Opinion

Family Food survey reveals fruit and veg decline

Professor Buttriss: ‘Purchases of fruit and vegetables have continued to decline’

The 75th annual government survey of UK food purchasing, now called the Family Food survey, was published in March.

The 2015 survey reveals that while reduced fat milk purchases have been fairly stable over the past decade and whole milk has declined, whole milk purchases have risen recently and butter has been increasing steadily for the past decade.

It’s tempting to suggest this is the result of media coverage questioning advice on saturated fat.

Household purchases of sugar-sweetened soft drinks fell by 16% between 2012 and 2015, and calories from non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) have continued to fall gradually but remain in excess of recommendations.

NMES are 12.8% of energy

NMES estimates are 12.8% of energy in 2015 compared with 14.8% in 2001/2.

But household purchases of fresh and processed fruit and vegetables have continued to decline since the peak in 2005/6.

Average purchases are lowest in lower income households (almost a serving a day less than the national average in 2015).

Dietary fibre has risen slightly since 2014 but remains below the estimates published 10 years ago and is well below recommendations, fuelled by long-term falls in bread and potato purchases.

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