UK consumers (with internet access) are almost three times more likely than Europeans as a whole to consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Fresh Foods – which surveyed more than 29,000 internet respondents in 58 countries – shows that more than one in five (22%) UK consumers has at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day compared to about one in twelve (8%) across Europe.
“The fact the UK is far ahead of Europe suggests the successful impact the Department of Health’s ‘5 a day’ programme has had on the British public over the last decade,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight. “The global average is just 10% whilst in Germany, which has a similar ‘5 am Tag’ initiative, it’s a meagre 2%.”
Following the UK, the Irish (18%) and Swiss (14%) are most likely to consume ‘5 a day’ in Europe whilst Croatians (0%) and the Polish and Portuguese (both 1%) are the least likely. Comparing global regions, Asia-Pacific consumers are most likely (12%), while Latin Americans (5%) are the least likely to consume ‘5 a day.’
The fresh food economy
A corresponding 2012 Nielsen Shopper Trends Survey revealed, despite their greater consumption of fruit and vegetables, Britons devote less of their total monthly food, grocery and personal care spend (€293) to fresh foods (40%) than every other European country measured except Norway (33%).
On average, Europeans allocate 46% of their €333 monthly spend to fresh food; Romanians devote the most (63%) followed by the Irish (53%).
In Asia-Pacific, fresh foods account for as much as 60% of food, grocery, and personal care spend; in the U.S. it’s 30%, and in Latin America, 25 percent.
Although sales of fresh foods continue to perform well in all parts of the world, they are not immune to price pressures. More than half (52%) of respondents globally said rising food prices affect their purchasing of fresh foods, with meat and poultry categories impacted most (54%).
Large retailers far more dominant in UK
For Europeans, as with North Americans, good value for the money and convenience are the most important factors in choosing a retailer for fresh foods, whereas freshness is most important among Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East/Africa respondents.
And UK consumers love to use bigger stores. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, specifically, eight in ten (81%) Britons buy them from supermarkets or hypermarkets, compared to just over half (53%) of Europeans.
Watkins said: “The market for fresh food sales in the UK – as it is in Holland, Ireland and Israel – is dominated by large retailers over smaller specialist stores and markets. These retailers have been very adept at understanding how important freshness is in the eyes of consumers, and providing an in-store experience, good customer service and competitive pricing that encourages shoppers to buy fresh foods.”