Fruit and vegetable consumption is increasing but many people still do not eat the recommended five portions a day, research for an official watchdog has found.
Some 58 per cent of people responding to a Food Standards Agency survey had eaten five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the day before, up from 55 per cent in a similar survey a year earlier.
The proportion claiming to have had their five a day was greater in the higher social groups, reaching 71 per cent in the "AB" social category. It fell to 45 per cent in the "DE" category.
It was also higher among women (63 per cent) than men (54 per cent).
In Northern Ireland, the figure fell to 45 per cent, against 59 per cent for England.
More than three-quarters of those answering (78 per cent) knew that they should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
The survey, for the FSA's Consumer Attitudes to Food Standards report, also found a rise in the proportion of people concerned about hygiene in supermarkets, from 11 per cent to 17 per cent.
Fewer people than in the previous survey were concerned about food safety issues such as additives, food poisoning and about the levels of fat, salt and sugar in foods.
The FSA's chief scientist, Andrew Wadge, said the findings were encouraging because the majority of people realised the importance of healthy eating.
He said: "However, what appears to be a drop in concern about how much fat and salt there is in our food shows how critical it is that the agency continues to raise awareness around a healthier diet and provides clear information and advice, backed up by scientific evidence."
The report was based on a survey of 2,627 people carried out between August and October 2007.