Do you get your five-a-day with fresh fruit and vegetables or ready meals? Do you think a processed meal counts towards your recommended intake? With a lack of government clarity on the issue, it’s difficult to know.
As the government has yet to specify the criteria for when foods are allowed to carry five-a-day claims it’s left up to food manufacturers to decide whether the food you’re eating should carry a claim or not.
The official grocery group – the Institute of Grocery Distribution – has put together guidance for its members on the issue, but this means a product can show the five-a-day logo even if it’s only half a portion’s worth.
Half marks for half portions
At Which?, we think products should have to contain at least one portion of fruit or veg to get the stamp of approval. We also want robust criteria for how much fat, sugar or salt it can contain if it’s going to be promoted as good for you and stamped with a five-a day logo.
We’ve shared these differences of opinion with the Department of Health, but it has yet to come back to us with a set of official criteria for what counts.
Until the government decides, it appears it’s down to food manufacturers to call the shots. But do you trust food companies to decide what counts towards your quota?
Off to the chopping board
Although I appreciate that some ready meals count towards your fruit and veg intake, I personally prefer to get my intake with fresh produce. It’s pretty obvious where you stand with a piece of fresh fruit or veg.
But that’s not where the confusion lies; we need to know if products that market themselves as ‘healthy’ for containing one or two of your five-day really do cut the mustard.
A discussion thread on the NHS website shows some confusion over what officially counts as fruit and veg, let alone whether it counts as your five-a-day. If we’re struggling with the fresh stuff, what hope have we for prepared meals and takeaways?