There has been a general reduction in fresh fruit consumption across the EU, mainly due to rising prices. This is the finding of the European Commission’s short-term outlook report for EU agricultural markets, published last week. The 2022/23 EU consumption of fresh apples and oranges is expected to drop slightly to 12 kg per capita.
The report shows that EU agricultural production continues to be impacted by the consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine on surging energy prices, increasing input costs and food inflation throughout the EU. In addition to geopolitical instability, the EU recorded one of the hottest summers in history, which significantly affected summer crop. However, food availability is not at risk in the EU.
While commodity prices declined this summer, production costs and consumer prices remain historically high. This is due to the high prices of the logistical supply chain, for example electricity, processing, packaging, transport, cooling and heating. Increased cost of living may reduce consumer demand for food service (e.g. restaurants or catering), and result in more retail shopping of private labels.
The availability of fertilisers for the upcoming season is another concern for the agricultural sector. As fertiliser industries need natural gas to produce ammonia and other nitrogen products, they reduce or halt production when gas prices are too high. A reduced production and use of fertilisers could impact crop production in 2023.