Fruit and vegetables could become unaffordable for millions if the UK leaves the European Union without a Brexit deal, a think tank has warned.
The Food Foundation said traditional five-a-day eating targets for fruit and veg would be unrealistic because of price rises.
It said that a family of four could end up spending £158 more each year on fruit and vegetables because of the impact of Brexit on labour costs, tariffs and exchange rates.
The Food Foundation said this increase would make it unaffordable for millions of families in the UK to eat the recommended daily quota.
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It warned that the the poorest 10% of the population could spend half of their entire food and drink budget to meet current government guidance for fruit and veg.
The report identified 16 of our 50 favourite fruit and veg which could be grown more in the UK, meaning less reliance on imports and more competitive prices.
Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: ‘The government faces a clear choice to boost British harvests of fruit and veg or the NHS will reap the consequences.
‘It is absolutely crucial that the government grabs the bull by the horns before the Brexit boat sails.’
The Food Foundation said at least 33 of the UK’s 50 most popular fruit and vegetables would be directly affected by new trade rules with the European Union.
It divided fruit and vegetables into five categories.
There are the ‘Hardy Heroes’, products which are almost all grown in the UK – but there are only three; parsnips, cabbage and carrots.
There are seven ‘Channel Hoppers’, which are grown in the UK for part of the year, but elsewhere in Europe at other times because of weather conditions. These are melons, Brussels sprouts and kale, celery, leeks, strawberries and raspberries.
The ‘Brexit Boosters’ are grown in the UK but are also imported from Europe – there are 11 of these, made up of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, courgettes, cherries, broccoli and cauliflower.
There are 15 ‘EU Emigrants’ which the UK imports from the EU and the rest of the world – sweetcorn, garlic, pears, apples, spring onions, lemons, nectarines and peaches, plums, oranges and easy peelers, asparagus, grapes, beans and peas.
And finally there are seven ‘Globe Trotters’ – grapefruit, pineapples, kiwis, mangoes, sweet potatoes, bananas and avocados – which are only imported from countries outside the EU.
Only the prices of these globe trotters are unlikely to change. The other 33 fruit and veg – not counting the Hardy Heroes – will increase in price, the Food Foundation warned.