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Spaniards lead the way in online purchases

Spaniards lead the way in online purchases
Source: Infografía

The Spanish are shopping more online than their European neighbours, by up to two or three times, according to a report published by Infografia which analyses the impact of the pandemic on consumption habits. The report also shows that the majority of Spaniards have changed their attitudes to e-commerce as a result of the pandemic. Almost half of respondents (47%) stated that they now felt more comfortable shopping online to in person, which has led to 58% increasing their purchases through this channel. Over half of online purchases are made using smartphones, but this does not imply a lack of interest in protecting their data online. In fact, 58% stated that they pay greater attention to secure online payments systems than they did a year ago.




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Positive trends of blueberry consumption in Russia

Positive trends of blueberry consumption in Russia © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution


Blueberry consumption in Russia have been grown both in volume and in value. By 2020, it has increased by 82.8% since 2017 in terms of volume and has doubled in terms of value. The principal reasons are the expending healthy style life trend, the awareness of Russian consumers of the vigorous qualities of blueberry; the intensification of berries transforming industry and the swell of blueberry production globally and in Russia in particularly.  Thus, there are some government programs supporting the farmers producing berries; new varieties with better marketing value are being selected, new storage technologies are being implemented, and blueberry becomes accessible. 


Source: Research Store
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Surge in demand for fresh produce in Spain in 2020

Spanish supermarkets gain market share during Covid-19 lockdown
Photo: Mercadona

Between January and November 2020, the volume of food purchases in Spain increased by 10% y-o-y to 31.5 million tons, while in value terms, the increase was 13% to €78.4 billion, as average prices increased by 2.7%, according to a study prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The purchase of fresh potatoes and vegetables by households increased by 13.7% and 11.1% respectively. In addition, onions, lettuce, endives, peppers and cabbages all saw growth in excess of 10%. Demand for fresh fruit was up 9%. Lemon purchases rose by 19.3%, while sales growth of over 10% was also recorded for apples, bananas, watermelon, grapes and kiwis, compared to the same period in 2019. 


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Growth in demand for fresh produce slows

Growth in demand for fresh produce slows
© Eurofresh Distribution


Signs have appeared indicating a slowdown in the strong growth of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables registered during the pandemic, according to the latest data published by Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In June, the increase in consumption was 11%, but in July it was down to 4.5%, compared to the same months of 2019. This marks a significant drop from the  growth registered during the lockdown, with demand surging by 40% in April and 22% in May. 

Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in Spanish households totalled 760.8 million kilos in June, 11% more than in the same month of 2019. The total comprised 428 million kilos of fruit (+8%), 247.2 million kilos of vegetables (+13%), and 85.6 million kilos of potatoes (+18%).
In July (when the lockdown ended), the total consumption was 784.3 million kilos, of which 451.7 million kilos were fruit (+5%), 242.3 million kilos vegetables (+3%) and 90.1 million kilos potatoes (+8%).

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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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Japan registers fall in fruit consumption amidst high prices

Even though fruit is a significant snack globally, and even vegetables are popular in the Asia-Pacific region (57%), cheese is the most eaten snack in Europe (58%), bread/sandwiches in the Middle East (47%), ice cream in Latin America (63%) and potato/tortilla crisps in the US (63%).

The first half of 2020 saw fruit prices in Japan at their highest levels for a decade. The soaring prices have no doubt contributed to the drop in fruit consumption. Between January and June 2020, the average price of fruit in Japan was US$4.86/kg, compared with US$4.34/kg for the period since 2011, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. So, as demand has fallen, the average Japanese household spend on fruit has risen. Fruit consumption has dropped to 31.5kg per household, the second-lowest total since 2011 and 5.5% lower than the ten-year average. Fruit expenditure per household for the 6-month period was 5.7% above the ten-year average, reaching US$153.3, its highest level in a decade.

However, the two categories that bucked the trend are kiwifruit and banana. In the first six months of 2020, banana consumption in Japan was at its highest since 2012, reaching 9.88kg per household. Records were broken for kiwifruit consumption, with 1.23kg consumed per household. The remarkable performances of kiwi and banana have been ascribed to the effective promotional campaigns targeting these fruits.

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China consumes seven times more kiwi than any other country

China consumes seven times more kiwi than any other country © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution


Kiwifruit is currently enjoying a spell of great popularity across the world, and its period in the limelight is set to continue. Demand is increasing in the major markets, thanks partly to its central role in the booming fruit juice industry and its attractiveness for health-conscious consumers. The growth in the world’s kiwi markets is also being driven by the sector’s constant innovation. Yellow kiwis have enjoyed great success in Asian markets, particularly in China, where consumers prefer sweet-tasting fruits.

There are already several yellow kiwi varieties on the market. Following on from this success, red kiwis are now set to take the world by storm, after JINGOLD won Fruit Logistica’s 2019 Innovation Award with its Dong Hong. Zespri Red’s sweet, berry-like taste is similar to the SunGold variety and is sure to appeal to Asian palates. According to a report published by Mordor Intelligence, the global value of kiwi consumption was US$14.26 billion in 2018, and is expected to surpass US$20 billion by 2025. However, the expansion registered over the past decade is forecast to slow down somewhat over the next six years. With CAGR estimated at +3.9%, market volume is projected to reach 5.9 million tons by the end of 2025. China (2.3 million tons) accounts for 51% of the world’s kiwi consumption, dwarfing the volume consumed by second-placed Italy.

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Are South Koreans losing appetite for apples?

South Korea’s per capita apple consumption increased to 11.4 kilograms in 2015 from 7.5 kg in 2005, driven by the abundant apple crop (582,846 MT) and a growing public perception of apples as a healthy and nutritional fruit. However, since 2015, apple consumption has gradually decreased to 9.2 kilograms per capita due to increased competition with other imported fruits. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, South Korea’s fruit imports increased by 49% to 720,000 tons, following new FTAs with major fruit exporting countries such as Chile, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. 

As the ratio of small family (single or two family member households) increased steadily in recent years, food consumption trend also changed toward demand for more convenient and smaller packages of healthy and nutritional food products.

South Korea exports very few of its apples as domestic apple prices are more attractive to apple growers and demand remains strong. Currently, South Korean phytosanitary regulations do not allow fresh apple imports.

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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).

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Romanians spend largest share on food and beverages

Romanians spend largest share on food and beverages, ct. Eurostat


EU consumers spent 12.1% of their total expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages, amounting to over €1.047 billion (or 6.6% of EU GDP), according to Eurostat data. Food and beverages ranks as the third largest category of household expenditure after ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ (24.0%), and ‘transport’ (13.2%). Romania is the country with the highest proportion of household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages (27.8%), followed by Lithuania (20.9%) and Estonia (19.6%). The lowest proportions were recorded for the United Kingdom (7.8%), Ireland (8.7%), Luxembourg (9.1%) and Austria (9.7%).

Between 2008 and 2018, the share of total household expenditure on food decreased or remained stable in most EU Member States where 2018 data is available. The largest decrease was recorded in Lithuania (from 24.8% of total household expenditure in 2008 to 20.9% in 2018, or a fall of 3.9 percentage points), followed by Poland (-3.4 pp) and Malta (-3.0 pp). In contrast, household expenditure on food increased in 10 EU Member States where 2018 data is available. The largest increase was recorded in Czechia and Slovakia (both +1.4 pp), the Netherlands (+1.0 pp) and Hungary (+0.8 pp).