15 September 1997
Britons are eating healthier – report

By Boyd Champness

BRITONS are eating healthier than ever before, according to the National Food Surveys quarterly report released today.

Consumption of red meat, white meat, bread, fresh green vegetables, other fresh vegetables, processed vegetables and fruit were all up for the second quarter of 1997 when compared with the same period in 1996.

The average Briton cut back on consumption of fats, cakes and biscuits in the second quarter of 1997, when compared with 1996.

Household consumption of beef and veal in the second quarter of 1997 was only 112g per person per week, when compared with 117g for the first quarter of 1997.

But, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods national report, the fall was much less than expected, providing evidence that the recovery in consumption is still continuing. Consumers apparently eat more salads than hot meat dishes during the summer months, the ministry said.

Yet beef consumption is definitely up when compared with this time last year. Consumption slumped following the Governments announcement in March 1996 that there was a possible link between BSE and the fatal human brain disease CJD.

It fell from 121g per person per week in 1995, to 101g in 1996. However, so far this year, consumption is running at 114.5g after collating the first two quarters.

But this rise in beef consumption has impacted on other meats, namely pork and lamb, which enjoyed a boom during the BSE crisis and are now slowly declining.

Household consumption of fresh green vegetables rose to its highest second-quarter level since 1990. The main contribution to the increase over the past year came from cauliflower, up 14%.

With lower prices, household consumption of fresh fruit increased by 15%. Banana consumption reached a new record of 217g per person per week.