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Issues related to the demand of fruits and vegetables in Scotland

Issues related to the demand of fruits and vegetables in Scotland

  • Food Supply & Security
  • 2022-2027
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During the lockdown that followed the COVID-19 epidemic, households were restricted in accessing supermarkets and the amount of time spent shopping and cooking. These constraints, as well as other factors, may have changed households’ demand for fruit and vegetables. There is increasing interest in supplying consumers with more fruits and vegetables and creating new opportunities for Scottish producers.

Plans to increase the supply of fruits and vegetables need to be accompanied by an increase in the demand for them if they are to benefit or add value to Scottish producers or society. Our previous work found evidence of marked seasonality in the purchases of strawberries and raspberries in Scotland, and a sizable demand for soft fruit from the rest of the UK and Europe. However, this analyses and those in the wider literature, used data before the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s EU-Exit; both events could have changed demand patterns.

The “Food Standards Scotland Strategy for 2021-2026: Healthy, Safe, Sustainable: Driving Scotland’s Food Future” has several relevant goals. One goal consists of delivering a food environment which empowers consumers to make safe, healthy, and sustainable choices by driving and influencing strategies for improving access to a healthy and sustainable diet for the people of Scotland. Another goal is to engage all parts of society to understand the issues that matter to consumers and to provide information that is tailored to their needs. To achieve these goals, we require the best available data and methods to strengthen insights into behaviours, attitudes, and wider food interests of the Scottish population.


  • Which existing crops and wild relatives can be used to enhance the genetic diversity of crops in Scotland’s land use and biodiversity?


This project consists of an analysis of the Scottish demand for fruits and vegetables to help produce a detailed set of scenarios and recommendations about the scope and potential value of increasing soft fruit and vegetable production in Scotland. The overall aim is to measure the benefits of increasing the supply of fruits and vegetables to expand their consumption in Scotland.


Analysis of the demand for fruits and vegetables

We are analysing the demand for selected fruits and vegetables and the potential impact of increasing their consumption by the Scottish population. We are considering the following aspects: per capita consumption by different socioeconomic groups, seasonality analysis, and competitors of Scottish fruits and vegetables in the eyes of consumers. We are initially focused on soft fruits and potatoes, but this will switch to rhubarb, turnips, carrots, cabbages, leeks, broccoli, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts.


Exploring consumers’ views and their willingness to buy

Next, we explore several issues related to consumers’ views of fruits and vegetables. This includes consumers’ willingness to buy Scottish products out of season, interest in plant-based products, and preferences for alternative business models for purchasing fruits and vegetables.

Our approach across this project combines two types of economic analyses: demand analysis and choice experiments. The demand analysis is estimating the demand for key fruits and vegetables in Scotland and provides information about their substitution and complementarity.

The choice experiments are identifying variables that are important to explain the consumption of fruits and vegetables and simulating the impact that changes on those variables in the Scottish consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Overall, we are boosting our understanding of Scottish consumers’ preferences for fruits and vegetables and the substitutions they are willing to do using revealed preference data.  We also provide information about seasonality and the role played by different available sources and exploring consumers’ interest in different ways of purchasing fruits and vegetables, which may provide alternative business models for producers.

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