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February 7, 2019

A study of 2000 adults in the UK has found many don’t know where everyday fruit and vegetables originate from; which ones are seasonal or where they are typically grown.

Quinoa, avocado and pineapples are among the foods some Brits mistakenly think are traditionally grown in the UK.

Admittedly, only 4% were confused about pineapple provenance while just 8% thought that quinoa and avocado were usually grown in the UK.

The survey also revealed that 32% of those surveyed wrongly believed that artichokes, butternut squash (34%) and melon (12%) are usually cultivated in Britain.

And a third believe sweet potatoes are commonly grown on UK farms – despite them most usually being produced in southern India.

Butternut squash bafflement

To be honest, this writer would have guessed that butternut squash could be grown in the UK. And we definitely had some Swiss chard from a mate's allotment a couple of years ago.

We tend to take these surveys with a large pinch of salt but this one does seem to show that lots of people are losing touch with where their food is produced.

Possibly most baffling was the revelation that the study also found 44% couldn’t say which countries tend to produce parsnips; 56% weren't sure where kale is grown and 58% don’t know where leeks are mostly harvested.

Similarly, four in 10 aren’t sure about the origins of apples and 43% don’t know where onions come from.

Worryingly, six in 10 of those surveyed never consider where their groceries originate from – although 65% would rather buy British if given the choice. The research also found that 77% think it’s 'important' for UK companies to support UK suppliers.

British quinoa, really?

The survey was commissioned by Crosse & Blackwell, which has recently launched four new variants to its range of soups.

Bearing in mind that it is wise to listen to your customers' preferences, the firm has sought out British farmers who produce crops traditionally grown elsewhere.

Dean Towey, marketing director for Princes, owner of Crosse & Blackwell, said: 'We’re immensely proud of our long-standing relationships working with UK suppliers.

'It’s something we’re excited to build on with our new range of variants which include Carrot and Quinoa; Chicken and Multigrain; Broad Bean, Gammon and Parsley and Green Vegetable and Kale.

'We know our customers want to support local producers which is why, though it’s not actually traditionally grown in the UK, we’ve sought out independent farms who do in fact grow produce such as quinoa, right here in the UK.'

Who is not eating their veg?

The research also found the typical UK adult only eats three of the five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Is it just me or does this make a mockery of all the recent news reports about vast swathes of the UK turning vegan.

If they are not eating their fruit and veg, what are they eating?