Shoppers are rejecting melons for fruit that is cheaper and more convenient.

Melon consumption fell 5% last year to 237 million occasions [TNS], at a time when fruit consumption rose 5% overall.

The melon is seen as less practical than other fruits, and is not easy to eat on-the-go or include in lunchboxes, said TNS analyst Gareth Shaw. Only 4% of melon is eaten as part of a packed lunch, compared with 21% for food overall.

Consumers are also re-evaluating the tropical and exotic fruit categories, which are perceived as more expensive, industry sources say.

Unlike other fresh produce, melon is more commonly eaten at the weekend, partly due to the convenience factor and partly because it is seen as an indulgent treat.

Some 55% of melons are eaten by women, with two-thirds of consumers saying they eat it because it is a healthy food.