More than a third of Europeans don't eat their 5-a-day

EU fruit and veg consumption in figures

Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is considered an important element of a healthy and balanced diet. In the European Union (EU) however, slightly more than a third (34.4%) of the population aged 15 or over did not eat them on a daily basis in 2014, while less than 15% (14.1%) consumed at least 5 portions each day. This is the consumption promoted by the EU-wide "5-a-day" campaign, following a recommendation by the World Health Organization that individuals consume "a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers)".

The daily consumption of fruit and vegetables differs widely between EU Member States, with those aged 15 or over not eating fruit and vegetables on a daily basis ranging from almost two-thirds of the population in Romania (65.1%) to slightly over 15% in Belgium (16.5%). On the other hand, the share of those eating at least 5 portions daily varied from a third in the United Kingdom (33.1%) to less than 5% in both Romania (3.5%) and Bulgaria (4.4%).

Different for men and for women, daily consumption of fruit and vegetables seems also to be influenced by the level of education. The higher the education level is, the higher the share of the "5-a-day" population is.

This information, extracted from the European Health Interview Survey, is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the World Food Day (16 October).



More than half of the population do not eat fruit or vegetables every day in Romania and Bulgaria
Among the EU Member States, the lowest share of the population aged 15 or over not eating daily a fruit or a vegetable in 2014 was recorded in Belgium (16.1%), ahead of Portugal (20.7%), the United Kingdom (21.3%), Italy (23.0%), Spain (25.0%), Slovenia (27.0%), Croatia (27.5%) and Greece (30.1%). In contrast, more than half of the population did not eat fruit or vegetables on a daily basis in Romania (65.1%) and Bulgaria (58.6%). They were followed by Latvia (48.5%), Slovakia (46.6%), the Czech Republic (46.3%), the Netherlands (45.9%) and Germany (45.2%).

Highest share of "5-a-day" consumption in the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands
A third of the population aged 15 or over consumed daily at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables in the United Kingdom (33.1%), and a quarter of the population in Denmark (25.9%) and the Netherlands (25.0%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of daily consumption of at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables were registered in Romania (3.5%), Bulgaria (4.4%), Croatia (7.0%), Austria (7.2%), Slovenia (7.5%) and Greece (7.8%). At EU level, 1 in 7 persons (14.1%) aged 15 or over was a "5-a-day" in 2014.



Shares of "5-a-day" differ most between high and low educated people in the United Kingdom, differ least in Greece
In all EU Member States in 2014, the percentage of the population consuming at least five fruit or vegetables each day was higher among those with a high education level than among those with a low education level. Overall in the EU, 18.8% of the highly-educated population aged 15 or over ate at least five portions of fruit or vegetables on a daily basis, while this concerned 12.1% of the population with a low education level (or a 6.7 percentage point difference).

Across Member States, the widest gap between low and high educated persons for "5-a-day" consumption was observed in 2014 in the United Kingdom (40.5% for the part of the population with a high education level vs. 24.9% for that with a low education level, or a 15.6 pp difference), followed by Denmark (14.3 pp difference) and Portugal (11.5 pp difference). In contrast, gaps of less than 2 percentage points were registered in Greece (0.9 pp), Germany and Austria (both 1.6 pp).

Source: Eurostat

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