Consumers are now more aware than ever of the need for healthy eating and of the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables in a daily diet.
However, in spite of this there seems to have been no significant or sustained increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables.
The Fresh Produce Consortium believes that there is no better time to effect change than now. Over the past year or so, the link between diet and health has rarely been out of the news - from major food manufacturers reducing the salt and fat content of their products to Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthier school dinners.
Although in the main consumers acknowledge the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables, and Department of Health research shows that the five-a-day message has had a considerable impact to date, consumption remains almost static.
A large proportion of adults admitted that they did not eat enough fruit and vegetables, even though they were aware of the benefits. It would appear that fruit and vegetables are often seen as dull, and unfamiliarity with products leaves consumers confused about how to prepare and eat them.
The Fresh Produce Consortium aims to develop a promotional campaign, Eat in Colour, to overcome these perceived difficulties and create a real desire in the consumer to eat more fresh produce, making healthy eating a reality.
The Department of Health currently estimates that average consumption in the UK is 2.8 portions a day. Should this increase to the recommended five portions a day, the total market for fruit and vegetables would increase by almost 50% by volume.
Many major businesses from across the spectrum of the industry have supported the FPC in this initiative.
A board has been formed from key members of the industry including Asda and Tesco as well as representatives of the supply chain in order fully to promote both fruit and vegetables.
It is hoped that those members of the industry who so far have not offered support will now get behind this ground-breaking initiative in order to build momentum and ensure success.
Somerfield is the latest retailer to commit to the strategy and interest that is coming from other sectors is extremely encouraging.