Shoppers in the UK are buying more and more fruit and vegetables, according to latest DEFRA figures.

Key Findings (comparing 2005-06 with previous year):

* Quantities of fruit and vegetables, excluding potatoes, purchased for the household were 7.7% higher in 2005-06, continuing an increasing trend.

* Household expenditure rose by 12.9% for fruit and by 6.3% for vegetables, excluding potatoes.

* Households are continuing to switch from whole milk to semi skimmed milk. Quantities of purchases of whole milk decreased by 3.8% in 2005-06 whilst those of semi-skimmed milk increased by 3.3%.

* Household expenditure rose by 5.3% for fish, 5.1% for cheese, 5.0% for eggs and 4.9% for milk.

* Total expenditure on all food and drink rose by 1.7% to
£34.97 per person per week.

The year 2005-06 saw the largest increase in purchases in the last twenty years, as shown by results from the Expenditure and Food Survey.

The results also show that people are buying less confectionary, and soft drinks and indicate a decline in purchases of alcoholic drinks both for the household and in pubs and restaurants.

Household expenditure also rose for cheese, eggs and milk, with a continuing switch from whole milk to semi-skimmed milk. There was also an increase in intake of fibre.

Junior DEFRA minister Jeff Rooker, said: “These healthier trends in food purchases are promising, but we cannot be complacent, and must continue to encourage these trends, through healthy eating initiatives, like the 5 A DAY programme.

“Consumers must remember that the food choices they make can have a big difference not only to their health, but to their environment, and our countryside.”