Fresh produce consumption among Europeans drop 10% in 2022
The latest estimates from the Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor suggest that the average consumption of fresh produce among Europeans fell by 10% in 2022 from 364g per capita per day in 2021. This is particularly worrying as it is well below the minimum 400 g recommendation of the WHO. These figures are driven by the low level of consumption by the youngest generations who are the consumers of tomorrow. Given the difficult current economic conditions, the consumption among the low-income population is also of particular concern.
The economic crisis impacting all Member States following the war in Ukraine and growing protectionism in the world is severely impacting consumer purchasing power and limiting food expenditure. In times of crisis, consumers tend to move towards a less healthy diet, which is perceived to be more energy-satisfying and a cheaper food option. Freshfel Europe General Delegate
Philippe Binard said: “Consumers have a basic misperception about fruit and vegetable prices on the shelf in supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables are the most affordable products and have also undisputed health and environmental assets. Price and value of fresh produce are both very attractive in the food assortment. Compared to other food categories, rises in fruit and vegetable prices have been lower than the average inflation. A diet with 5 portions a day or half of the plate with fruit and vegetables can be achieved by €1 or €2 per person per day. Comparatively, for public expenditure of social security, the cost of unhealthy diets results to be twice as high of the total food market value, corresponding to €6 trillion € expenditure for social security in the EU according to the World Economic Forum.”
There is a need for the sector to bridge the gap between awareness of the benefits of fresh produce and concrete actions to be undertaken by authorities as well as by consumers. According to a Eurostat survey, only 12% of consumers across the EU reach their 5 portions per day and alarmingly 33 % do not eat fruit and vegetables every day. Freshfel called on the sector to build on the renewed interest of consumers during the COVID19 pandemic to take time to prepare, cook and eat a wide diversity of fruit and vegetables.