Objective To identify individual and contextual socio-economic factors associated with an increase in fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption over a 12-year period and evaluate if some socio-economic factors were differentially associated with the change in consumption of some types of F&V. Design Associations between increased F&V consumption and socio-economic factors were studied with multivariate logistic regression. Setting E3N, a French prospective cohort study of 98 995 women. Subjects E3N participants (n 58 193) with information on diet in 1993 and 2005, and numerous individual and contextual socio-economic factors available. Results Associations between some individual socio-economic factors and changes in F&V consumption were observed. For instance, women who lived in a large household (>3 children v. no child) had higher probability of increasing their vegetable consumption (OR=1·33; 95 % CI 1·24, 1·42). This association was driven by higher consumption of courgette and raw cucumber. Living with a partner was associated with higher odds of increasing consumption of fruits (OR=1·07; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·13) such as pear, peach and grape. Conclusions Certain individual socio-economic factors, but none of the contextual socio-economic factors examined, were associated with an increase in F&V consumption. Factors associated with an increase in total F&V consumption were not necessarily associated with an increase in fruit or vegetable consumption separately, or with an increase in each subtype of fruit or vegetable. Magnitudes of the different associations observed also differed when F&V were considered together, separately or by subtype. Increases in F&V consumption were mostly observed in women with high socio-economic position. To develop effective nutritional interventions and policies that take the socio-economic environment of individuals into account, we recommend future research to further focus on (i) pathways through which population characteristics might influence changes in F&V consumption and (ii) existing interactions between individual and contextual socio-economic factors.