Tomatoes were eaten on 4.1 billion occasions last year One third are consumed by adults aged 45-64 Health benefits are the main reason for consumption 72% are eaten during the week Healthy and versatile but not that special Consumption of tomatoes has increased 3% over the past year. There was a marked increase in consumption by children, especially 6 to 10-year-olds, as mums attempted to introduce healthy, yet tasty, food to their diets. Tomatoes are most often eaten during the evening meal (38%), and consumption at this time of the day has risen over the past year, offset by a decline at breakfast and as an in-home snack. However, nearly a third are consumed at lunch and they remain a firm fixture in the lunchbox, highlighting the fruit's versatility. Tomatoes are mostly eaten during the week, but remain popular at the weekend when they are consumed with more indulgent foods such as cooked breakfasts. They have also benefited from the UK's adoption of a healthier diet. Rising obesity among women - their key consumers - is expected to spur further consumption, which has already risen because of growing awareness of the potential health benefits of the antioxidant lycopene. Nearly half of all tomatoes are consumed because of their health benefits with a further 20% eaten because they are a favourite, but they are not often eaten at special occasions, perhaps because of snacking connotations. Bunmi Kuti