Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Market Analysis: Welsh Households Top Of The Shops For Buying Veg

04 November 2013

In the first of a regular series, Horticulture Wales’ new Market Analyst Katina Davies shines a light on some of the statistics, market data, and trends that are relevant to the Welsh horticulture sector. In this article, she reveals that households in Wales purchase more vegetables than anywhere else in the UK, even though they spend on average the least amount per week on food and drink…

Wales eats 42% more cabbage than rest of UKEvery year, DEFRA conducts an on-going survey of household consumption across the UK called Family Food, which includes collecting data on food and drink purchasing patterns.  Around 6,000 households are sampled, of which just under 800 are based here in Wales. 

Published in April this year and covering the three years up to 2011, the latest results showed Wales had the lowest average weekly spend on household food and drink at £24.15, along with lowest overall spending on food and drink (including eating out) at £37.05.  However, between 2009 and 2011, households in Wales actually purchased the most vegetables of all four countries in the UK - on average each person bought four portions of fruit or veg a day. On a slightly less positive (and healthy!) note, households in Wales also bought the most sugar, preserves, and alcoholic drinks. 

The figures also show the difference in the purchasing of fruit and veg for rural and urban households in Wales compared to UK averages.  The sample of households surveyed in Wales during the research is comparatively small at around 800, with an average of two adults and 0.4 children per house, which means that the wider figures could vary considerably.  However, the results suggest some interesting trends, which may reflect patterns of differing regional availability.

In terms of the quantities purchased per person per week, the top five fresh fruit and veg for both
Wales and the rest of the UK are similar – bananas, apples, carrots, onions (including leeks and shallots), and miscellaneous fresh veg.  Comparing the rest of the top 10 for the UK and Wales highlights some noticeable differences though.


Top 10 Fresh Fruit or Vegetables in terms of grams purchased per person per week:
Fruit or Vegetables UK (2011) Wales (2009-2011 average)
Bananas 1 1
Apples 2 2
Miscellaneous Fresh Veg 3 5
Onions 4 4
Carrots 5 3
Tomatoes 6 6
Other Citrus Fruit 7 7
Marrow/Courgette/Aubergine/ Pumpkin 8 18
Cauliflower 9 8
Fresh Stone Fruit 10 11
Grapes 11 9
Leafy Salads 12 10


Looking wider at the top 20 fresh fruits and vegetables suggest even more considerable variations.  Compared to the UK as a whole, per week, households in Wales purchase:

  • 42% more cabbages
  • 16% more root veg
  • 13% more carrots
  • 37% less marrows/courgettes/ pumpkins/aubergines
  • 22% less miscellaneous fresh veg
  • 14% less citrus fruits (other). 

Compared to the three year averages for Wales as a whole, in 2011 urban households across the principality purchased 46% more fresh soft fruit, 25% less other fresh fruit, 24% less other fresh root veg and 20% less fresh cabbages. 

By contrast, rural households purchased 74% more cabbages, 38% more other root veg, 30% more marrow/courgette/pumpkin/aubergines, 23% less oranges and 21% less other fresh fruit.

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