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UK consumer attitudes, beliefs and barriers to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 1998

David N Cox*
Consumer Sciences Department, Institute of Food Research, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 682, UK
Annie S Anderson
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, UK
Michael EJ Lean
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, UK
David J Mela
Consumer Sciences Department, Institute of Food Research, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 682, UK
*Corresponding author: E-mail:
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To assess attitudes, predictors of intention, and identify perceived barriers to increasing fruit and vegetable (F&V) intakes.


UK nationwide postal survey utilizing the theory of planned behaviour.


Stratified (by social class and region) random sample of 2020 UK adults providing a modest response rate of 37% (n = 741).


Belief measures (e.g. health, cost, taste, etc.) were strongly associated with overall attitudes which were reported as being largely favourable towards fruit, vegetables and, to a lesser extent, vegetable dishes, and were strongly associated with reported intention to increase consumption. Subjects reported they could increase their consumption, but this was only weakly associated with intention to do so. Approximately 50% of respondents reported an intention to increase intakes. Social pressure was strongly associated with reported intention to increase; however, scores indicated low perceived social pressure to change. Evidence of unrealistic optimism concerning perceived intakes and the perceived high cost of fruit may also act as barriers.


Results from this study suggest a lack of perceived social pressure to increase F&V intakes and suggests that public health efforts require stronger and broader health messages that incorporate consumer awareness of low present consumption.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1998


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