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

Market Analysis: Wales ‘Loves Its Greens’!

03 April 2014

People in Wales eat the most green vegetables in the UK and care more about local sourcing, but are the most cost-conscious and amongst the least likely to use seasonal produce, according to new research.

Love Your GreensAs part of its ‘Love Your Greens’ campaign to encourage parents and children to consume more green veg, the Brassica Growers Association has conducted a survey to find out the British public’s real views on cabbages, cauliflowers, and other such produce.

And as far as the Welsh public is concerned, the results are broadly positive:

  • Wales buys the highest proportion of not only brassicas, but all vegetables in general compared to any other region
  • Parents in Wales are also far more likely to include brassicas in their children’s diets than any other part of the UK
  • However, people in Wales are amongst the least likely to use in-season produce, along with the North East and North West of England, and the West Midlands.

The investigation also identified some fascinating findings into what factors are important when shoppers are considering buying vegetables:

  • Price: nearly 9-out-of-10 people in Wales (88%) felt that price was an important factor, the highest level in the UK and significantly above the national average of 82%
  • Local Sourcing: similarly, more people in Wales (70%) than anywhere else claimed whether vegetables were locally-sourced or not was an important influence on their buying habits (UK average of 56%)
  • British Provenance: with 74% agreeing that it was important that vegetables were grown on a British farm – not necessarily a ‘local’ one though – consumers in Wales again ranked highest, compared to a UK average of 60%
  • Seasonality: Wales came third behind Yorkshire and the Humber and North East England, although 61% claimed it was an important consideration, still above the national average
  • Appearance: with 4-out-of-5 people ranking on-shelf appearance of vegetables as important, Wales was second behind only the North East of England (91%)
  • Organic: while only 27% of people in Wales claimed this was an important issue for them, this was still above the UK average, although well below highest rating in London (38%).

The Wider Picture


Savoy Cabbage (180px * 143px)With the UK green veg sector estimated to be worth more than £550 million a year, there’s little wonder why the Brassica Growers Association was keen to get an insight into current consumer trends and opinions. And looking at its survey as a whole, rather than purely from a Welsh perspective, there were plenty of other interesting findings too:

  • Men are more likely to eat brassicas for health and nutritional reasons, whereas women are more influenced by taste
  • Men are slightly more inclined to include brassicas in their children’s diet and use in-season produce than women
  • Brussels sprouts was, perhaps unsurprisingly due to its links to the festive period, the vegetable most commonly eaten in-season
  • Only 21% of respondents agreed with the view that ‘British people eat enough brassica vegetables’
  • Nearly 1-in-10 people still haven’t tried broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, while almost a third have never eaten a turnip.

Kale – ‘Superfood’ Or Struggling To Make An Impact?


Kale (180px * 145px)

With plenty of media and industry chatter over recent months about the increasing popularity of kale, and some commentators and chefs even bestowing it with the dubious tag of a ‘superfood’, it was worth noting that these messages aren’t quite getting through to people yet.

According to the survey, more than half of adults said they’d never eaten kale, while only 37% of children had tried it. It was also the least popular vegetables out of 13 polled in total, with just 10% claiming to eat it weekly – in comparison, 91% of those questioned ate potatoes every week, 53% ate broccoli, and 42% ate cauliflower, with even swedes (17%), parsnips (17%), and turnips (12%) all consumed on a more regular basis.

However, nearly half of those who eat kale (44%) admitted the reason they do was because it is healthy and nutritious, compared to just 15% who said they eat it because they love the taste, so perhaps the recent media publicity is working on some levels…

A final point of note is that while 47% said that they would use kale at certain times of the year when it was ‘in-season’, the percentages were split more widely than any other vegetable (Spring 7%; Summer 10%; Autumn 13%; and Winter 18%).

Why not ‘Grow to Love’ brassicas like kale and cabbage with our handy and information-packed cards. Download and print copies off for yourself, or get in touch to request the full set...

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