European fruit and veg consumption in free fall: where is answer?

02/07/2012 09:04:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstEuropeans apparently don't have the answer to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. What's more, they are struggling to maintain the status quo.

In a Freshfel news release, the European Fresh Produce Association said that the newest edition of the "Freshfel Consumption Monitor" shows a sharp 7.8% decline in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption within the EU-27 in 2010 compared with the previous year. Put in the context of comparing the 2010 figure with the average of the last five years, fresh fruit and vegetable consumption is off 10.3%.

From the news release:

Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel, commented: “Unfortunately, the data released demonstrates again that the consumption continued to be in worrying declining trends. While data for 2011 is not yet available, unfortunately the trend is likely to be prolonged also for 2011 given the impact of the economic crisis as well as the consequences of the EHEC outbreak. A more cautious approach by consumers to limit waste might alleviate the decline by effectively consuming what is purchased, but this corrective effect would unfortunately not be sufficient to remedy the negative trend.”

According to Ramon Rey, Freshfel‟s President, “the monitor contains an impressive source of information on trends in the EU-27 Member States and also identifies consolidated EU trends. It is a unique report and a valuable tool for companies in the fresh produce sector and public sector alike.” More than ever, the sector would need a collective effort of all stakeholders to stimulate the consumption.

Operators from the private sector as well as public authorities need to join forces to remedy such a dramatic trend. Mr Rey added: “In the last years Freshfel took the lead for the sector at the European level to engage in a proactive attitude to halt this negative trend. The launch of the ENJOY FRESH website (www.enjoyfresh.eu) is a positive step that has been welcome by many as filling a gap. These first steps will still have to be reinforced by building a network platform around ENJOY FRESH, incorporating both public and private stakeholders who would like to join forces and expertise to finally reverse this decline in consumption which has marked the last decade.”


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