UK responds to health message with big rise in fruit and veg shopping

In collaboration with the Press Association

UK shoppers appear to be responding to health messages, with the amount spent on fruit and vegetables growing to a record amount in 2006, government figures show.

Household spending on fruit rose 12.9 per cent last year and 6.3 per cent on vegetables. In comparison, the amount of money spent on sweets, soft drinks and alcohol fell.

The figures showed an increase in the amount of dietary fibre consumed, while the amount of fruit bought would suggest vitamin C consumption increased 6.8 per cent.

Furthermore, there appeared to be a switch from whole to semi-skimmed milk, as well as a decrease in the proportion of fat in people?s diets.

"These healthier trends in food purchases are promising," minister for sustainable food and housing Jeff Rooker told the BBC.

"But we cannot be complacent, and must continue to encourage these trends, through healthy eating initiatives like the five-a-day programme."

Eating a varied diet containing plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit can help to reduce the risk of cancer, said Cancer Research UK.

A healthy diet and maintaining a suitable bodyweight are key parts of the charity?s Reduce the Risk campaign.