New research suggests that increasing the availability of lower grade fresh fruit and vegetables may not be the answer to increasing its consumption.
The research by Cranfield University set out to understand what affects fruit and vegetable demand. Of those surveyed, the research identified that the fresh produce industry perceived that the '5-a-day' message has had little to no impact alone on fruit and vegetable demand. Results also revealed, through structured interviews, that some suppliers feared that promotions are being overused in the current climate.
Another key finding from the research was that employment status has had a significant effect on some fruit and vegetable purchasing - apples, potatoes and strawberries.Those working 'Under 8 hrs', 'Unemployed' or in 'Full time Education' purchased significantly lower amounts of standard and value lines compared to those in full-time employment or retired groups.
Professor Leon Terry, Cranfield's lead researcher, said: "Supplier perception is that it is unclear whether consumers fully understand promotions and indeed the true price of different fruit and vegetable lines as they have little to properly benchmark prices against. This potential problem represents a real risk and one that needs further consideration. Critically, the report identified that there is an evidence gap in our understanding about the potential impact of consumer attitudes to certain fresh produce types and that the demand drivers are likely to be produce specific."
The complete report is available online: randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=17802