IGD research: over half of consumers claim to have eaten more fruit and vegetables in first lockdown

Date : 16 December 2020

New research from IGD reveals significant opportunity for the food industry to shift consumers’ mindsets around fruit and vegetables.

More than three-quarters (83%) of consumers changed how they planned, purchased and prepared their food during the first national lockdown, with over half (51%) 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 10 consumers think vegetables are not exciting, while almost the same number (38%) perceive healthier, sustainable diets to be more expensive and nearly six in 10 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

Hannah Pearse adds: “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.”

Download the latest Appetite for Change research here.


For media enquiries and interview opportunities please contact [email protected] or 01923 851986

Notes to editors:

  1. IGD is an organisation of two interconnected communities. The profits from Commercial Insight are reinvested into Social Impact, which together work to drive change that makes a tangible difference for society, business and the individual.
  2. Original research conducted September – October 2020, includes nationally representative online quantitative survey with 2,000 UK consumers. A nationally representative sample of 60 UK consumers also completed a 7-day food diary, in-depth one-to-one video interviews with a moderator and online multiple-choice survey answered under time pressure.
  3. *When asked ‘how many portions of fruit and veg do you eat on an average day?’, the self-reported average was 3.4 portions. Yet, two-thirds (66%) believe their diets are ‘healthy enough’.
  4. **As recommended by our national dietary guidelines, The Eatwell Guide
  5. A healthy and sustainable diet is broadly defined as increasing the proportion of foods coming from plant-based sources (e.g. fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholegrain starchy carbohydrates, beans, pulses), reducing meat and dairy (especially red and processed meat), reducing foods high in fat, salt and sugar
  6. Follow IGD’s communications team on Twitter for all the latest retail insights: @Comms_IGD
  7. All content is owned by IGD. If you use or refer to any content in this press release, please credit IGD