Eating more fruit and vegetables tops the list of shopper health priorities, says IGD

Eating more fruit and vegetables tops the list of shopper health priorities, says IGD
IGD’s Appetite for Change research identified a series of practical actions to help drive behaviour change and encourage consumers to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Nearly nine in 10 shoppers (86%) are actively trying to improve their diet in some way, with eating more fruit and vegetables cited as the top aspiration, according to the Institute of Grocery Disbritution.

“From the very start of the first lockdown, consumer behaviour changed in many ways and we’ve been keeping a close eye on how food behaviours continue to evolve.  In our latest Appetite for Change research, it was fascinating to discover that more than three-quarters (83%) of consumers changed how they planned, purchased and prepared their food in the first lockdown and over half (51%) claimed to have eaten more fruit and vegetables” says Natasha Maynard, Nutrition & Scientific Affairs Manager at IGD.

“Sales of green vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and even sprouts surged, as people in lockdown had more time on their hands, return to scratch cooking2.


Despite these new habits, most people still fall short of the governments recommendation to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

“When we asked people about their fruit and vegetable intake during lockdown, the self-reported average was just 3.4 portions of fruit and vegetables each day” said Natasha.

At a national level, the latest data suggests 70% of adults are not meeting the 5 A Day target and there has been little change to total fruit and vegetable intakes this decade4.

“We identified cost to be the biggest barrier to change, both before COVID-19 (Nov ’19) and during the pandemic (July ’20), with 38% of consumers thinking healthy and sustainable eating is more expensive5. Other barriers include people liking the taste of their current food (24%), being creatures of habit (23%), lack of convenience (18%) and a lack of familiarity (17%)5.

Shifting mindsets

“In our latest report, we learnt that people hold onto certain beliefs that can act as barriers to making positive changes. For example, four in 10 consumers think vegetables are not exciting and nearly six in 10 avoid buying certain vegetables because they don’t know what to do with them3. This presents a significant opportunity to shift consumers’ mindsets around fruit and vegetables.”

The five step approach involves signposting – helping consumers know what counts towards five-a-day; placement – making the healthier choice the easier choice;product – pack in more fruit and veg; influence – lead the change and incetivise trial of healthier products.