This is a factor which again has greater impact on those with the lowest incomes, who are less likely to have their own transport and therefore rely more on local convenience stores, which are less likely to sell a range of fresh fruit and vegetables.
However, this could equally be the case for seniors and those with medical or physical disabilities who tend to shop closer to home. Local stores as a general rule stock a lower variety of produce which is more expensive, so consumers are penalized for their necessity to use these outlets. Working with community groups to set up local fruit and vegetable co-operatives, where local people have access to fresh produce at a reasonable price, is one possible measure.
Sensory appeal, habit and advertizing
The quality of their appearance and taste are the two most important sensory factors when it comes to deciding which fruit and vegetables to buy, though texture and smell are also taken into consideration. It is well appreciated that taste can be a barrier to the consumption of produce with a bitter taste; an American study from 2010 highlighted this as an important factor in fruit and vegetable consumption.
However, a Danish study from 2011 found that possession of the gene that makes us sensitive to the bitter taste of the glucosinolates in the likes of cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli does not necessarily reduce consumption of these. It is understood that it can take up to twenty tasting occasions for a food initially considered as unpalatable to be accepted, though people may not be inclined to persevere.
Out of habit – another influencing factor – they choose to stick with familiar items, which a Canadian study from 2010 identified to get in the way of broadening fruit and vegetable consumption.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure that fruit and vegetables reach the point of sale in good condition – ticking the box for visual appeal – retailers perhaps need to interact more with their customers to demonstrate how less widely used fruit and vegetables can be incorporated into dishes. The availability of leaflets that detail recipes is always popular with consumers, so the distribution of these to outlets for how specific fresh produce can be used at mealtimes is an additional idea. Both could be considered as a means of advertizing, as unlike branded snack and convenience foods, fruit and vegetables receive comparatively little. The message relating to the benefits of these is being put across, but a practical focus is also needed if strategies to raise fruit and vegetable consumption are to be a success.