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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Shoppers 'buying healthier food'
Fruit on a stall
Average spending on fresh fruit and vegetables increased
An average UK shopper is spending more on wholemeal bread, fresh vegetables and fruit, a government report shows.

Defra found a household's expenditure on wholemeal bread was 24.2% higher in 2004/5 than in the year before, while white bread sales decreased by 6.6%.

Meanwhile, a household's expenditure on semi-skimmed milk rose by 8.9%, while liquid whole milk sales fell by 18%.

A Defra spokesman said it was part of a "continuing trend" which appeared to reflect a desire for healthier eating.

Health conscious

He said in particular, increased sales of semi-skimmed milk and wholemeal bread appeared to be a continuing trend.

"We try not to put any particular spin on these figures, but it would appear from this, and from anecdotal evidence, that people are trying to improve their eating habits," he said.

On average, a person living in the UK spends 34.31 per week on food and drink, the Family Food Expenditure 2004/5 also found.

The findings are the latest of the annual Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reports which record estimates of food and drink purchases in the UK.

The report showed household expenditure on fresh fruit increased by 2.7% and on fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes) by 2.8% from the previous year.

It also found an average shopper's expenditure on mineral water rose by 6.2%, while sales of yoghurt and fromage frais were up by 6.1%.

Ice cream purchases for 2004/5 by the average household fell by 8.7% and total purchases of fats and oils were down by 2.3%.

The average UK shopper also spent less on alcoholic drinks in 2004/5. Spending on alcohol consumed at home fell by 3.7%, while sales of alcohol consumed outside the home fell by 7.3%.

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