Fruit and veg low on the Latvian menu

Any notion that the Latvian diet is a particularly healthy one consisting of the consumption of copious qualities of gherkins and forest berries is comprehensively mashed by Eurostat figures showing Latvians eat fewer fruit and vegetables than their EU counterparts. 

In 2019, 67.1 % of the EU population aged 15 years and over reported eating at least one portion of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. This percentage varied from less than 50 % in Latvia and Romania to more than 75.0 % in Italy, Spain, Ireland and Belgium, according to updated figures July 14.

On average, more than half of the population in the EU reported in 2019 that they consumed from one to four portions of fruit and vegetables per day, while about one in eight reported a daily consumption of at least five portions. Among the EU Member States, the daily consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables differed widely. Around 3 in 10 people in Ireland (32.9 %) and the Netherlands (29.5 %) consumed at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, compared with less than 6.0 % in Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania.

Fruit and vegetable consumption in EU, 2019

In 14 of the EU Member States, the share of the population aged 15 years and over who ate fruit at least once a day exceeded 50 % – see Figure 4. Across all Member States, this share varied from more than two thirds in Italy (69.3 %), Spain (67.8 %) and Portugal (66.8 %) to just over a third in Latvia (35.3 %) and just under a quarter in Romania (23.7 %).

There were six EU Member States where at least 10.0 % of the reference population reported eating fruit occasionally or never in 2019: Belgium, Malta, Sweden, Romania, Denmark and Luxembourg. Across the EU Member States, higher shares of daily fruit consumption in 2019 were consistently recorded for women than for men. In Latvia more than 40% of women ate fruit daily compared to less than 30% of men.

The figures tally with earlier figures that also tended to slice and dice notions of healthy national eating habits.

However, Latvians do have some healthy eating habits, being among the countries where people are least likely to consume sugar-sweetened soft drinks, along with Finland, Lithuania and Estonia.

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