"We hate celery" the public tells Notcutts Garden Centres

Notcutts Garden Centres has found celery, cabbage and pears are Britain's most hated fruit and veg, but aims to win over the public by putting them on its restaurant menus as part of a new kitchen-garden campaign.

Two in five (38%) adults have been embarrassed by their own fussy eating habits as they refuse to eat certain fruit and vegetables, new research from Notcutts Garden Centres has revealed.

Almost three quarters (72%) of the 3,000 people surveyed by gardening chain Notcutts as part of its Kitchen Garden campaign to encourage people to enjoy more fruit and vegetables by growing their own at home, had hated some vegetables for as long as they could remember, with one in six (16%) blaming school dinners for putting them off those greens for life.  One in eight (12%) pointed the finger at a relative's cooking.

Celery topped the polls as the UK's most hated vegetable, with one in four naming it as the green they loved to hate, followed by cabbage with 16% of votes. The pear was named the most unpopular fruit, with 18% steering clear.

Not only has avoidance of fruit and veg caused embarrassment, over half (52%) of those surveyed also reported that they had found it difficult to order a meal when dining out because of their fussy eating.  With the issue affecting so many, it's perhaps not surprising to also discover that two thirds (64%) of us would like to be more adventurous with our food choices.

Notcutts centres are showing their appreciation for even the most maligned vegetables by introducing them into their restaurants nationwide this week, giving customers the chance to face their food fears.  Visitors will be able to pick up the recipes to try themselves at home and Notcutts' expert staff are on hand to advise people on how to get started on growing their own, whether they have a windowsill or spacious garden.

Some 66% of people surveyed said they didn't grow any fruit or vegetables, with 23% saying they couldn't because they don't have a garden, and 32% blaming a lack of space.

Healthy eating consultant and author of the book "Mange Tout" Lucy Thomas said: "Parents are crucial in getting children engaged with fruit and vegetables.  If a parent wants their child to eat broccoli but won't touch the stuff themselves then success is unlikely.

"Parents should revisit foods that they wrote off as children; our taste buds develop over time and it can take as many as 10 or 15 tries before we get used to new tastes.  Adults may be surprised to find that they now enjoy a fruit or vegetables they always thought they hated."

Notcutts representative Colin Dale said: "Growing fruit and vegetables is a great way to get produce at its best: fresh and in season.  We can buy any fruit or vegetable in any season now and that's not giving us or our children the best experience of them at their peak.

"You don't need a lot of space to grow your own: it can be a grow bag of tomatoes on your patio, or peppers on your windowsill.  There are lots of options available for all gardens and spaces - and lots of support to make your growing experience as successful as possible."

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