A survey of nearly 2,000 people in the UK has found that the nation has an unhealthy attitude to fruit and veg. Only 17% of those surveyed managed to eat the recommend five pieces of fruit and veg a day, with 11% saying they never managed.

Younger people aged 16-24 were the most ignorant of the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables, with almost half not knowing that fruit was a source of vitamin C and nearly one in 10 not believing that fresh fruit is good for their health.

Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits – an industry body representing 98% of UK supermarket berries and who commissioned the survey – said: "The younger people are, the less they seem to know about eating healthily, and the less fresh fruit they eat. If they don't become better educated on eating healthily there is a danger they'll pass on this lack of knowledge and poor eating habits to their children."

"Eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables brings real health benefits, helping to prevent heart disease and some cancers. But this survey suggests that many of us are not paying attention to this healthy eating advice."

Age seemed to matter, with those over 45 eating the most fruit and veg, while the 33-44 age group consumed the least. Of 16-24 year olds 12% said they didn't eat the recommended daily amount.

On other nutrition, 56% of respondents thought they needed to reduce the amount of processed food in their diets and 52% said the same about saturated fats. 42% didn't believe that they needed to reduce their sugar intake to lead healthier lives.

As for the cost of eating healthily, 12% said it was too expensive, while 29% said the temptations of junk food led meant they struggled with a healthy diet.