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Germany and global trade in fruit and vegetables

Olio Officina

According to the latest figures from AMI, the agricultural market information service based in Bonn, a total of approximately 970 million tonnes of vegetables (excluding melons) and about 820 million tonnes of fruit (including melons) were produced worldwide in 2014. Production of both fruit and vegetables has risen steadily in recent years.

In 2014, the fruit harvest in the EU almost matched that of the previous year, at just under 38 million tonnes, while the vegetable harvest of approximately 63 million tonnes was about 4% higher than 2013.

Following a poor harvest in 2013, nearly all of Germany's fruit producers had a very plentiful harvest last year. Stiff competition within individual ranges increased price pressure, but also ensured very high sales volumes. Total annual production, at nearly 1.4 million tonnes, almost matched the all-time record harvest set in 2009-2010. According to AMI estimates, market production of vegetables reached 3.9 million tonnes in 2014 (+14%), the highest level in a quarter-century.

AMI also estimates that German fresh vegetable imports probably dropped slightly in 2014 to just under 3.1 million tonnes. But this is hardly surprising after the record-breaking imports of almost 3.2 million tonnes in 2013. Spain and the Netherlands remain the most important suppliers of fresh vegetables. Together they account for almost two-thirds of Germany's total imports.

German imports of fresh fruit in 2014 will probably not quite match the record levels of the previous year (5.2 million tonnes). Imports of fruit from temperate regions in particular were down, whereas the volumes of tropical fruits remained almost constant. Banana imports in particular fared much better.

The average private household consumed 155.7 kg of fresh produce. Private households in Germany purchased an average of 85.4 kg of fresh fruit in 2014, almost 2% less than in the previous year, and spent almost 5% less (EUR 153.56) than in 2013. Previously there had been a significant increase in the price of fresh fruit, but this did not continue in 2014. Although large amounts of apples, bananas and oranges are consumed in Germany, sales of apples and oranges fell in 2014, while those of bananas remained stable. Sales of table grapes decreased significantly due in part to a particularly wet growing season in Italy. Pears were among the few fresh fruits in the top ten that did well.

Consumption of fresh vegetables increased by almost 2%, at 70.3 kg per average household. However, consumer spending decreased by more than 1% to EUR 147.76. Tomatoes, carrots and onions remain the highest-selling products in terms of weight, although all three saw a slight fall in purchased volumes. However, there was significant growth for cucumbers and sweet peppers, the next highest sellers. Asparagus had the largest relative increase, benefiting from a bountiful domestic harvest.

Source: Fruit logistica

Olio Officina

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