Irish people not hitting healthy eating targets

Oisí­n and Hannah Smyth on Harfords Vegetable Farm in Lusk, Co Dublin launching Bord Bia's 'Best in Season' campaign which promotes the benefits of eating locally grown, in-season fresh produce. (Picture: Marc O'Sullivan)

Irish people have increased their daily intake of fruit and vegetables, with the growth being driven by the 18 – 34 age group, for whom the health benefits of fresh produce is increasingly important.

Compared to a similar study carried out in 2017, daily consumption of fresh vegetables has increased by 7% to 58%, with fresh fruit consumption up 6% to 51%.

However, the study also revealed that people are consuming on average 3.9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, less than the Healthy Eating Guidelines of up to 7 servings.

Additionally, while 87% of consumers are eating fresh fruit and vegetables 3-4 times each week, just over five in ten people eat fresh produce daily.

The research revealed that almost half (49%) of consumers believe the most important in-store factor driving their purchase decision is the appearance of fresh produce.

Additionally, 46% claim to manage the amount they buy in order to avoid food waste.

The study also identified a number of barriers to eating fresh fruit and vegetables including: Habitual shopping and consumption patterns – 46% of people claim to buy the same produce week-on-week and 33% know what they are going to buy before they go shopping; Health benefits lack specificity and tangibility – while the ‘five a day’ message is strongly embedded, and people are claiming to eat more fruit and vegetables, the majority are only managing to consume 3 to 4 portions a day; and Lack of confidence in cooking and preparing, with 28% saying they would buy more fruit and vegetables if they knew how to store it to prolong freshness.

Best in Season Campaign

To promote the benefits of eating locally grown, in-season fresh produce, Bord Bia has launched a ‘Best in Season’ Campaign that highlights the taste, texture and vibrancy of colour of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables.

To further encourage cooking with fresh produce and to find out more about what is currently in season, along with some inspiring recipe ideas, visit