According to the latest VEG FACTS 2021 report, neither adults nor children in the UK are consuming enough vegetables to meet the government’s EAT WELL GUIDE recommendations. This is likely to have a long-term impact on the nation's health, as diets low in vegetables and legumes are associated with almost 18,000 premature deaths a year.
Children and teenagers continue to be consuming far too few vegetables with 29% of 5-10-year-olds eating less than a portion of veg a day and only 6% of 11-16-year-olds eating the amount of vegetables recommended in the Eatwell Guide. The report also highlights where children are getting their vegetables from with over a fifth of children’s and teenager’s vegetable intake now coming from foods classed as Ultra Processed which are often high in salt, sugar, and fat. Baked beans and pizza together contribute 16% of children’s vegetable intake.
The affordability of vegetables is also highlighted in the report as being a major factor in low consumption rates. Calorie for calorie, foods high in sugar or fat are a third of the price of the cost of vegetables.
If the population started to consume the recommended ‘Five a day’ of fruit and vegetables, it would increase the value of UK veg production by £261 million.