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18 | Agriculture Fact Book | Chapter 2

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Continues To Rise

Americans in 2000 consumed a fifth (20 percent) more fruit and vegetables than did their counterparts in the 1970s (table 2-4).

Total fruit consumption in 2000 was 12 percent above average annual fruit con- sumption in the 1970s. Fresh fruit con- sumption (up 28 percent during the same period) outpaced processed fruit consumption (up 2 percent). Noncitrus fruits accounted for all of the growth in fresh fruit consumption.

Total vegetable consumption in 2000 was 23 percent above average annual

vegetable consumption in the 1970s. As in the case of fruit, fresh vegetable use (up 26 percent during the same period) outpaced processed vegetable use (up 21 percent). The introduction of pre-cut and packaged value-added products and in- creasing health consciousness among consumers boosted average fresh broccoli consumption by a third between 1995 and 1998 and average fresh carrot con- sumption by more than a fifth. Highly publicized medical research linking compounds in broccoli with strong anti- cancer activity in the body has added a powerful incentive to consumption.

Processing vegetables Vegetables for canning Tomatoes Other Vegetables for freezing Potatoes Other Dehydrated vegetables and chips Pulses

Fresh vegetables Potatoes Other

Total vegetables

Processed fruit Frozen fruit, noncitrus Dried fruit, noncitrus Canned fruit, noncitrus Fruit juices

Fresh fruit Citrus Noncitrus

Total fruit and vegetables Total fruit

Table 2-4

Per capita consumption of fruit and vegetables increased by one-fifth between 1970–79 and 2000

Annual averages

Item

1970–79 Pounds

1980–89

1990–99

2000

per capita, fresh-weight equivalent

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding. Source: USDA’s Economic Research Service.

In the last two decades, Americans have been more successful in reducing the fat density in home foods than in away- from-home foods, according to food in- take surveys. In 1977–78, both home and away-from-home foods provided slightly more than 41 percent of their calories from fat. By 1987-88, the fat density of home foods had declined to 36.4 percent of total calories from fat, compared with 38.7 for away-from-home foods. Since then, the fat density of home foods de- clined steadily to 31.5 percent of calories from fat, but fat from away-from-home foods declined only slightly to 37.6 per- cent of calories.

The popularity of pizza and other ethnic foods in the 1990s boosted average con- sumption of canned tomato products, but consumption of other canned vegetables declined 13 percent between the 1970s and 1997. The popularity of french fries, eaten mainly in fast-food eateries, spawned a 63-percent increase in average

consumption of frozen potatoes during the same period; consumption of other frozen vegetables rose 41 percent.

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