19 June 2001
Dietary campaign may help growers

By Alistair Driver

GROWERS could reap long-term benefits from a campaign to boost health by encouraging people to eat more fruit and veg, claims the UKs biggest retailer.

Tesco is launching a campaign with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to help reduce cancer through by raising awareness about the importance of diet.

The retailer is encouraging its customers to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day for the whole of July.

The in-store Take 5 a day message will be promoted by posters, and advice on diet and preparation of fruit and vegetables.

Consumption of fresh vegetables reached its lowest level for 10 years in the first quarter of 2001, according to the National Food Survey.

Fruit consumption is also down on last year.

Speaking at the launch in London on Tuesday (19 June) morning, Tesco marketing director Tim Mason said there is huge scope for expanding demand.

Potentially we could sell so much more it is frightening, he said.

He said the retailer will continue to work with suppliers, at home and abroad, to ensure high-quality produce is available to back the campaign.

Tesco spokesman David Sawday admitted there are no immediate plans to increase the amount of produce sourced form the UK.

But if campaigns like this help boost demand in the long-term, UK growers will benefit, he said.

Dr Tim Key, ICRF diet and cancer expert, said dietary factors are estimated to be responsible for 30% of cancers.

High intakes of fruit and vegetables are believed to reduce the risk for various types of cancer, particularly of the stomach and oesophagus.

He said a report to be published this week will show that people in the UK eat less than half the fruit and vegetables consumed in southern European countries.

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