Industry figures are urging the Government to do more to promote fresh produce after statistics showed a fall in fruit and vegetables sales between 2010 and 2011.
The Fresh Produce Consortium described the figures as "disappointing", adding: "We are pressing the Government to support the industry by doing more to promote fresh produce as the ultimate value-for-money convenience food."
Sales of fruit and vegetables declined between 2007 and 2010, despite rising less in price than other food categories over the period.
Fresh fruit in particular struggled, declining by nearly 12 per cent in sales volume, although food price inflation meant that expenditure still rose by nearly six per cent. Apple sales dropped by 13 per cent, pears by four per cent and stone fruit by 19 per cent.
Overall, fresh fruit consumption reached a peak in 2006 and has since been in decline. According to Defra's Family Food report: "Fruit is seen as a luxury item that can be reduced when food prices rise."
Total consumption of vegetables showed a smaller drop of three per cent over the period, which combined with higher price inflation than for fruit translated into a rise in expenditure of 10 per cent.
However, there were sharp individual drops in sales of fresh greens and cabbages (both 15 per cent), turnips and swede (20 per cent), cauliflower (21 per cent) and fresh peas (25 per cent).
"It's disappointing that we haven't got consumption up to five a day - that would be a huge boost for our industry. But the grower associations are out there getting coverage and it's likely that the figure would be lower without generic campaigns. We would be shirking our responsibility if we didn't continue to push them."
Tim Mudge, commercial manager, British Growers Association