Shoppers under the age of 35 are buying less fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) than they were two years ago, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

The figures show that under 35s now hold 16% of the fruit and vegetable market, two years ago the category accounted for 19% of the market.

Furthermore, Kantar found that the volumes purchased declined by 9%.

Shoppers in the 35-44 and the 64+ age groups dominate the fruit and vegetable market, with these older groups gaining market share over the past two years.

Despite spending on fruit and vegetables remaining the same as it did two years ago, the figures show that the volume of produce sold has jumped by 11%.

Michal Slawski, of Bord Bia’s Horticulture Department, said that it’s important to continue to engage with younger consumers.

If a trend like this were to continue, he said it would result in a long term decline in fresh produce sales.

Bord Bia has attributed the decline in fruit and vegetable purchases to changes in diet, lack of cooking skills and less time to cook.

At present, Bord Bia is running two EU co-funded campaigns which help to increase the engagement of younger consumers with mushrooms and potatoes.

In September last year, Bord Bia launched a €1m marketing campaign to boost potato consumption among Irish consumers.

Bord Bia will coordinate and manage the three-year campaign which has been designed to dispel fattening myths around potatoes, positioning them as naturally fat-free, tasty and versatile.

The campaign, entitled “Potatoes – more than a bit on the side”, will focus on younger consumers, in particular, 22-44-year-old females.

Neary said that we really need to challenge consumer perceptions of fresh potatoes – particularly amongst younger age groups – in order to combat declining consumption.