Eating Better

Can Bristolians taste the difference in organic food?

By Ramona Andrews

New research released this week suggests that Bristolians are missing out on flavour when it comes to the vegetables they buy. The research commissioned by organic veg box company Riverford shows that only half (53%) of Bristol residents prioritise quality of flavour. Meanwhile, only 41% think that supermarket vegetables have great taste. Riverford will be conducting blind taste tests in Cabot Circus today (Friday 28 January) and on Saturday 29 January if you want to get involved. You can also put organic veg to the test at home by buying from the wealth of organic veg box providers available in Bristol – read on to find out more.

Considering that, according to YouGov, 60% of Brits buy their fruit and veg from the supermarket, many people may find that their veg compromises on flavour. The figure of 41% of Bristolians that think supermarket vegetables taste great is even lower than the UK-wide figure of 51%.

Bristolians also show a strong awareness of single-use packaging issues, with more than two thirds (67%) saying that supermarket veg has too much packaging – a figure that rises to 7 in 10 (71%) people in the UK as a whole.

The survey also assessed consumer attitudes to the use of artificial chemicals in the growing of vegetables, and whether consumers chose to buy organic veg. The results revealed a gap between attitude and behaviour: while 7 in 10 Bristolians said they prefer the veg they buy to be free from artificial chemicals and pesticides, less than one fifth of Bristolians admitted to buying organic vegetables frequently, with a similar proportion stating they never do. This gap is even more stark throughout the UK as a whole: 72% prefer the vegetables they buy to be free from artificial chemicals, yet a quarter (24%) say they never buy organic veg.

The survey revealed that Bristolians were clued up on the environmental benefits of buying organic, with more than half (52%) citing this as a benefit.

Organic versus non organic black board and carrots set up for taste tests in Cabot Circus

To make their case for taste, Riverford have been hitting the streets of Bristol to carry out blind taste tests with city residents. In the first series of tests last week, Riverford representatives set up in Broadmead and offered passers-by the chance to try two different types of carrot – one non-organic from the supermarket, the other organic. Participants were not told which carrot was which beforehand, and were asked to state which carrot they thought had a better flavour. In the end, 84% of participants declared the organic carrot the better tasting option.

There will be more blind taste tests in Cabot Circus in Bristol on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 January.

Would you like to put organic veg to the test? There are many organic veg box suppliers in Bristol – The Community Farm, Leigh Court Farm, Plowright Organic, and Radford Mill Farm to name a few. Let us know if we’ve missed any other great veg box schemes!

Read Tom Richardson from The Community Farm writing for this blog about The Farm’s new campaign that focuses on how to choose food that’s better for the planet.

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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