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The Fruit & Vegetable Alliance

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance is a diverse group of producer organisations who are unified by a desire to get the nation eating more fruit and vegetables. Through its work, the Alliance will strive to increase production and consumption and develop a clear and coherent vision and plan for the sector, one based on the health needs of the population and supported by Government.

Michael Gove has said that “We can design a more rational and sensitive agriculture policy which promotes environmental enhancement, supports profitable food production and contributes to a healthier society” and we believe that driving up domestic production and consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK should be a core part of that strategy.

There is a huge opportunity – and need – to drive up fruit and vegetable consumption and production in the UK. UK Government dietary advice, captured in the Eatwell Guide, recommends eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day (Public Health England, 2016). This equates to 15 million MT of fruit and veg. But currently we only eat 9.3 million MT of fruit and veg, of which 5.5 million MT are imported. Accepting that the UK will always need to import some produce, the opportunity for UK production amounts to an additional two million MT.

Horticulture to date has not had the support it requires to flourish. ‘Seven a day’ translates to 40% of each person’s diet consisting of fruit and vegetables (Scarborough et al., 2016, Public Health England, 2016) yet currently only 1% of £3 billion in direct agriculture payments go to horticulture.

This is why UK fruit and vegetable producers, large and small scale, along with initiatives working to drive up consumption of fruit and vegetables such as Peas Please, are coming together to form a new Fruit and Vegetable Alliance. The Alliance will form a new Edible Horticulture Roundtable that is also being launched with the support of DEFRA.

The full who, what, why and how of the Fruit & Vegetable Alliance is available here, along with a press release announcing the Alliance’s launch and an infographic illustrating the opportunities to support fruit and vegetable production and consumption in the UK.