5 years ago


Less than 1 in 10 know all harvesting months of majority of fruit and veg/ Brits want more seasonal produce/ Supermarkets need to do more to help


The vast majority of people don’t know when the most popular British produce is in season and the ‘traditional rhythm’ is in danger of disappearing. This is the finding of a new survey by BBC Good Food Magazine which found the vast majority of the public could not identify the correct months that ten of the most popular fruit and vegetables were in season. 

According to the survey of more than 2,000 people for the nation’s market leading food magazine and website, 90% or more of respondents couldn’t answer the correct months when rhubarb, gooseberries, blackberries and plums were in season. 23% knew that strawberries were in season June, July and August. The respondents didn’t fare much better with veg. Just seven per cent knew asparagus were in season April, May and June. The best performance was for new potatoes, but even then only 13% knew the key months were April, June, July. 

Some of the other key findings are: 

·         Despite the lack of knowledge about the seasons 86% of people think it is important to shop seasonally with 78% claiming to actively look for food that is in season in the UK.

·         Only 33% felt that supermarkets helped them to shop seasonally, with a majority 52% thinking they didn’t and 15% unsure.

·         The most popular reason given for shopping seasonally was to support British producers (81%), followed by wanting fresher produce (72%, better taste (70%). Concern about environmental impact was flagged by 55% of respondents.

·         For those who admitted not actively looking for produce that was in season, the main reason given was wanting to eat their favourite foods all year round (49%) with 39% admitting to being unaware of what the seasons were. 

According to Gillian Carter, BBC Good Food Magazine editor:

“Cooking with the seasons has always given a delicious structure to the cook’s calendar, but our survey shows this traditional rhythm is under threat. Although many of the respondents could hazard a guess, very few knew the exact months that produce was in season. This has obviously been exacerbated by most fruit and veg being available at any time of the year. The good news for British producers is that most people want to do more to specifically support them. The survey should be food for thought for supermarkets whose customers feel they are not helping them to shop seasonally.” 

Writing in the September issue of BBC Good Food Magazine investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman has attributed the lack of knowledge to supermarkets’ obsession with

“stocking every fruit and vegetable on the planet.”

However she also comments that other factors such as changes in the weather are at play. She writes:

“Buying fruit and vegetables at their seasonal peak has always been the surest way to nose out the freshest, best-tasting, ripest produce and that guiding principle is as relevant as it ever was.” 

The BBC Good Food Magazine September issue has a new season collection, featuring ripe blackberries, plums, figs and sweetcorn. There is also a guide to what is in season this month. The BBCGoodfood website has a seasonality calendar to help people plan their shopping to suit. 



For more information or the full words to Joanna Blythman’s piece please contact Toby Hicks at Immediate Media Co on 0207-150-5016 or email toby.hicks@immediate.co.uk.


The survey was of 2065 members of the Immediate Insiders’ Panel.


When do you think the following are in season?

Fruit                             Answered correctly

Outdoor rhubarb:                       9%

Gooseberries:                               10%

Strawberries:                                23%

Blackberries:                                 5%

Plums:                                              4%



Asparagus:                                     7%

New potatoes:                              13%

Corn on the cob:                          11%

Pumpkin:                                         12%

Broad beans:                                   9%



BBC Good Food magazine is the UK’s leading food title with a combined print and digital figure of 268,844 monthly readers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) July-December 2014. Each issue is packed with recipes for everyday meals, easy entertaining and dishes from celebrity chefs. Every recipe is tested by the BBC Good Food cookery team in the Good Food kitchen. BBC Good Food is wholly-owned by BBC Worldwide and published by Immediate Media Co on their behalf. 

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