The time is ripe to discover just how much people really know about their fruit and vegetables. Family-owned produce grower and shipper, Hitchcock Farms, conducted a survey (3,725) to test fruit and veggie knowledge. Survey respondents were provided images of everyday fruit and vegetables, such as an artichoke, and asked their opinion on what it was.
The survey found that on average, fewer than half (42%) of Oregonians and only one-third (35%) of Idahoans could correctly identify everyday fruit and vegetables. Respondents in Wyoming scored the highest in the country with an average score of 72.3%, while those in Kentucky ranked the lowest with an average score of just 20.9%.
The study also found that on average, Americans get only 2.3 of their 5 cups of fruit and veg per day, which is less than half the recommended amount. It also unearthed that people also only incorporate these fresh ingredients into their diets 4.6 out of 7 days per week, meaning that the rest of the time, they are not meeting the recommended daily dietary requirements.
When it comes to weekly grocery shopping, it’s easy to be distracted by convenience foods and processed quick fixes and in fact, survey respondents admitted that only 15% of their typical shopping basket comprises fresh fruit and veggies. People also tend to shy away from trying new things as it was found that one in five admit to never buying fruit or vegetable they haven’t tried before.
There are endless benefits to eating more fresh produce: Research shows that when you’re sick, increasing your intake can help your body heal faster. One-third of people surveyed, however, say they wouldn’t eat more fruit or veggies if they weren’t feeling well.
Encouragingly the study also revealed that more than half (51.4%) think there should be an increase in urban agriculture. Urban agriculture plays an important role in environmental management in built-up areas as growing cities produce more organic and water waste.
Perhaps testing out new ingredients will help expand people’s knowledge – the research found that 2/3 of respondents didn’t know that pineapples grow from the ground! Around 18.2% thought they grew in bushes and 44.1% believed they hung from trees. They say ‘a tree is known by its fruit’ but nearly a quarter of respondents admitted to not knowing that a kumquat is even a fruit, with 12.5% believing it to be a yoga position! 3.8% thought it was an Australian marsupial; another 3.8% thought it was a star constellation; and 2.9% of respondents actually thought it was a type of exercise squat!
“A surprising number of people don’t have solid nutritional knowledge about fruits and vegetables. That could explain why so many don’t get their recommended daily dietary requirements,” says Karen Campbell, spokesperson for Hitchcock Farms. “When people know more about fresh produce options, they better understand the important nutritional benefits. That makes them much more likely to enjoy the variety that comes with a healthy diet.”