CONSUMERS in Britain are eating two thirds less vegetables than is recommended by health experts.

According to government guidance on a healthy diet, 20% of our shopping should be made up of vegetables, but, in reality, on average UK shoppers only fill 7.2% of their basketspace with them – and Scottish consumers are even worse, with their veg shopping percentage sitting at 6.6%, while Welsh shoppers purchase 7.1% and the English purchase 7.3%.

Nourish Scotland director, Pete Ritchie, said: "No-one is covered in glory with these figures, but it’s clear we have a particular challenge to raise our game in Scotland.

"As part of Peas Please, Nourish is working with Scotland Food and Drink on a new industry strategy to raise both production and consumption of fruit and vegetables in Scotland.”

Figures from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggest that 20,000 premature deaths in the UK every year could be avoided if Britons ate more vegetables.

Food Foundation director, Anna Taylor, commented: “Education programmes designed to get people to eat more veg have had limited success. We need to change tack and look at all parts of the food supply chain and ask ourselves what more we can do to make it easier for consumers to eat more veg.

“We are publishing a new online guide, which is packed with practical ideas for retailers, big and small, to increase their fresh, frozen and tinned vegetable sales," she added. "International and domestic case studies in our guide show that a strong vegetable offer can boost profits, so we hope they’ll be interested.”

As part of this initiative, project partners are to hold a Vegetable Summit, taking place simultaneously in London, Cardiff and Glasgow on October 24, 2017.