Fruit checks boxes for sweet and healthy, so why is consumption so stubbornly low?

According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 2020 State of the Plate report, which is published every five years, the average US adults eats just 1.6 cups of the recommended 2 to 4 cups of vegetables a day and less than 1 cup of the recommended 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit a day. As if this weren’t bad enough – these numbers are dropping … fast​ ​

PBH’s report​, conducted by The NPD Group, found since 2004, vegetable consumption frequency dropped 16% with a dip of 4% in the past five years, and juice consumption is down 15% since 2004, including 8% in the past five years . And while fruit eating occasions are up 10% between 2004 and 2020, it wasn’t enough to overcome net declines.

The decline in produce consumption comes against a backdrop of increased awareness about the role nutrition plays in health and wellness and a stated desire by many Americans to eat more nutrient-dense, fiber-rich produce.

So, what gives? Why is fruit and vegetable consumption so stubbornly low? And what can industry do to help reverse this trend? Weighing in on the challenges and opportunities facing the segment in this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts Podcastare stakeholders from across the fruit industry gathered at the Food Nutrition Conference & Expo in Orlando last month, including family-owned wild blueberry brand Wyman’s, the prune and apricot marketing cooperative Sunsweet Growers and the Northwest Pear Bureau.

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