously,” ​said Soininen.

‘Focus on food waste’

“The fact that half of consumers would buy good-quality oddly shaped fruit and veg and the recent focus on food waste and the grocers’ role in curbing it shows there is scope to actively use the non-standard quality of produce as a selling point. In addition, prices come across as a real consideration for many and by positioning ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables as a tasty, low-cost option should help the grocers to reach this group.”

The research also revealed that over a third of shoppers would like to see a greater variety of fruit or vegetables available in ready-to-eat snack formats, for example washed, peeled or chopped.

“Until the income squeeze eases significantly, spending on fruit and vegetables as a day-to-day grocery item will remain under scrutiny,”​ said Soininen. “However, certain added-value areas hold potential, such as ready-to-eat snack formats and initiatives that helps to extend shelf-life.”

More than two thirds (67%) thought the health benefits of fruit and vegetables should be stated on packaging, for example the fact that beetroot is high in potassium and magnesium.    


What drives fruit and veg purchases

62% – low price

 41% – best before date

38% –price promotions

Source: Mintel

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