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US consumers join struggle to combat food waste

US consumers join struggle to combat food waste
Photo: USA store by Eurofresh Distribution Magazine

US consumers are making lifestyle changes to reduce food waste, according to new research by Proagrica. The study found that 76% of shoppers say they are more likely to shop more often and in smaller quantities to avoid having to throw away unwanted or spoiled food. Around 74% are now likely to buy more frozen food for the same reason, and 50% state they are now prepared to buy the “ugly” fruit and vegetables.

Men are more willing than women to accept less attractive foodstuffs (56% vs 46%).

As for who is most responsible for food waste, 41% of respondents said it is farmers, while 42% said it is manufacturers. Less than a quarter said it was consumers’ responsibility to reduce food waste by changing their own behaviours and shopping habits. Hence, the study suggests that the onus is on the food sector to do more to reduce the amount of discarded food. Nevertheless, 77% say they’re trying to reduce “food miles” by buying more locally sourced produce.

Graeme McCracken, managing director at Proagrica, said: “US consumers still feel it is primarily the responsibility of farmers and food producers to do more to alleviate the problem. Businesses in the food and agriculture industries need to actively show they are working together to make their operational processes more transparent and more efficient.”

 

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Positive and negative trends of FMCG retailers in Russia

Positive and negative trends of FMCG retailers in Russia_InfoLine
Source: InfoLine analytic agency

The pandemic and connected crisis negatively influenced most formats of trade in Russia. Many FMCG stores were closed. Thus, the total number of hypermarkets decreased by 68 outlets in 2020; hypermarkets share makes up less than 20% now (among top-200 FMCG retailers).

At the same time, the results of the retailers developing online sales and delivery services were positive (the case of Metro C&C and Lenta), as well as of those who converted non-profit formats into rewarding ones. For example, X5 Retail Group and Magnit converted 25 hypermarkets each into supermarkets.

The chart below illustrates the closure of the largest retailers’ hypermarkets (stores number and trade area, thousand m2).

 

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EU consumers prioritise taste, food safety and cost over sustainability

EU consumers prioritise taste, food safety and cost over sustainability © EU Commission

The European Commission has released the latest Eurobarometer on EU citizens expectations related to food. This EU-wide survey found that taste, food safety and cost are the main factors influencing Europeans’ food purchases. This survey also gives indication about what European consumers consider a sustainable food or diet.

The Eurobarometer highlights seven key findings:

  1. Europeans prioritise taste, food safety and cost over sustainability concerns when purchasing food.
  2. Sustainable food and diets are primarily associated with nutrition and health.
  3. The majority of Europeans say they eat a healthy and sustainable diet most of the time, however responses vary greatly by country.
  4. Affordability and availability of healthy, sustainable choices and clear information on food labelling are the most likely factors to help Europeans adopt a sustainable diet.
  5. Food producers and manufacturers are seen as key actors in making the food system sustainable, above public authorities, but not all Europeans recognize their own role as consumers.
  6. Almost all Europeans call on the public and private sectors to improve access to sustainable food and to provide information on food sustainability on food labels.
  7. Clear information about food and its importance for health are also reflected in citizens’ concerns about food fraud.

 

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Spanish consumers won’t repeat stockpiling habits in case of new lockdown

Spanish consumers won’t repeat stockpiling habits in case of new lockdown

Data from the third wave of the report ‘Consumption in and out of the home during and after COVID-19’, compiled by AECOC Shopperview and 40dB consulting, suggests that Spanish consumers feel better prepared for new outbreaks of COVID-19 and trust the supply capacity of supermarkets. Only 27% of those surveyed say they will buy non-perishable products to store at home, while 67% say that this time they will not be afraid of store shortages. Head of commercial and marketing strategy at AECOC, Rosario Pedrosa, said, “Consumers saw during the days prior to the state of alarm how the supply of supermarkets and hypermarkets was always guaranteed, despite experiencing exceptional situations, with the stockpiling of the first days and the unforeseen growth of some categories. So it is foreseeable that, in the event of a new lockdown, the reaction of the buyers will be more rational and predictable.” 

80% of consumers believe that stores should maintain safety protocols until there is a vaccine, and most will maintain some habits that were acquired during the first confinement: 68% continue to shop less frequently, while 63% try to spend as little time as possible in stores.

According to the report, 93% of Spaniards believe that there will be a new outbreak of coronavirus this year. While 49% expect the outbreaks to be small in scale and not require further lockdowns, 44% are anticipating more home confinements. 56.6% of Spaniards are still afraid of contracting the disease and prefer to stay at home. These attitudes condition both their purchasing behaviour and their summer plans, with half not planning to go on holiday. This has resulted in 62.2% of consumers reducing their travel budget and 64.4% cutting expenditure on culture. 

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Food safety is key right now

Photo: DNV-GL

Consumers’ number-one priority right now is to ensure their food is safe to eat. This is the perhaps unsurprising finding of certification body DNV GL’s ViewPoint survey, which interviewed 4,500 consumers from across the globe about their food purchasing habits. The study found that food safety (55%) and health issues (53%) are what most concern consumers right now, rather than more global issues such as the environment (38%) and social aspects (35%) relating to food purchases.

Human rights (13%) and animal welfare (16%) appear to be taking a back seat while the world confronts the coronavirus pandemic.

Joy Franks-Laing, global food and beverage manager at DNV GL Business Assurance, said, “Food safety is still top of the agenda for consumers. However, the survey results seem to indicate that while food and beverage manufacturers and retailers may have invested considerably in protecting consumers, they are not 100 per cent convinced that all products are safe to consume.” The report also highlighted a major trust gap, with unbranded packaged food (69%) not commanding the same degree of trust as branded goods (85%). Just 19% of respondents reported using QR codes on packaging regularly. However, this proportion would rise to 65% if it was perceived to offer insights into a product’s origin and verification of food safety standards being met. And 69% consumers are willing to pay more if product information is verified or if the product or manufacturer is certified to a food safety standard.

The survey was conducted in March 2020 using the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) methodology, and it involved 4,500 consumers across 15 countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.

Photo: DNV-GL

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Nunhems® continues to innovate in the lettuce segment to meet consumer demands

The vegetable seeds subsidiary of BASF is introducing new and original types of lettuce and bringing new concepts to supermarket shelves that put an emphasis on the flavour, colour and culinary uses of lettuces 

Nunhems®, the vegetable seeds subsidiary of BASF, is holding a new edition of its Lettuce and Spinach Demofield in Cartagena (Murcia) on 10-14 February, where it will be showcasing not only its new and original types of lettuce and spinach but also its commitment to bringing added value to consumers with the launch of new salad leaf concepts. “We want to go one step further and not just rest on our laurels as a producer but also make the whole retail chain aware of the variety and versatility of different types of lettuce, offering another way of presenting and consuming this product,” explained Juan Pedro Pérez, Crop Sales Manager Salads EMEA at BASF Vegetable Seeds. 

The novelty in the romaine lettuce segment is Magistral, a variety “with which we’re looking to increase crop profitability,” says Carlos del Espino, the lettuce specialist at BASF Vegetable Seeds. Thanks to its smaller size and weight and more uniform shape, Magistral is designed for high-density growing environments, thus increasing yield per hectare. 

In the mini-romaine segment the company is introducing Winbee F1 (NUN 6549 F1), a variety recommended for spring growing with high resistance to tip burn. In this respect, Del Espino revealed that they are working to round off the annual cycle with a new variety for winter. 

With a view to marketing in the Little Gem segment, the new variety from Nunhems® for the winter is the NUN 6806 F1. With this variety, BASF’s vegetable seeds business is complementing Thicket F1 and Thespian F1, two very hardy and versatile varieties that round off the annual growing cycle and consolidate the breed as a benchmark in this type of lettuce. All of them are resistant to mildew and aphids.   

Higher quality Iceberg lettuces

The Iceberg lettuce is one of the company’s hallmarks and its big showpiece in this segment, and this season it is introducing three new varieties: NUN 1212 F1, NUN 1228 F1 and NUN 1232 F1, for autumn, winter and spring respectively. “With these new varieties we are bringing even higher quality in terms of plant formation; these varieties are suitable for mechanized harvesting thanks to their uniform shape and we have even improved the post-harvest performance,” explains Del Espino, adding that they are also resistant to mildew and aphids. Nunhems® is thus offering the sector a range of varieties that will help them to improve their yield per hectare. 

 These three varieties join Melosa F1, which has shown how well it adapts to summer growing, performing extremely well in terms of bolting and tip burn in extreme conditions, and Goldiva F1, which has performed outstandingly in January harvests thanks to its good plant formation, calibre and resistance in the field, allowing a wide harvesting window.  

Concepts for consumers Nunhems® is taking a big step forward in the lettuce market to attract consumers by introducing new concepts that put an emphasis on the clearly differentiating factors of certain varieties. An example of this is Themes F1 and Intred F1, respectively green and red Little Gems, offering retailers the chance to sell these products in twin packs that bring added colour to the traditional salad range. Meanwhile, NUN 06193 F1 and NUN 06567 F1 are two varieties that stand out for their sweeter flavour, while with Agros, Nunhems® has demonstrated its support for producers and other agents in the chain in terms of the growing need for harvest mechanization. 

But the most revolutionary concept, without a doubt, is the Chef’s Lettuce, designed for the hotel, restaurant and catering industry. With Greenglace and Rubyglace, among others, Nunhems® is introducing different types of leaves for different sandwich formats. Meanwhile, the wrap is a lettuce whose leaves form a kind of spoon shape and can be used as a base for different cold or hot toppings. Crispol F1 is one of the varieties that falls within this concept. “We have the products, and now we want to offer ideas and suggestions about how to use them in the kitchen,” says Juan Pedro Pérez. 

Spinach Nunhems® is one of the market leaders in this crop and continues to make great strides in its cultivation. The result of the company’s work is the wide range featured in its catalogue, including such well-established varieties as Hydrus F1 and Alcor F1 which allow year-round spinach production.  Some of the new varieties include Formax F1, Sculptur F1 and Crater F1, all of which stand out for their high quality. From an agricultural point of view, all of them are resistant to mildew (1-17) and have a high tolerance to leaf spot. Nunhems® is thus underlining its commitment to the sector and continues to work hand-in-hand with producers to jointly develop solutions to the key challenges facing this flourishing segment. 
 
About BASF At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com. 
 
About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels. 

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The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum is a precisely tailored congress event for the fruit and vegetable industry, focusing on marketing, sustainability, traceability, consumer and trade acceptance, innovative solutions, logistics, protection and functionality, hygiene and law. These are the topics that the experts from all stages of the value chain will be discussing on 14 May 2020 in Düsseldorf at Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. This will be followed by the DFHV Annual Conference on 15 May 2020. 

The organisers – Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) and Fruchthandel Magazin – will be addressing a central topic in the sector, which is not only being strongly discussed in the entire value chain, but also in society. A press release stated: “Since the recent pictures of dead whales and polluted seas make this topic difficult to be ignored. We want to tackle the challenges and take a close look at them in order to discuss and sketch out alternatives and solutions with the competent experts in the end and thus give the industry new impetus. We want to bring together the most important market partners in the European sector in order to objectify the discussion and jointly develop new ideas and strategies for contemporary solutions and offers for the entire value chain.”

Simultaneous translation is provided of the plenary sessions in German and English.

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Over a quarter of UK consumers don’t trust organic label

Over a quarter of UK consumers don't trust organic label
Source: https://www.gov.uk/

 

A survey in the UK has found that more than a quarter of shoppers say they are “not confident at all” that food labelled as organic has been produced under organic farming methods. As wickedleeks.riverford reports, while shoppers have more ethical considerations when shopping, there is a “deep suspicion” over the labelling of ethical products. The poll was carried out online with 1,000 shoppers by Lloyd’s Register. According to the results, 26.9% of respondents reported being “not confident at all” that the organic label was accurate, while 61% said they were “fairly confident” and 11.8 per cent said they were “very confident”. Similarly, 20% of UK consumers said they were “not confident at all” or “very suspicious” about claims that vegan products do not contain meat.

According to the Food Trends report, “There is a deep suspicion on the part of shoppers regarding ethical food products. In an industry built on trust, this signals that this trust is under threat. This will mean that certification bodies will need to increase their efforts to educate consumers on the role of certification and what the logo represents.” 

The report also found the country in which the food is grown to be important for consumers, with 63% saying they check the source country of their food products. A third of respondents also reported being more concerned than they were a year ago about food safety concerns related to outbreaks of listeria or other food borne illnesses.

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23% of consumers to increase consumption of sustainably grown vegetable over next 3 years

23% of consumers to increase consumption of sustainably grown vegetable over next 3 years

Consumers worldwide are changing their purchasing habits and the sustainable food revolution appears to have taken off. These are the findings of the Wave X-Remix Culture report, carried out by the IPG Mediabrands Group, which surveyed 56,398 consumers from 81 countries on their consumption habits. The report also predicts that in the next three years, 23% of buyers will increase their consumption of sustainable vegetable products and 13% will increase purchases of non-fresh sustainably produced items. 

The organic market is no longer a niche. Consumers are placing greater value in socio-environmental issues, such as the use of plastics, buying local produce, or greater regulations on industrial processes. The report also highlights that consumers are uncertain of the consequences of GM foods and artificial ingredients, and are concerned about the increase in allergies, intolerances and digestive difficulties. Healthy eating concerns have driven continued growth in sales of sustainable and organic products (+8.4 pp since 2013), while lowering consumption of artificial additives and red meat (-35% in the last year).

The new consumer is looking for brands that identify with their values ​​(61% of respondents said that brands have an important social role). The new consumer is less credulous and more distrustful and critical of the information he or she receives. The new consumer does not believe all of the messages transmitted by brands and companies.

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Citrus losing primacy in global fruit trade

Citrus losing primacy in global fruit trade

As the fruit sector diversifies, citrus is coming to play a smaller role. While Spain dominates the citrus trade overall, African and South American countries are coming to play a greater role in certain regions.

Between 1980 and 2016, exported volumes of fresh fruit increased from 23 to 87.5 million tons (+193%). While the growth in total fruit exports (+280%) outstripped growth in production (155%), the opposite is the case when we look at the citrus category, where production increased by 139%, but exports only rose by 133%, from 6.9 to 16 million tons. The shrinking role that citrus has come to play in the global fruit trade is highlighted by the fact that its share of world fruit exports plummeted from 30% in 1980 to 18.5% in 2016.

 

Oranges and grapefruits
losing their shine

When we examine the breakdown of the world’s citrus trade, we find that oranges and grapefruits have seen their share drop, while soft citrus and lemons now play a larger role. While in 1980, orange exports accounted for 59% of all citrus exports, by 2016, their share had fallen to 43% (6.8 million tons). Over the same period, exports of grapefruit registered a fall in their category share from 12% to 7% (1.1 million tons in 2016). In contrast, soft fruits almost doubled their share of the category’s exports, rising from 15% to 31% (5 million tons in 2016). Similarly, lemons saw their share of citrus exports rise from 14% to 19% (3.1 million tons in 2016).

 

Spain dominates
citrus export markets

The world’s number-one citrus exporter remains Spain, but the picture has shifted somewhat over recent decades. Spain leads the way in exports of orange and soft citrus, and is second only to Mexico in lemon/lime exports. The Spaniards’ greatest rival is South Africa, with the major Southern Hemisphere player leading the way in grapefruit exports, ranking second in oranges, and fourth in soft citrus and lemon/limes. 

 

Leading orange exporters

In 2017, Spain, with 1.8 million tons, accounted for 27% of the world’s orange exports, well ahead of South Africa in second place, with 17% (1.2 million tons), followed by Egypt, with 10% (660,000 tons), Turkey, with 9% (621,000 tons), and the US, with 8% (570,000 tons), according to COMTRADE data. Spain dominates the world’s soft citrus category, too, accounting for 22% of all exports. Some way behind Spain lies China, in second place, with 10% (494,000 tons), followed by Turkey, with 9% (454,000 tons), South Africa, with 4% (201,000 tons) and Israel, with 2.6% (129,000 tons). 

 

Leading lemon/lime exporters

As for lemons and limes, in 2017, Mexico was the world’s largest exporter, with 24% of the market share (730,000 tons), followed closely behind by Spain (22%), with (690,000 tons), Turkey, with 15% (450,000 tons), and South Africa, with 9.5% (300,000 tons). The grapefruit segment sees South Africa out in front, with 20.5% of global exports (227,000 tons). The other major grapefruit producers are all in the Northern Hemisphere. Close behind South Africa comes China, with 17.5% (192,000 tons), followed some way back by Turkey, with 11.5% (127,000 tons) and the US, with 7.7% (85,000 tons).

 

The surge of
South American citrus

In recent times, South American producers have grown in prominence in the global citrus trade. Peru’s citrus exports have rocketed 380% in the last decade, while Chile’s are up 200%. Meanwhile, Egypt and Pakistan recorded 175% rises, and China and Turkey’s citrus exports have doubled. In volume terms, Turkey has seen the largest rise over the last ten years (+800,000 tons), followed by Spain, Egypt and China (+450,000 tons). 

 

Europeans prefer oranges,
Japanese prefer soft citrus

Demand for citrus varies greatly from region to region. The EU has the largest per capita consumption of oranges (8kg per year), while the Japanese consume less than 1kg per year on average, according to Freshfel data. However, in terms of soft citrus, the Russians (5.8kg) and the Japanese (5.2kg) lead the way, while Europeans consume just 4.6kg per capita. The North American consume the most lemons, with Canadians purchasing 2kg and US consumers 1.9kg of the fruit each year. As for grapefruit, Canadians once again lead the way alongside EU consumers (1.04 kg), with Russians consuming just 0.4kg of the fruit each year.

 

Russia is world’s number-one
citrus importer

EU countries import the largest volumes of citrus (including intra-EU trade), accounting for 45% of the world’s imported citrus volumes. However, the single country that imports the largest volumes of citrus is Russia (9.6%). While demand for citrus is growing worldwide, the picture is varied in different regions of the world. If we compare the 2005-07 average total citrus import volumes with the 2015-17 average, we find that the greatest proportionate increases have been recorded in Middle Africa (+1461%), Southern Asia (+372%), and Central Asia (+304%). In volume terms, over this ten-year period, demand for citrus has risen most in the EU (6.5 to 7.2 million tons, +10%), followed by Russia (1.0 to 1.5 million tons, +54%), North America (0.94 to 1.46 million tons, +55%) and Eastern Asia (0.86 to 1.1 million tons, +29%).

 

Chinese market dominated
by soft citrus

As the world’s largest citrus market (34 million tons), it is worth examining trade data for China. The Asia giant produces 34.1 million tons of citrus for the fresh market, of which soft citrus represents 62%, oranges comprise 21%, grapefruits account for 13%, and lemons constitute 4%. China is a net exporter of citrus (933,000 tons shipped abroad in 2017), with the main destination markets being Vietnam (17.6%), Russia (16.4%), Thailand (14.8%), the EU (11.8%) and Malaysia (10.6%). China’s imports of fresh citrus have steadily increased over the past ten years, from 560,000 tons, in 2008, to over 1 million tons in 2016. The main overseas source of citrus for the Chinese market is South Africa (35.9%), followed at some distance by the US (19.7%), Egypt (17.4%) and Australia (14.7%).

 

EU looks to South Africa
for citrus imports

Turning to the EU citrus market, the Europeans consume 11 million tons of citrus. Oranges account for 57% of the total (6.2 million tons), soft citrus represent 28%, lemons constitute 11%, followed by grapefruit (3%), and lime (1%). While citrus imports from outside the EU have fluctuated over the past ten years, largely in line with variations in European crops, they have tended to remain between 2 and 2.4 million tons per year. The major source of non-EU citrus is South Africa (653,000 tons), followed by Egypt (331,000 tons), Argentina (221,000 tons), Morocco (204,000 tons) and Turkey (186,000 tons). The share of non-EU imports represented by lemons (17%), grapefruit (14%) and limes (6%) is greater than their share of intra-EU trade, while the reverse is the case for oranges (42%) and soft citrus (21%).

 

Russia and the Gulf record
rises in citrus imports

Russia’s fresh citrus market consisted of 3.9 million tons of fruit in 2017. The category is divided between oranges (37%), satsumas (30%), lemons (14%), clementines (12%) and grapefruit (7%). The country’s citrus imports climbed steadily between 2004 and 2013 (from 0.82 to 1.68 million tons), before falling off slightly. The major supplier of citrus to the Russian market is Turkey (38%), followed by Egypt (16%), Morocco (15%), South Africa (9%) and China (8%).

Taking the Gulf market as a whole, citrus consumption climbed steadily between 2012 and 2016 (from 1.6 million tons to 1.9 million tons), before dropping off slightly in 2017 (1.68 million tons). The main suppliers of fresh citrus to the Gulf in 2017 were Egypt (525,000 tons), South Africa (430,000 tons), Turkey (120,000 tons), Pakistan (110,000 tons), Lebanon (47,000 tons) and Spain (43,000 tons).