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Careful optimism for European fresh produce consumption

4 May 2017

The latest edition of the Freshfel Consumption Monitor shows that consumption of fresh produce in EU Member States averages at 353 grams per head every day.  This is the second year that consumption has increased slightly, with an increase of 1.6% compared to 2013. 

In 2014 EU citizens consumed on average 192 grams of fruit and 161 grams of vegetables each day. Fruit consumption is more on the rise than vegetable consumption.   Fruit consumption has increased by 1.2 % compared with 2013, which is also an increase of 1.2 % compared with the average of the previous five years (2009-2013).  Vegetable consumption increased by 2% compared with 2013 but shows a small decrease of 0.7% compared with the average of the previous five years.

While aggregate consumption remains below the minimum recommendations of 400 grams by the World Health Organisation, overall it is a positive sign that consumption has increased again slightly.  Hopefully this trend will continue in the future. 

Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel, commented: “The findings of the Freshfel Monitor confirm our general perception that the fresh fruit and vegetables consumption is recovering slightly from the negative trends experienced since the turn of the century. Fruit and vegetables are becoming again more popular to European consumers. The sector is managing to better position fresh produce within the changing lifestyle environment of consumers while building the growth on its multiple assets of fresh produce. Besides the quality and diversity of fresh produce the sector can also rely on new drivers such as the greater focus of consumers on healthy diet, the search for freshness as well as increased attention for veggie-inspired lifestyles. These are some of the factors driving this trend that seems to be further consolidating in 2015 and 2016.”

According to Freshfel the trends demonstrate the long-term efficiency of activities to promote fruit and vegetables to consumers, including European schemes such as the Schools Fruit and Vegetables Scheme.

The picture for the UK is not so rosy, with UK consumption averaging 137 grams of fruit and 126 grams of vegetables per day, below the EU average.  UK consumption of fruit increased by 1.6% from 2013, but consumption of vegetables declined by 3.9% according to the Freshfel Monitor.

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