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UK: New data highlights that families are purchasing fewer vegetables

Veg Power, the not-for-profit alliance to increase vegetable consumption across the UK, launched a new campaign, ‘Simply Veg,’ today to support parents and carers to get more veg into their families during these challenging economic times. Developed in response to worrying new retail sales data that vegetable sales have rapidly decreased to only 6.3% of retail basket value, a reduction of 9% compared to the same period last year.

These findings are consistent with You Gov survey results in which 26% of people stated they had bought fewer fresh vegetables because of the increase in the price of their groceries, increasing to 49% in lower-income families. Furthermore, an analysis of the 2008 financial crisis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows a 7.81% drop in vegetables as a share of overall calories, with couples with small children among the worst affected. That pattern appears to be repeating again in this financial crisis.

Dan Parker, Chief Executive, Veg Power, commented, “This new data suggests that we’re seeing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis whereby shoppers are responding by spending the same amount on food but reducing the number of items in their basket. That means difficult choices. Unfortunately, it appears that vegetables are proving to be one of the first items to be sacrificed, despite only a small increase in their price compared to other food items. Our worry is that these new shopping patterns become a habit that stays after the cost-of-living crisis has eased and will ultimately have a negative impact on the health of our nation. We need to support people to keep the vegetables in their basket, and by joining Simply Veg, parents and carers will be able to serve more sustainable, healthy, and affordable food that their families will love.”

Anna Taylor, Executive Director of The Food Foundation said, “With rising food insecurity and the spiraling cost of living, we are facing a situation that forces many low-income households to spend less on food and cooking to make ends meet. Vegetables are increasingly being seen as an unaffordable luxury, and we are seeing signs of a worrying decline in sales. Simply Veg is a much-needed platform for supporting struggling families with the advice and guidance they need to keep their children properly nourished and to avoid the long-term health consequences of a diet without enough vegetables.”

Simply Veg has been developed to support all parents and carers, offering simple, easy ideas from an impressive panel of experts providing the latest advice to help reduce the impact on families’ budgets, encourage acceptance by children and decrease the amount of food waste. Veg Power has mobilized many of its grassroots supporters with over 4,000 posters going up in schools, GP surgeries, public buildings, and community sites across the UK.

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