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Italian Fruit And Vegetable Exports Set New Record

Published on Apr 10 2018 4:02 PM in Fresh Produce tagged: Fruit / Italy / vegetables

Italian Fruit And Vegetable Exports Set New Record

Italian fruit and vegetable exports reached the €5 billion mark last year, growing by 3% compared to 2016, setting a historical record for the sector.

The figures come from Fruitimprese, the national association of fruit and vegetable exporters and importers, and are based on official Istat data for 2017.

Although the value of Italian exports is growing, exported volumes are down by 6% to about 4 million tonnes. On the other hand, imports are also growing, both in volume (7.4%) and in value (3%).

In regards to volume, there has been a growth for dried fruit (6.4%) while vegetables (-10.3%), fresh fruit (-4.7%) and citrus fruit (-16.1%) have all seen a drop. In terms of value, there has been a positive performance by vegetables (0.3%) and fresh fruit (6.1%), and a negative trend for citrus fruits (-10.2%) and dried fruit (-1.4%).

Increase In Exports

Fresh fruit accounts for 57% of total exports, with vegetables contributing 27%. Germany is by far the main consumer of Italian fruit and vegetables, purchasing about one third of all exports (+4% year on year).

Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti believes more could be done and underlines the need to remove 'the organisational, bureaucratic and infrastructural obstacles', such as the speeding up of the 'phytosanitary dossiers' that could allow to increase exports to Brazil, China, Japan or South Africa.

Another cause of concern is the sharp increase in imports (+5% to nearly €5 billion in 2017), mainly due to agreements that grant favourable conditions to countries such as Morocco and Egypt. These agreements, according to Coldiretti, are 'strongly contested because the countries of origin often allow the use of pesticides that are forbidden in Europe, but also for price dumping due to low labour costs.'

Fruit And Vegetable Consumption Increases

On the positive side, Coldiretti highlighted that there has never been so much fruit and vegetable available onItalian tables since the beginning of the century. About 8.5 million tonnes were consumed in 2017, up 3% on the previous year, with apples and oranges the leading preferences among fruit, while potatoes, tomatoes and salads topped vegetable shopping lists.

The clear reversal of the trend has been mostly fuelled by young people who pay more attention to wellbeing. The result is that fruit and vegetables are the main item of expenditure for Italians, amounting to €102.33 per family, or about one-fourth of the total (23%). Also boosting demand for these items is the increased popularity of smoothies consumed in and out of the home.

The changing trends are also influencing purchases: 64% of consumers opt for freshness when buying vegetables, followed by seasonality (51.4%), and then the best price (31.7%).

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

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