Survey reveals growing ignorance of UK-grown fresh produce

Young people are considerably less aware of what fresh produce is grown in the UK and when it is in season, a survey by sustainable farming body LEAF has found.

image:Donna Tomlinson
image:Donna Tomlinson

Fewer than three adults in five were aware that British-grown strawberries, arguably our best-known seasonal fruit, were available in summer, while one in five did not know that strawberries or apples were grown here at all.

The figures were worse for those born in the 1990s, one in three of whom were unware that strawberries are grown in the UK. 

On vegetables, only one in three people, and fewer than one in six of under-25s, knew when they could buy British asparagus, with one in ten thinking they could buy it year-round.

Meanwhile barely half knew that UK-grown Brussels sprouts are on sale in December, and here the generation gap was particularly striking, with just 27 per cent of those born in the 1990s knowing this, compared with 73 per cent of those born in the 1950s.

Only four in ten of those questioned understood that buying seasonally supported British farmers.

LEAF's Open Farm Sunday manager Annabel Shackleton said: "Alarmingly there appears to be a decline in knowledge about what UK farmers grow and when to buy homegrown produce.

"The agricultural industry is worth billions to the British economy, so it is important that we know what homegrown produce to look out for when shopping."

LEAF's ninth Open Farm Sunday takes place this Sunday (8 June), with nearly 400 farms opening their gates to the public.

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