This study reports results from a randomized controlled intervention trial, focusing on: (1) the identification of successful consumer strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable intakes to the recommended levels of more than five (80 g) portions per day and (2) impact on overall diet and nutrient intakes. Adult men and women (n 170) fulfilling the main recruitment criterion of eating less than five fruit and vegetable portions per day but contemplating increasing intakes were recruited. Complete valid dietary data was provided by 101 intervention (fifty-nine estimated fruit and vegetable intakes, and forty-two simultaneous weighed total dietary and estimated fruit and vegetable intakes) and twenty-four control subjects (weighed total dietary intakes). Intervention advice included the specific association of high fruit and vegetable intake with reduced risk of disease, practicalities, and portion definition with a target intake of greater than five 80 g fruit and vegetable portions per day for 8 weeks. There were significant effects (P < 0·001) on weighed intakes of fruit and vegetables in the intervention group, rising from 324 (se 25) to 557 (se 31) g/d and reflected by validated portion measures at 8 weeks intervention. Successful strategies chosen by ‘achievers’ of the target intake (65% of subjects) were conventional (fruit as a snack, vegetables with main meals etc.) and favoured fruit. There were significant increases in percentage energy from carbohydrate (from sugars not starch), vitamin C, carotenes and NSP and there was a significant decrease in percentage energy from fat for subjects who had high fat intakes (> 35% energy) at baseline. Follow-up self-reported measures at 6 and 12 months indicated mean intakes of 4·5 and 4·6 defined portions/d respectively, suggesting some sustainable effect. In conclusion, the intervention led to significant increases in fruit and vegetable intakes largely via conventional eating habits, with some desirable effects on macro- and micronutrient intakes.