Tesco free fruit and veg

Over half UK consumers said they ate more fruit and veg during lockdown 1

More than three-quarters (83 per cent) of consumers changed how they planned, purchased and prepared their food during the first national lockdown, with over half (51 per cent) claiming to have eaten more fruit and vegetables, according to the latest research in IGD’s Appetite for Change series.

The latest IGD data, drawn from 2,000 UK consumers through September and October 2020, shows there is a unique opportunity for the food and consumer goods industry to act now, to help consumers turn positive new habits adopted over the last few months into long-term changes to their diets.

Hannah Pearse, head of nutrition and scientific affairs at IGD, said: “In the first lockdown, we saw the majority of consumers adopting new food behaviours such as cooking more from scratch and spending more time preparing meals. Many of these new behaviours also had a positive impact on people’s diets; for example, those who participated in a weight loss plan, bought a fruit or vegetable box or cooked more from scratch also claimed to have eaten more fruit and vegetables.

“This is all hugely encouraging when it comes to ways we can support people to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. With most consumers still only eating 3.4 portions of their recommended 5 A Day intake, we know that significant barriers remain around habit, cost and confidence. Our research shows four in ten consumers think vegetables are not exciting, while almost the same number (38 per cent) perceive healthier, sustainable diets to be more expensive and nearly six in ten avoid buying certain vegetables because they don’t know what to do with them.

“Our research clearly demonstrates food and drink companies have a unique opportunity to act now and help consumers turn positive new behaviours into long term changes to their diets.”

IGD has identified a series of practical actions that businesses can take to help drive behaviour change and encourage consumers to eat more fruit and vegetables. These include:

Using positive language and imagery to market plant-based meals and meals containing extra vegetables
Creating striking displays of local and seasonal fruit and vegetables, in-store and online
Inspiring consumers to swap ingredients in their favourite recipes
Using online meal planners, giving shoppers the option of adding ingredients to an online basket as they go

Pearse added: “From really effective marketing and product placement to meal planning and recipe inspiration, there are lots of really practical actions businesses can take to help shift consumer behaviour further towards healthy and sustainable diets. As an industry we all have a role to play in helping encourage this positive behaviour, and if we come together our impact will be much greater.”