Fruit and vegetable consumption is increasing: value +1%, volume +2%

Cesena – Are Italians rediscovering fruit and vegetables? According to the data of the first five months of 2016, the answer seems to be yes. On average, the fruit and vegetable sector grew by 1% in volume compared to the same period of the previous year (610 thousand tonnes), especially by virtue of the +3% increase in fruit consumption (316 thousand tonnes, corresponding to no less than 8000 tonnes more), while vegetables reached the same quantities as in May 2015 (294 thousand tonnes). In terms of value, instead, from the beginning of the year the sector grew by 2%, as fruit consumption went up by 3% while vegetables remained stable.
Thus, the +3% of the first three months of the year was not a short-lived phenomenon, but an actual positive trend, which seems to continue in the following months. Although it is too early to tell whether we are witnessing a sea change, one should not underestimate the trend reversal of the last months, which followed rather troublesome years (2013-2014). The beginning of 2016 and the end of 2015 showed a 3% increase in terms of consumption, and this is an important indicator.
According to MacFrut President Renzo Piraccini, “It is too soon to cry victory: the fruit and vegetable industry is significantly affected by weather and climatic factors, so we must be cautious. Nonetheless, we are certainly witnessing some positive trends. First, there is an increasing tendency to replace meat and dairy products with fruit and vegetables. Second, consumers are more and more interested in organic products, which in supermarkets went up by 23% in the first four months of the year, especially thanks to products that display a high innovation content.”
This overall picture is highlighted by the Macfrut Consumers’ Trend, the specialised service of Cesena Fiera that in cooperation with the CSO focuses on consumption and price trends in the industry (data as of May 2016). Two products in particular are doing very well, namely cherries and asparagus. Let us take a closer look to the report.
In May, the average prices of fruit and vegetables increased by less than 1% (from 1.84 to 1.85€/kg, i.e. just 1 cent more). On average, in May fruit cost 1.82€/kg, while vegetables cost 1.88€/kg, exactly as in 2015.
The fruit sector brings some interesting news. The most relevant surprise has to do with pears, which, despite being an off-season product, increased by 8% (from 27 to 29 thousand tonnes), while their price slightly decreased (1.97€/kg). Strawberries should also be mentioned, as they reached the peak in terms of consumer demand in May, and with 23 thousand tonnes sold in the last year exceeded the average of the last five-year period (+3% compared to May 2015); whereas the average purchase price decreased to 3.16€/kg (-1%).
Although their season has just started, even peaches seem to be a very welcome product on the market: with a total of 11 thousand tonnes purchased at an average price of 2.10€/kg, peaches have gone up by 8%. Cherries also seem to be in great shape, as they boast an 11% increase (from 6,843 to 7,581 tonnes) without significant price fluctuations (4.50€/kg on average). Finally, even melons deserve a special mention, as for the second consecutive year they achieved a volume of around 20 thousand tonnes, with an average price of 1.63€/kg.
In the vegetable sector, tomatoes display a moderately positive trend, with an increase in terms of volume (51 thousand tonnes, i.e. +1%), while their average price decreased by 4%. Onion volumes keep increasing (from 17 to 19 thousand tonnes, i.e. +12%), while their average price went up by 5% (1.35€/kg).
Asparagus volumes increased by 13% (5,756 tonnes), whereas on average their recent 2016 price was 4.39€/kg, as opposed to the 4.30€/kg reported in May 2015.
A typical product of this season, green beans decreased to 6 thousand tonnes (-4%).
Cesena, July 25th 2016
Macfrut Press Office
PrimaPagina Cesena
(Filippo Fabbri – Giulia Fellini)
Tel. 3471567681 – 0547.26664