Survey Reveals 2/3 Of Americans Can’t Identify Everyday Fruit and Vegetables
by Gabriela Covay, Managing Director of Bright Valley Marketing
How do you like them (pine)apples? 2/3 of respondents had no clue how pineapples grow.
Americans get just 2.3 of their 5 cups of fruit and vegetables a day.
The average shopping basket is made up of just 15% fruit and vegetables.
Americans incorporate fruit and vegetables into their diet just 4.6 times a week.
More than 1/2 of people think there should be an increase in urban agriculture.
The time is ripe to discover just how much people really know about their fruit and vegetables. Sacramento, CA-based Bright Valley Marketing, conducted an online survey of 3,725 Americans to test their fruit and vegetable 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, just more than one-third of the population (39%), could correctly identify everyday fruit and vegetables. Respondents in Wyoming scored the highest in the country with an average scored 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 of the recommended amount. It also unearthed that people only incorporate these fresh ingredients into their diets 4.6 out of 7 days per week, meaning that the rest of the time, Americans are not meeting their 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, Americans admit 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 veg they haven’t tried before.
There are endless benefits to eating more fresh produce — research shows when you’re sick, increasing your intake can help your body heal faster. One-third of Americans, 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 — worryingly, the survey revealed 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 Americans admitted to not knowing that a kumquat is even a fruit, with 12.5% thinking 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, a vegetable grower based in Salinas, CA. “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.”
Bright Valley Marketing is an internet marketing company, based in Sacramento, CA.
Does It Matter How Pineapples Are Grown?
by Jim Prevor, Editor-in-Chief, Produce Business
Political polling gets a bad rap because there are so many variables. In 2016, most polls showed Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by about 3 percentage points – which is pretty close to what happened in the popular vote. The presidential election in the United States, however, is actually 51 separate elections. And, of course, Donald Trump narrowly won key states, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Because Hillary Clinton’s voters were heavily concentrated in places such as Los Angeles and New York City, national polls didn’t catch the electoral college impact of a 3% national voter edge.
There are many other complications in political polling. For example, there is often an enormous difference between eligible voters, registered voters, likely voters and actual voters. Of course, the only thing that matters, in the end, is who actually shows up to vote. So issues, such as which candidate’s voters are more passionate and thus more likely to show up to the polls, can decide elections. So being good at polling means being good at making decisions about who is a likely voter.
But, at least, in political polling we know what the pollster is trying to identify – who is going to win the election.
The kind of research that Bright Valley Marketing has done is problematic. To start with, claiming “an online survey of 3,725 Americans” doesn’t tell us much. First, how do they actually know these peoples are Americans? Did they demand passport copies from each respondent? Second, are these 3,725 people representative of the American population?
How were the views of people who don’t surf the web incorporated into this study? How about the male/female ratio? Does the age of respondents mirror the age breakdown in America? Education, ethnicity, religion, income? Basically without a clearer picture of the respondents, this is meaningless data.
It is also important for pollsters to be neutral and let the data speak for itself. Statements such as the following clearly show a bias: “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.”
Why is this “encouraging”? How does urban agriculture reduce “organic and water waste” in urban areas? If anything, urban agriculture increases these things in urban areas.
It is also unclear what the end game is in this type of research. You get a report such as this: “worryingly, the survey revealed that 2/3 of respondents didn’t know that pineapples grow from the ground.” But precisely why is this worrying and to whom is it worrying? When half the population can’t identify when the Civil War took place, is increasing knowledge of pineapple horticulture an important priority?
Even for the produce industry, would educating everyone on how pineapples grow actually help sales at all? Even if it is true that a quarter of Americans don’t realize that a kumquat is a produce item, does that actually matter very much?
Of course, data is one thing, but this piece allows interpretation to be done by people without any expertise. The piece quotes a random farmer as saying: “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.” But the piece presents no evidence of any of this:
- A) That knowing more about produce – say that pineapples don’t grow on trees — leads to consumers better understanding the nutritional benefits of eating produce.
- B) That when consumers are given this information, they then eat more produce and a more varied assortment of produce.
Certainly, many in the industry would like these things to be true, but, certainly, this study provides no evidence it is true.
Basically, this doesn’t even deserve to be called “research.” It is so random and unjustified that we are better off assuming it is a joke and we can all laugh at some humorous responses.
The industry needs to look hard at producing the kind of research that gains valuable insight into consumer attitudes and to what might actually boost consumption.
This means spending real money to produce data that mirrors the U.S. population, testing that data against actual purchase data and using this to help producers know what to grow and retailers and restaurants to know what to sell and serve.