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'UK should introduce a Horticulture Strategy to boost fruit and vegetable consumption and production'

The UK currently produces just 35% of its total fruit and vegetable supply. If it was to increase fruit and vegetable consumption to 7 portions a day, total supply would need to increase by 89%.
A robust, long-term horticulture strategy is needed. Any strategic plan to increase fruit and vegetable production must be coupled with efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. This would provide opportunities for policy win-wins, bringing health benefits, and benefits for the environment, employment opportunities, and food security.

Current supply chains are vulnerable to climate shocks, as demonstrated by recent shortages in supermarkets. However, the UK itself has relatively stable weather, allowing for significant expansion of its horticulture sector.

Disparity in consumption of fruits and vegetables is widening
Recent data from The Food Foundation's Food Insecurity Tracker shows that in the UK, 60% of households experiencing food insecurity in January 2024 are cutting back on purchasing fruits, and 44% are cutting back on purchasing vegetables.

In terms of affordability, findings from the Food Foundation's Kids Food Guarantee revealed that a week's worth of fruit and veg for one person (equivalent to at least 35 portions) would cost between £8.67 and £13.24 depending on the retailer.

This means that the poorest 10% of UK households may have to spend between 34- 52% of one person's weekly food budget to afford a week's worth of 5-a-day. In contrast, the wealthiest 10% of families would only need to allocate 17-26% for the same purpose.

This report also revealed that over 1 in 7 (14%) of the lowest priced fruit and veg available across the 7 major retailers contain added salt and/or sugar (e.g. baked beans, tinned peas or tomato sauce). This is concerning, given that fruit and veg products with added salt or sugar are not within the scope of the Healthy Start Scheme, limiting the options for low-income families to afford their 5-a-day.

Click here to read the full report.


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