People claim to be eating more fresh food than ever before, especially fruit and vegetables, according to the Food Standards Agency.

In its sixth consumer attitude survey, the FSA also found a 5% rise in the number claiming to eat dairy products to 93% of the 3100 questioned.

But fresh meat, excluding chicken, saw a decline of 5% with less than three-quarters of adults eating it regularly.

And though one in 10 meat-eaters claims to consume more now than a year ago, one in six said they were eating less, and a growing number – nearly 30% – believe they ought to eat less meat.

The Meat and Livestock Commission’s Richard Lowe said:

“It’s certainly not good news for us if that number goes up, but then, the number who say they should eat more meat has also increased a little this year.”

He denied that Government health initiatives were damaging meat sales.

“We would never claim there is an official conspiracy against meat, and indeed, the big picture figures show that more meat is being eaten.”

On the other hand, nearly 90% of respondents thought they ought to eat more vegetables, showing that the government’s five-a-day campaign had found its mark.

But when prompted, almost half said they were still concerned about pesticide usage on farms, animal welfare and animal feed quality.

Disappointingly, country of origin information only interested 22% of those questioned – identical to last year – while interest in production methods dropped 20% to just one in seven.