Consumers could have a new incentive to eat fruit after a study found that eating heavily pigmented produce such as carrots and plums makes people more attractive.
Researchers at St Andrews and Bristol universities studied the relationship between skin colour and attractiveness, and found people with a yellow skin hue were perceived as particularly healthy and attractive, the Grocer magazine reported.
They also established for the first time that yellow pigments, or carotenoids, from certain fruit and vegetables played a key role in producing yellowness in skin.
As part of the study, 40 volunteers rated 51 Scottish Caucasian faces for healthiness and attractiveness.
The results will be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior in March, the magazine said.
Ian Stephen, one of the scientists involved in the project, said the link between yellowness and carotenoids opened up new strategies for encouraging young people to eat more fruit and vegetables, especially as it took just two months of increased consumption to produce visible results.
He told the Grocer: "Telling people they might have a heart attack in 40 years' time if they don't eat more healthily is one thing. What we can do is say, 'This is what you could look in a couple of months if you increased your fruit and veg intake'."