AGE PROFILE of melon consumers Children 0-1012% 11-166% Male 17-344% 35-6416% 65+11% Female 17-347% 35-6426% 65+18% Info: Usage overview of melon. Year ending August 2007. In-home/lunchbox consumption Occasions are up 5% to 339 million Melon value sales are flat at £108m One third are eaten at the evening meal 60% is eaten because it is healthy The 45+ account for 60% of melon consumption Lunchbox gives melon new direction The steady growth of melon consumption in recent years has been boosted by 51% growth in use in the lunchbox thanks to more pre-packaged formats being available and healthy eating trends. However, there is an evident lack of interest in this fruit among younger adults. This may stem from it being labour-intensive to prepare from fresh, or relatively expensive when bought pre-packed. While children, notably the under fives, are eating more, the over-45s are the key consumers. The bias in this age group is tipped heavily towards females. Consumption is growing outside the summer, with the amount eaten in autumn having grown steadily in the past few years. The amount eaten in winter is growing but more slowly, while consumption in spring is slowly declining. Melon is chiefly regarded as a healthy option - three out of every five are eaten for this reason, but due to its large size it is often eaten because it needs using up. It is not a food that is chosen to complement other foods or seen as filling, but is still seen as a favourite and one of the strengths is its versatility, whether as a starter, in a salad or in a dessert. Victoria Mansell