The survey released by Subway Restaurants, Milford, Conn., studies vegetable consumption compiled with the responses of 2,000 Americans from an online poll by Harris from June 4 to June.
Called the Subway National Eat Your Vegetables Day Survey, the data indicated 84% of Americans aren’t meeting the USDA’s daily minimum number of vegetable servings.
47% of consumers said nothing prevents them from eating more vegetables. While nearly half said there was no excuse for not eating more vegetables, 14% said vegetables were too expensive, 11% didn’t like the way vegetables taste and 10% said veggies take too long to prepare.
However, millennial consumers (born between 1980 and 2000) average 2.7 servings per day, compared to the overall U.S. average of 2.3 servings per day, according to the release. And 22% of millennials eat the recommended four servings of vegetables a day, which is the best of any age group.
Reasons behind the higher consumption by young adults may be related to a desire to eat well to look their best compared with older adults, according to the release. Fifty-six percent of millennials eat vegetables to lose weight, compared with 39% for those older than 35 years old.
“The American diet has traditionally lagged in prioritizing vegetables as a staple of their diet; however, it is encouraging that the youngest generation is slowly bucking the trend,” Lanette Kovachi, global dietitian for Subway, said in the release.
“The millennial generation is more self-aware than previous generations due to their social, photo driven culture, so “looking better” is a natural motivator,” she said in the release.   “But the truth is nutrient-rich vegetable consumption truly does have positive physiological effects, including a healthier-looking complexion, assisting in weight control, enhancing the immune system and prevention of chronic disease.”
The Subway study draws attention to the need for consumers to add vegetables to their diet, Kristen Stevens, chief operating officer for Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, said in the release. “The first step in changing behaviors is creating awareness and driving discussion to help educate consumers on the various health benefits of eating more vegetables and how to eat more of them.”
Other study findings:
  • Men (12%) are more likely than women (7%) to cite preparation time as a reason they don’t eat more vegetables;
  • America’s most loved vegetables are lettuce and tomato (65%), followed by carrots (62%$), cucumbers (56%), onions (53%), spinach (51%), peppers (47%) and avocados (44%).