According to a new survey released by OnePoll on behalf Tesco, nearly half of 2,000 British respondents say they are eating more vegetables than they did five years ago.
As part of the push to honour and help promote Veganuary, Tesco officials say they are working hard to help UK consumers stick to healthier diets with array of offerings, including highlighting ‘Better Basket’ zones in stores that showcase fresh produce at affordable prices.
The trends are clear: 47% of those polled say they have “deliberately” included veg on their dishes while 82% are trying hard to eat healthy.
“We’re all looking to eat better, especially in January, when we tend to think more about our diet, but it doesn’t have to be a major change to make an impact,” says Neel Shah, Development Chef at Tesco. “It can be as easy as adding one more variety of veg to your Sunday roast, using sweet potatoes for your mash rather than white potatoes, or adding in celery, carrots and courgettes to your pasta sauce.”
There has been a high focus in recent years on making sure children are getting adequate vitamins and eating enough fresh produce. VegPower’s Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign is just one example of successful introduction and embrace of fruits and vegetables into their diets. Shah says, it can be as simple at home as taking a new approach to how they are delivered.
“Using leftover vegetables and cutting them up into small pieces can be a great way to sneak a variety of veggies into recipes like sauces, curries and stews – great for kids as keeping them small they don’t notice,” he says. “It’s the little things that can make a big difference.”
For retailers and foodservice, it’s also about thinking outside the box. Supermarkets can help by providing recipe cards, hints for meals, and ways to stretch those pounds in their produce departments, as well as including more in those takeaway meals. Restaurants can simply add them to their plates in creative ways.
“Getting the family to eat more veg and pulses can be tricky, but for me it’s about adding them to meals where there’s already lots of flavour, like pasta bakes or curries,” Lynn Youthed, a Tesco colleague, says. “That way it’s really easy, doesn’t cost extra, and I don’t need to spend lots of time in the kitchen either. I’ve always got tinned and frozen veg in the house to add to these meals.”
Aside from what the survey says, Tesco’s own numbers indicate several positive trends: avocado sales not surprisingly have jumped 46% since 2021, but others like cucumbers (41%) and asparagus, leeks and baby corn all have risen.
Perhaps the biggest change are on dinner plates, where 45% of those polled say they are eating less meat than in 2019. Even when they are cooking meals with meat, including roast dinners, people say they are consuming more greens (73%) and root veg.