Scotland sees rise in fresh produce consumption

A lot of the traditional dietary items associated with Scotland don't immediately bring to mind the healthiest of options - deep fried Mars bars and haggis, washed down with Irn-Bru and a wee dram or two. However, research would suggest that the stereotype is largely unfounded.

In fact, Scots are purchasing more fresh fruits and vegetables than other Britons. The research shows that Scots are more likely to cook fresh foods at home, buy fresh foods and choose food because of its healthiness than those south of the border. The study was carried out by Kantar Worldpanel.

Just over 19% of Scottish people say that health is a primary reason for choosing food to eat at home, up from 17% in 2008. Health is a motivating factor for 21.5% of English and Welsh people, but this is down from 23% in 2008.

However, marketers should still view consumers north of the border differently, says Mark Thomson, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel. "Scotland is different to the rest of Britain."

Cooking from scratch is one reason why eating healthily is becoming more popular in Scotland. For example, 44% of the soup consumed by Scots is homemade, compared with 22% for England and Wales.

"Scottish consumers definitely make more trips to the shops and they interact with stores more often. They also spend less per trip, so it is slightly less planned when they shop and a bit more spontaneous."

Scottish consumers make an average of 292 trips per year to grocery shops, compared with the English and the Welsh who make just 260 trips on average.

According to the research Scots appear to be happy to spend more of their cash on organic food, being 9% more likely to do so than those in Britain as a whole.

The average spend per shopper on fruit and vegetables is also higher in Scotland than south of the border, with an average of £6.40 more being spent per year compared with the average increase across Britain, which is £4.70.

Thomson says the increase in healthy eating is partly attributable to Scottish government drives to promote good dietary habits, especially in children. Fruit is particularly popular with kids, with 23% of fruit being eaten because it is "a favourite," up from 15% in 2010. Children also consumed 11 million more servings of fruit last year than they did in 2010.

Thomson adds that retailers recognise Scotland's purchasing habits and respond to them, offering such things as local supplier days and a lot of them are placing more and more emphasis on buying fresh produce locally.


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