People in Britain are eating fewer vegetables despite the government spending millions on its 5-a-day campaign, a report has claimed.
Fresh produce trade group Freshfel Europe reported that only 1% more fruit was eaten in 2008, compared with the previous five-year average, and the amount of vegetables eaten fell by 11%, The Grocer trade magazine claimed.
Overall consumption of fruit in Europe was down by 1% while vegetable consumption fell by 14%. The average person in Europe ate 199kg of fruit and vegetables over the five-year period, an overall drop of 8%.
The government has tried to promote healthy eating through a variety of initiatives, such as 5-a-day, Change4Life and the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.
A government spokeswoman told The Grocer that the Department of Health spent £3.3m in four years on the 5-a-day campaign alone.
Nigel Jenney, who heads the Fresh Produce Consortium, which represents companies involved in the industry, told The Grocer it is "vital that we focus efforts on generic campaigns to encourage people of all ages to eat fresh fruit and vegetables".
"I too have feedback from patients after the news article on not beneficial in cancer. Patients have extrapolated that to mean that its not beneficial at all! This was same with the aspirin article recently in not beneficial in primary prevention of CVD-but some patients with existing CVD have or considered stopping it!" - Moira O'Neill, Glasgow
"I agree with Carol, but find the majority of people I see are just fed up with being told what to eat/drink and how to live their lives. Health fascism is the biggest turn off for education" - Maureen Armstrong, Newcastle
"The recent news announcement that consumption of fruit and vegetables was unlikely to reduce the risk of developing cancer seems to have omitted a vital message. The important message here is the effect of consuming fresh fruit and vegetables on reducing the risk of developing heart disease or experiencing stroke, or more especially promoting health and wellbeing. The British public (or is it the media?) seem more moved by the possibility of developing cancer than either of these other two devastating conditions. Ideally the government (whoever it may be) ought to change its tactic in alerting the public to prevention of cardiovascular disease or, perhaps more importantly, up its game in promoting health through an appropriate diet, rather than the avoidance of disease. However, I rather think this latter message would fall on stony ground. We simply don't value health, and only marginally, the absence of disease" - Carol Taylor, Cheshire