Last week, Freshfel Europe submitted its contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation on the EU agricultural promotion policy inside and outside of the EU, which is currently under review. In its response, Freshfel Europe recommends increasing the efficiency, coherence and EU added value of the promotion policy on the EU internal market and third country markets to better inform and promote the benefits of European sustainable production and consumption of fresh produce. Throughout its 10-page response, Freshfel Europe calls for a stronger promotion policy for fresh fruit and vegetables, which must be able to continue to act as an essential tool for successful EU fresh produce promotion.
The EU fresh produce sector has widely benefitted from the EU agricultural promotion policy with the sector successfully conducting more than 70 influential promotion and information campaigns in the EU and worldwide in the period 2016-2020 with an allocated budget of €35 million per year to simple and multi programmes. However, as a result of increasing policy momentum under the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy as well as societal demand, the need to stimulate fruit and vegetable consumption as part of a sustainable and healthy diet remains today. The average EU per capita fruit and vegetable consumption still stands at 363g per day, well below the WHO recommended minimum of 400g per day for good health. In response to the public consultation on the review of the EU agricultural promotion policy, Freshfel Europe has therefore called for a continued strong dedicated budget for fruit and vegetables equivalent to the level of support consumption stimulation requires to aid European citizens in reaching a healthy and sustainable diet and sustain competitiveness of EU fresh produce globally.
Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard said: “Promoting fresh produce on the EU market remains of paramount importance to secure a healthy diet with multiple benefits for the environment and for the health of European citizens. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a response to both the current environmental and health crises we face today. In doing so, the EU promotion policy must secure a holistic approach and an all-encompassing policy to cover products in the most generic way and target the largest possible scope of consumers”.
Binard added that “securing a dynamic, efficient, and well- targeted promotion policy on the external market is a strategic approach to sustain competitiveness of EU fruit and vegetables globally. Promotional and information activities should cover a wide range of options from B2B, B2C and pre-competitive political marketing activities to open new markets and raise awareness of the strengths of EU production methods and their high quality and taste assets.”
Freshfel Europe is also calling for simplification of the administrative burden for running promotion programmes under the policy to ensure greater efficiency and a more homogeneous application of the policy across the EU.