U.K.: Sainsbury's vegetable sales jump on UCL recommendation

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U.K.: Sainsbury's vegetable sales jump on UCL recommendation

British supermarket chain Sainsbury's has reported a massive growth in vegetable sales, attributing the consumption spurt to a study that recommended an increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake from five to seven portions. shutterstock_130222487 celery

A press statement issued Monday by the multinational grocery retailer claims that over the last week, sales of fine beans and celery both skyrocketed by 116%, onion sales were up by 95%, carrot purchases rose 69%, cucumber sales increased by 46% and red pepper sales jumped by 41%.

"We have long been committed to helping customers to eat their five a day and it seems that this new study has sparked some new enthusiasm for the challenge," Sainsbury's head of produce Charlotte Rhodes said in the release.

"We are happy to help customers add more fresh fruit and vegetable to their baskets without sacrificing on value."

It has been more than a decade since the 'eat five a day' message was first mooted by the British Government’s Department of Health and it quickly became a mantra associated with healthy eating habits.

Over the years there have been hundreds of marketing campaigns and education programs designed to compound the message to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, sometimes causing confusion over what constitutes one portion.

Elsewhere in Europe the five a day message was also used by France and Germany, while in the U.S. a 'fruits and veggies – more matters’ campaign was launched in 2007,  focusing on simply eating more fresh produce rather than setting specific targets.

However, last week the amount of fresh produce people should consume hit the headlines following the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health publication of a study carried out by scientists at the University College London.

The new findings suggest seven portions a day is a better target. Initially there was much confusion over the presentation of the seven a day message with early reports in the British press claiming that it was actually an April Fools spoof. It wasn't.

The UCL study, written by DR Oyinlola Oyebode and colleagues from the department of epidemiology at UCL, claims eating seven portions a day can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer, among many other health benefits.

According to the initial press release issued by UCL, "eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion".

The eating habits of 65,226 people were studied between 2001 and 2013.

"Eating seven or more portions reduced the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively," the UCL release added.

The new recommendation is directly aimed at the British public because the U.K. still has one of the highest rates of heart disease in Europe, which is partly blamed on a culture of unhealthy eating habits including a high fat and sugar diet.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



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