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Contrasting results in giant UK & German lettuce markets

And there’s been notable growth in fresh lettuce imports by Slovakia and Poland over the last 5 years
Tue 01/11/2022 by Julie Butler

Europe’s top lettuce importer, Germany, imported 79,808 tons of fresh or chilled head lettuce (code 070511, ITC Trade Map) and 161,325 tons of other fresh lettuce (070519) last year, much the same as in 2020 but with respective year-on-year growth of 6% and 12% in value. Since 2017, its combined fresh lettuce and chicory (0705) imports have grown 3% in value despite remaining stable in volume, with the value of its imports from top suppliers Spain and Italy rising 8% and 3% respectively. Slovakia’s imports (0705), mainly from Italy and Spain, stand out for doubling in value and gaining 47% in volume (to 10,570 tons) over 2017-21, as do Poland’s (+38% in val, +13% in vol, to 58,260 tons) over the same period, mainly on the back of more product from Spain. 

UK lettuce imports down 

Last year the UK imported over 138,579 tons of fresh or chilled head lettuce (070511), which was down 12% on 2020 (mainly due to a drop in imports from its top supplier, Spain), and 63,118 tons of other fresh lettuce (070519), a total down 13% YoY, also due to lower volumes from Spain. The average price of an iceberg lettuce in the UK continued its upward march in the first half of the year, reaching £0.60 in July, the highest since May 2020 and 10p above the average in January 2022 (Retail Price Index data, UK Office for National Statistics). Over 123,860 tons of fresh lettuce were sold at retail in the UK in the year to July 10, 2022, down 5.4% YoY (Kantar), while the spend dipped 2.1% to £226 million. 

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