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It has to be fresh!

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Fresh fruits and vegetables are gaining popularity in the Canadian diet, with one exception: fresh potatoes.

Canadians consumed an average 39.4 kg of fresh fruit in 2005, up from 37.6 kg in 2004 and 36.0 kg in 1995, according to Canada Food Stats. Apples account for about one-fifth of fresh fruit consumption, or an average 7.6 kg per person in 2005, up from 6.8 kg in 2004. Bananas, oranges and grapes are perennial favourites, but mangoes, limes, papayas and pineapples are becoming new favourites.

Fresh vegetables—excluding potatoes—are on a similar track. Canadians consumed an average 40.5 kg in 2005, a slight increase from 39.8 kg in 2004.

Processed potatoes, in the form of french fries and potato chips, are still favourites.

Canadians averaged 2.5 kg of potato chips and 6.4 kg of french fries in 2005. About 44% of the potatoes Canadians consume are processed as chips and fries; the remaining 56% are served baked, boiled, roasted, mashed or scalloped.

Canadians averaged 15.8 kg of potatoes that had been purchased fresh, down from 21.8 kg in 1995.

Some of the trends in these data, which have been gathered for 30 years, may sound healthy, but the longer-term picture is more complex. From 1985 to 2005, average annual food energy consumption per person rose 9.4% to 2,581 kilocalories, but was down from a peak of 2,635 in 2001.

Canada Food Stats are estimates of the total amounts of various foods available to be eaten, adjusted for spoilage and waste.