We explored if the pre-action Transtheoretical stages of change are indeed discrete stages for fruit intakes. In a longitudinal design, a cohort of 735 adults completed electronic questionnaires assessing fruit intake, stages of change and intention to increase fruit intake at baseline and 35 and 67 days follow-up. A dichotomization of a continuous intention measure ('pseudostages') was compared with precontemplation and contemplation stages. The results showed (i) that pseudostages and stages of change were strongly associated; (ii) that for most respondents, stability and transitions in stages of change resembled transitions in pseudostage, while test-retest reliabilities for both measures were similar and (iii) that pseudostages and the continuous intention measure were stronger predictors of fruit intake than stage of change. We conclude that pre-action stages of change for fruit are not different from a mere categorization of a continuous intention measure. © The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.