Between 2014 and 2016, the annual consumption of fruits in Russia dropped from 64 kg per person in 2014 to about 34 kg in 2016. With the recommended level lying between 60 and 118 kg, Russia’s fruit consumption is below half of where it should be. By comparison, the average US citizen consumes 126 kg of fruit per year, and the average Australian, at least 135 kg. Fruits contain vitamins, antioxidants and other useful trace elements that significantly increase the body’s immunity, which is especially important during influenza season. Moreover, inadequate consumption of fruits is an even greater threat to the health and longevity of Russians than smoking and alcohol abuse combined.
The causes of the problem appear to be economic and political. Russians cannot afford to buy enough fruit because of inflation, mutual economic sanctions, devaluation of the ruble, and freezing of salaries and pensions. One solution would be to stimulate domestic fruit production and reduce the cost of fruit, while increasing its availability. A reduction in VAT would also assist this measure.