Fruit and vegetable consumption has declined across Western Europe and the USA over the last decade, despite widespread efforts to promote more healthy eating, according to a new report by Dutch bank Rabobank.
The report ascribes the fall to reduced incomes, the perceived higher cost of produce, and competition from other food categories.
Rabobank analyst and author of the report Cindy van Rijswick said: "Consumers are easily swayed by creative marketing of processed food and beverages and exhibit a strong bias for convenience products."
To address this the report recommends that the fresh produce industry:
- boost convenience for consumers by preparing produce in innovative ways;
- emphasise the convenience, taste, enjoyment and versatility of fruit and veg, as the health benefits are already understood;
- improve cooperation across the supply chain, which should be shortened wherever possible to ensure efficiency and freshness.
The report also found a widespread correlation between low income and low fresh produce consumption, even though fresh produce rose less in price than other food categories across the EU and US in 2006-11.