The latest data from TNS Worldpanel gives a thriving picture of the fresh produce sector, at least for fruit.

Total sales are up 5.41% to £7,216m. Fruit is up 8.09% to £3,453m and vegetables are up 3.07% to £3,763m, with respective volumes up 4.3%, 5% and 4% (52 w/e April 23, 2006). So why are the government and the Fresh Produce Consortium referring to static consumption?

FPC technical adviser Douglas Pattie said the government referred not to TNS data but to National Food Survey and Defra data.

Pattie added: "Defra figures for UK production, imports and exports have not shown a great deal of change, but may well be a year and a half behind TNS." The government would cover canned and frozen under its criteria. But a TNS spokesman said purchase levels need not relate to actual consumption levels; and a high single household spend might often not correlate into high consumption by all members of that household.