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Cabbages, broccoli and onions: Europe the export leader

Cauliflowers and broccoli are traded for the same value and slightly more volume; onions are seeing a true export boom.

The European balance trade in cauliflower and broccoli rose quite a lot in terms of volume (+2.6% on average between imports and exports), but the traded value remained the same between 2013 and 2015.

The total amount of imports reached €489.16 billion for a total of 54,333 tons in 2015, while exports represented almost 33% more trade in both value and volume (70,342 tons for €601.6 billion).

The main European exporting countries within the EU are Spain (€238,325,417 in 2015) and France (€80,723,418). Cauliflowers and broccoli imported from the US saw an incredible drop from €2 million to almost none.

Cabbages recover value

The cabbage category suffered a much bigger downfall in terms of value than cauliflowers and broccoli in 2014. Although the balance of trade rose by 2%, the value of imports fell by 8% and exports went down by 4% in value.

In 2015, the value came back to its previous level and even went higher to a total of €950.45 billion for imports (+4% compared to 2013) and €1.1 billion for exports (+2.5% compared to 2013).

The main import partners are Spain (€360.7 billion), Germany (€211.7 billion), the Netherlands (€155.4 billion), Italy (€96.2 billion) and France (€91.9 billion).

Onions: European export boom

Onion exports recorded a sharp fall in 2013 from €788.55billion to €723.8 billion (-9%). It finally went up last year to €798.94 billion thanks to more acreage and production.

Exports remained difficult in 2015 due to the Russian ban and weak euro, but the currency is no longer a problem.

Intra-EU imports kept on falling over the last year. In 2014, they totalled 15,673 tons.

Worldwide consumption is rising, with prices being put under pressure and the onion trade suffering from a lack of supply.

This article was first published in edition 145 (Sep-Oct 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine on page 102. Read more fresh produce news from that issue at:

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Hopes sweeter variety will boost wilting cabbage sales in UK

A sweeter variety of homegrown cabbage is being trialled by Tesco.

A sweeter variety of homegrown cabbage is being trialled by Tesco.

The UK retailer said the cabbage – known as Sweet Summer Cabbage – is grown in Lincolnshire and was “naturally developed to re-generate interest in the vegetable.”

In a press release, Tesco said it has a light, sweeter and fresher taste than other cabbage varieties and is ideal for people who like making their own salads and coleslaw.

Tesco vegetable buyer Luke Shutler explains: “In recent years many greens have not only shed their ‘difficult’ image but have been re-appraised as superfoods because of their great nutritional value.

Broccoli was the first about 10 years ago but more recently, thanks to foodie culture and a greater awareness of what we eat, we have seen other greens such as spinach and even sprouts become more popular.

“Unfortunately that has not happened with cabbage, yet, and we think that demand is being held back because of a poor image that goes back to memories of school dinners and cabbage that was boiled to within an inch of its life.

“We have worked with TJ Clements, one of the UK’s biggest brassica producers, to come up with this sweet green variety that we believe will not only be a hit with children but with adults too.

“Regular varieties of cabbage have a slightly peppery, almost bitter flavour but the sweetness of the Summer Sweet can be tasted as soon as you take your first bite. “We are trialling it this summer and if demand is strong then we will have more next year.” Tesco said the cabbages will be sold in 250 stores.

Sweet Summer Cabbage - Edited.jpg

Cabbage sales down 6% in the UK

Tesco said Kantar data for the UK retail market shows demand for cabbage has fallen 6% in the last two years.

It said cabbage sales in Britain were at their highest in the 1950s when the vegetable was a seen as a relatively inexpensive way of eating nutritious food. But as Britain became more prosperous, the ‘meat and two veg diet’ began falling by the wayside and, with the introduction and influences of other cuisines and fast food culture, over the years there has been  has been a downturn in demand for cabbage.

A the time of publication, Summer Sweet Cabbage cost £1 each, compared to £0.45 for Tesco Everyday Value cabbage, £0.49 for Tesco Everyday Sweetheart cabbage, £0.52 for Tesco red cabbage, £0.55 for Tesco white cabbage, £0.80 for Tesco savoy cabbage and  £1.30 for Tesco organic seasonal cabbage, according to


source: Tesco press release “Sweet Summer Cabbage launched to help image of ‘unloved’ green”