Are fruit and veg becoming luxury foods?

2 March 2011
We’ve all heard health agencies’ suggestions about fruit and vegetable consumption, and even supermarkets are keen to advise on how to reach the recommended amount. Helpful labelling also means that while enjoying an otherwise unhealthy meal, you might discover you’re actually benefiting from one of your ‘five-a-day’. Once the exclusive territory of the health-conscious (and possibly the more middle-class) among us, smoothies, fresh fruit snacks and other fresh juices are now everywhere. They are generally much cheaper too – although it looks as if that’s all about to change again. Last month, SM reported how poor weather affecting harvests in the US and China had driven prices up for orange and apple juices. Now the phenomenon is spreading to tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. Some shops belonging to the sandwich chain Subway have had to put up signs to inform customers of the short supply in vegetable toppings while some restaurants have simply stopped serving them as a garnish. We might be over the worst of the freezing weather, but we still face drought in Africa, an ongoing wheat shortage and rising fuel prices. With Mother Nature putting increasing pressure on the supply chain, buyers in the food industry will have to look at alternative ways to fulfil consumers’ growing demand for vegetable and fruit portions – starting with seasonal produce, maybe? That, or we might just have to start growing our own.
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