William Powell Country

Know Your Onions


Article written by 30 August 2012

Three out of four Brits don’t know their onions

Three quarters of shoppers have admitted being unaware of when the bulk of British fruit and vegetables are in-season, according to a new survey.

However, research shows that the majority of Brits would seek-out home-grown produce if they knew more. With this in mind, the NFU has launched a brand-new mobile website so that consumers can find out exactly what to look for on the shelves when out shopping.

One in eight people also mistakenly believe that bananas and pineapples are grown commercially in the UK, with four in ten expecting to buy British peaches. The survey also revealed that only half of shoppers are aware that peppers, butternut squash and aubergines can be grown in this country.

NFU chief horticulture adviser Hayley Campbell-Gibbons said: “Of course we don’t expect shoppers to know exactly when the British seasons are for all fruit and vegetables.

“We can, however, arm them with the seasonality information they need to make informed decisions when out shopping. So, as part of the Farming Delivers for Britain campaign, we have launched the What’s in Season mobile website, which can be accessed on any smartphone. It’s an incredibly easy to use month-by-month guide to in-season British fruit and veg that consumers can refer to when out-and-about shopping or planning a recipe.

“The British growing season has been massively extended through the introduction of exciting new varieties, modern growing techniques and the use of poly-tunnels. People are always surprised to know exactly how long the season is for many of the fantastic fruit and vegetables we grow.

“Consumers have understandably relied on the supermarkets to tell them what’s in season by the food they stock on the shelves. With our mobile website they can find out for themselves when to expect to buy British.

“Most importantly, if they can’t find it, they can now ask their supermarket why.”

Other findings include:

  • 91% of people were unaware that the British tomato season runs from February to October; 70% did not know that broccoli is available between June and November and a surprising 65% of consumers were unaware that the iconic British strawberry is available from April through to November;
  • But nearly half (44%) know they can buy British asparagus in April, May and June. 13% said all year round with a further third saying they didn’t know;
  • People aged 55-plus are more likely to know when British fruit and vegetables are available, compared to 17% of 18 to 24-year-olds;
  • Women are more likely than men to have this knowledge, 28% versus 22%;

The What’s In Season mobile site can be accessed via your mobile ‘phone’s browser at wis.farmingdelivers.co.uk. To save a link to the site on Apple devices, simply tap on ‘Add to Home Screen’.




The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its Farmer and Grower members. It is the largest farming organisation in the UK, providing a strong, respected and independent voice for the indust.. Read more.

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