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Swedes neglect their fruit and veg: report

Published: 13 Aug 2009 08:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Aug 2009 08:45 GMT+02:00

Sweden trails behind its European neighbours in regard to consumption of fruit and vegetables, a new report from sector organisation Freshfel has shown.

Swedes come in at a lowly 17th place of the 28 countries surveyed, according to the report, the results of which are published in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on Thursday.

"It shows that we have a lot of work to do. We should eat twice the amount of fruit and vegetables than we do today," concluded nutrition expert Ulf Bohman at the National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket).

The survey covered the 27 European Union countries plus Norway and was conducted by Freshfel which is a sector organisation for the fruit and vegetable industry.

Swedish authorities have long since recommended the consumption of 500 grammes of fruit and vegetables daily - the so called five-a-day campaign.

Within this five-a-day is included berries, juice, dried fruit, root vegetables and legumes but not potatoes.

Ulf Bohman explained to the newspaper that the nutritional advice has been developed as science has proven a link between a high intake of fruit and vegetables and a lower incidence of cancer.

Swedes are reported to have doubled their intake of fruit and vegetables since 1960 and prices have remained relatively stable for the past decade.

There are however significant variations among social classes, between the sexes and the generations.

Older people are better than the young, women better than men, and higher educated better than lower, figures show.

The report shows the Greeks leading the way when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, while all the Nordic countries come in under the European average.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:24 August 13, 2009 by byke
No wonder nobody eats fruit or veg over here, its disgusting.

If you speak to any non Swede over fruit and veg, this is the first complaint you here regarding food.

Swedish culture, excepts and allows shops to serve or have stacked rotten fruit and veg.
09:45 August 13, 2009 by DAVID T
I just can't understand how the supermarkets in Sweden get away with the bad quality of fruit and veg - i'm disgusted. Not only do they try and sell you rotten produce but the price they charge is unbelievable. I've complained many times in shops and nothing ever happens - they just shrug their shoulders and say that's all they've got.
10:15 August 13, 2009 by si
Yep, quality of veg and especially fruit here is fairly random - Notice it even more in the winter - Sweden is a fairly barren land - so I guess most produce is imported - Growing anything edible outdoors here is almost impossible for 6 months of the year.
10:16 August 13, 2009 by futureishere
Totally! After spending one year in Sweden, I have almost forgotten the taste and smell of fresh produce. Its particularly hard for vegetarians like me! :-(
10:26 August 13, 2009 by Gretchen
I agree. I am from Germany - also not a country that has its own banana's and imports most fruits and the quality is far better than here.

It is simply no fun to make a salat or fruit salat with pear that taste like nothing but water and salad that is brown and sloppy :(
10:42 August 13, 2009 by krzyz21
Oh, thats the real reason, I saw a rotten peach in 'Organic' peach box last week.
12:09 August 13, 2009 by Leprehcaun
Considering that I have never seen anything rotten and very little vegs and fruits of bad quality, where do you people live? Stockholm?
12:15 August 13, 2009 by jack sprat
All over Sweden I would imagine.

Where do you live,..another planet?
12:37 August 13, 2009 by futureishere
I live in Gothenburg.
13:36 August 13, 2009 by Puffin
I'd like to know a little more about how this report was compiled - Freshfel is an industry lobbying organisation - so did they survey their members' sales or what people are actually eating?

Round here in Dalarna - people often get their fruit/vegetables from other higher quality sources:

- direct from farm shops or local farmers' markets

- they grow their own in a big way - either in the garden or on allotments

- or they go to the woods and pick free fruits and vegetables such as wild mushrooms/bilberries and lingonberries
14:37 August 13, 2009 by peropaco
You all got it right. The quality of produce here is just a notch above pig food.
16:59 August 13, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Only in Sweden it's acceptable to stack heaps of brown rotting lettuce and carrots and douse it with oil and pepper and call it "sallad".

You have to beat the fruit flys off it if you want to eat first!
08:41 August 14, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
Fruit is not bad in Central Stockholm, a bit tasteless but not bad. Vegetables, well what can I say? Onions (where you have to peel off 4 layers to get past the rotting flesh) and garlic where every other bulb has green shoots. The best veg we get is iin Lidl of all places, very fresh and very cheap.

PS: what is it with putting salads in earth and charging 3x normal price. Who the *u*k would every want to take one leaf off at a time in the hope they could grow more.
09:54 August 14, 2009 by Freshfel
Freshfel is the European Fresh Produce Association, representing the interests of the fresh produce sector in Europe. Freshfel Europe's current membership includes more than 200 members (companies and national associations in the EU and from other countries in the world). The Freshfel "Consumption Monitor 2008" covers the period 2002 to 2007, analysing trends in the production, trade and supply of fresh fruits and vegetables across the EU-27, as well as consumption information in Norway, Switzerland and the USA. Data is collected from two different public databases (Faostat for production and Eurostat for trade). According to information by the European Commission and our own members, certain adjustments are made to take into consideration what part of the volume is to be considered as fresh (as opposed to transformed), and a % of the production is taken off as wastage. For more information you can visit our website: www.freshfel.org, or contact us at info@freshfel.org
11:40 August 14, 2009 by lensart
It's not just what is available at the grocery store that is a problem, it's what is served at the average lunch restaurant; a portion of over-cooked pork , three huge spoonfuls of potatoes and sauce. Oh... the salad bar with tasteless greens and tomatoes is on the side. Vegetables on the plate? Never.

Is it Thursday yet? I was looking forward to brown pea soup, thyme and pancakes with strawberry jam... don't pea soup and strawberry jam count as fruit and vegetables?
14:03 August 14, 2009 by fritton
I have been living in Sweden for four years and cannot wait much longer for Sainsbury's or Waitrose to enter the Swedish market and put all Swedish supermarkets out of business. They are a disgrace for all the reasons described above.
18:04 August 14, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Why is this? It's not the climate. Even in the worst of winter we get good produce in Canada. Is there a reason for this in Sweden?

We grow a lot of our own vegetables and purchase directly from local farmers in summer. I'd guess that many Swedes do the same. In the winter we have no choice but to purchase at the grocery store in both countries.
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