New healthy eating group gets govt backing

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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

New healthy eating group gets govt backing

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance was launched in parliament today with aims of expanding the industry to £3.1 billion a year

New healthy eating group gets govt backing

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A new alliance of fruit and vegetable producers has been launched in parliament to get Brits eating 5.7 million more tonnes of fruit and veg each year.

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance brings together representatives from across the sector to develop a vision for horticulture that reflects the health needs of the population, with seven portions of fruit and veg now the recommended intake.

According to the new group, Britain will need to consume 5.7m tonnes more fresh produce every year to meet this target. Alongside imports, it’s calculated that UK growers will have to supply an extra two million more tonnes per year to achieve this.

That would amount to an additional 25 billion portions each year and increasing the sector’s value to £3.1bn.

Farming minister George Eustice said: “It is great to see this initiative to encourage people to eat more of the UK’s excellent fruit and vegetables as way of improving public health. As we set out in our recent consultation, we also want to see food production go hand in hand with our farmers’ work to protect and enhance the natural environment.” 

Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association, added: “The Fruit and Veg Alliance brings together a range of organisations with a shared in interest in promoting the consumption and production of fruit and veg in the UK. It will also help the sector to capitalise on opportunities which arise from Brexit and the introduction of a new domestic agricultural policy.”

The Alliance was launched in Parliament with the support of Helen Whately MP and the APPG for Fruit and Vegetable Growers. Members will form a new Edible Horticulture Roundtable with the backing of Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Roundtable will provide DEFRA with regular advice on edible horticulture and will convene for the first time in the autumn.  

Some of the fresh produce companies and organizations signed up to the alliance include British Growers, British Summer Fruits, G's Fresh, Produce World, Organic Growers Alliance, Soil Association, and Sustain.

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, which runs another healthy eating campaign VegPower, also backed the alliance to create a healthier eating paradigm.

“We desperately need to drive up fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK to support public health, especially for those who don’t have much money. The Alliance is an exciting new mechanism for ensuring UK agriculture policy promotes both the production and consumption of fruit and veg: it’s an innovative and collaborative approach of which we’re thrilled to be a part,” Taylor said.

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