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Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Which trends offers opportunities or pose threats on the European fresh fruit and vegetables market?

The increased popularity of healthy, natural as well as organic products is a trend that offers opportunities for fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe. Consumers looking for good taste and convenient purchases have also become more aware of social and environmental issues. More integrated social responsibility and certification programmes are being introduced, providing increased information sharing along the total supply chain. Meanwhile, the increasing concentration in buyer power will result in more demanding product requirements and delivery terms.

Exporting fresh sweet potatoes to Europe

Sweet potatoes are part of a trending demand for exotic and ethnic food in Europe. The consumption of sweet potatoes has more than doubled over the past 5 years and supermarkets are catering to this trend. As an exporter you can benefit but only if you are compliant with market requirements. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are responsible for most of the European import of sweet potatoes. More than 80% of the supply to Europe is in the hands of exporters from the United States.


What is the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe?

Fresh fruit and vegetables are one of the most important categories in European supermarkets. Over the last five years, European production and consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables have been stable. Major future developments in total market volumes are not anticipated. The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium are the leading direct importers of fresh fruit and vegetables from developing countries. The Netherlands and Belgium are major trade hubs for fresh produce from developing countries destined for other European markets.

Which requirements should fresh fruit or vegetables comply with to be allowed on the European market?

Europe is very demanding about food safety, which is why dealing with fresh agricultural products is subject to various legal and other buyer requirements. But there are also opportunities to distinguish yourself by applying additional or niche market quality standards. This document provides an overview of the most common requirements and standards, as well as the specific requirements that apply to niche markets such as organic or Fairtrade fruit and vegetables.


Exporting roots and tubers to Europe

The European market for exotic roots and tubers is small but gradually growing. Yams and cassava are the biggest sellers. The demand for these products started out in ethnic shops and restaurants, but they are gradually becoming more widely available. Increasing interest in exotic vegetables and consumer awareness of the culinary possibilities help develop the market channels for exotic roots and tubers. Your best option for entering the market is to rely on specialised importers that trade exotic vegetables.


Exporting rambutan to Europe

The European market for fresh rambutan is dominated by ethnic Asian consumers and specialty fruits and vegetables stores. Demand for specialty fruits is rising in many European countries, providing opportunities for exporters from developing countries.


Exporting lychees to Europe

Lychee is a specialty fruit that is slowly gaining popularity in Europe, although average consumption per capita is still limited. It is most popular in France. Madagascar and South Africa supply the majority of lychees during the winter season (from October to February). Supply during the summer season is much more limited but offers opportunities for countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Israel.


Exporting fresh exotic tropical fruit to Europe

Fresh exotic tropical fruits are mostly grown in developing countries. Although still considered niche products in Europe, the interest in new flavours and special varieties is increasing. Communicating the health benefits of tropical fruit can help increase the demand. Lychees are one of the main imported exotic fruits, but fresh passion fruit and pitahaya are also becoming more popular.


Exporting fresh pomegranates to Europe

Europe is a net importer of fresh pomegranates. In addition to the local production volume, Europe’s trade balance (imports minus exports) added an estimated 50,000 tonnes of pomegranates to the apparent consumption in 2017. Pomegranates are a luxury fruit that sells well in the higher segment. The demand for more exotic and healthy fruit can help increase profitability for exporters from developing countries..


Exporting fresh beans, peas and other leguminous vegetables to Europe

Europe imported around 30 thousand tonnes of fresh peas in 2017, which were mainly sugar snaps and snow peas (mangetout) from developing countries. The market for sugar snaps and snow peas is competitive and much more focused on quality than the common peas and beans, especially in the retail channel. Buyer requirements are becoming stricter each year, especially with regard to pesticide residues and other contaminants. For these specific peas, especially sugar snaps, opportunities for developing countries can be found all year round.

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