Green isle: Ireland ranks high in EU table of fruit and veg consumers
Eurostat survey finds people in Ireland 20 points ahead of EU average for eating vegetables
People in Ireland and Belgium eat more vegetables on a daily basis than those in any other European Union country, data from the bloc’s statistics agency states.
More than eight in 10 Irish and Belgian people (84 per cent) said they ate vegetables every day in 2017 compared to an average of 64 per cent across the EU.
The Eurostat study found that nearly half of Irish people eat vegetables once a day while more than 35 per cent of people do so at least twice a day.
More than 6 per cent of Irish people said they eat vegetables between one and three times a week while 1.5 per cent of respondents said they never eat vegetables.
The lowest levels of vegetable consumption were in Latvia (44 per cent), Romania (41 per cent) and Hungary (30 per cent). Eighty per cent of people in Italy and 78 per cent in Portugal said they ate vegetables daily.
People in Ireland also ate fruit at an above average rate, with 74 per cent saying they consumed one piece each day compared to an average of 64 per cent.
Italy had the highest fruit consumption rate (85 per cent eating some daily) followed by Portugal (81 per cent), Spain (77 per cent) and Ireland in fourth place.
Thirty-six per cent of people in the EU did not eat fruit on a daily basis and just 23 per cent of the population ate vegetables at least twice a day, while 40 per cent did so once a day.
Medical researchers have warned that British people will eat less fruit and vegetables after Brexit due to a sharp rise in food costs and that more than 12,000 additional deaths from heart disease and stroke could occur over the next decade as a result of the drop in consumption.
Research published in the BMJ Open medical journal earlier this year said that should the UK crash out of the EU without a deal, the consumption of fruit and vegetables - already below recommended levels for half the UK’s population - would fall by a further 11.4 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
The journal said Britain relied on imports from overseas for 84 per cent of its fruit and 48 per cent of its vegetables in 2017, and the prices of both are expected to rise if the UK leaves the European Union.