Posted on

Country Profile: Portugal

Screenshot 2015-04-16 at 17

The Portuguese fresh produce sector (including plants and flowers) accounts for 33% o Portuguese agricultural production and 61% of plant production and is worth around €2.23 billion (INE, 2013). The most dynamic subsectors are those of the Rocha pear, citrus, kiwi and fresh tomatoes.

The Rocha pear is exported worldwide and is the flagship of the Portuguese fresh produce sector with more than 70% of all Portuguese pears being exported. Farmers have been investing in new orchards in recent years, hoping to boost production from 210,000 tons (in 2014) to 350,000 tons (in 2020).

Another fruit which is doing very well in Portugal is the kiwi which has doubled production over the last decade and is estimated to increase to 40,000 in the next five years due to the number of new orchards planted in recent years and the increase in yield. Citrus accounts for the largest percentage of fruit production in Portugal (236,800 tons in 2013) and, in the last decade, exports (oranges) have grown from zero to 100,737 tons (2012, worth €54.3M), half of the country’s production.


Exports of fruit, vegetables and flowers account for 21% of agrifood exports from Portugal and have more than tripled since 2000 (€299M) to 2014 (€996M, January to November). The value of fresh fruit exports increased by €306M between 2000 and 2014, accounting for €439M last year. The value of fresh vegetable exports is lower and grew at a slower rate, from 2000 to 2014, it rose €145M, totalling €214M last year.

Spain is by far the biggest importer of Portuguese fresh produce (€213M, in 2014), followed at a distance by France (€88M), The Netherlands (€74M) and the UK (€51M). Belgium, Poland, Brazil, Angola, Italy, Germany and Czech Republic are also in the top 10. Last February, Portugal was in the spotlight of the fresh produce world as the official partner country at Fruit Logistica, in Berlin. Several dozen Portuguese companies exhibited their products hoping to attract new clients.

Portugal relies on the flavour, aroma and colour of its fruit and vegetables and its capacity to produce early crops in the open air (some available all year), thanks to a mild climate, and, most of all, the country has a good image abroad, one still very much linked to nature and environmentally friendly production methods. Portugal Fresh, the association responsible for promoting the fresh produce sector, has set a goal for Portugal to reach exports of €2 billion by 2020.

Meanwhile, Portugal is working to overcome phytosanitary barriers and increase its number of export certifications. Negotiations are in place with 15 different countries: Brazil (table grapes, citrus and nectarines), China and Costa Rica (table grapes, pears, apples, citrus and kiwi), South Africa (strawberries, pears and apples), Japan (cherries), Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Panam, USA, India, Indonesia and Taiwan (pears and apples), Colombia (pears, plums, peaches, oranges, kiwis and apples) and Canada (plums).

„ NS

This is part of an article which appeared on page 22 of edition 136 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read the full article and much more here.




Posted on


BORRAR 512px-Japan_flag_-_variant

Bananas, citrus and pineapples lead Japan’s fruit imports

Japan has always been very dependent on imports, especially for food and even more so for fresh produce. The total value of its fresh produce imports in 2012 was $2.5 billion, which included about 1.86 million tons of fruit and 862,082 tons of vegetables.


The leading imported fruits in Japan are bananas (59%), citrus (20%) and pineapples (9%). Most of the bananas are from the Philippines. Among citrus varieties, the leading import is the grapefruit, though Japanese people are increasingly preferring oranges. In 2013, 67% of imported citrus in Japan came from the US, 30% from Australia and 2.4% from South Africa, for a total volume of 30,745 tons.


The fastest growth in fresh produce imports in Japan is in avocados, which rose by 25% in 2012. Because it favours domestic produce, Japan imports only small amounts of products that it grows itself – such as stone fruit, apples and cherries.


Fruit imports in Japan, 2012 (tons)

Bananas 1,096,538, Pineapples 174,041, Grapefruit 151,413, Oranges 130,422, Kiwifruit 63,970, Avocados 58,555, Lemons & limes 55,895



Vegetables imports in Japan, 2012 (tons)

Onions 342,710, Pumpkin & squash  125,024, Cabbage 84,110, Carrots 82,051, Leeks 56,400



Due to its small land mass and high population density, Japan lacks an agricultural sector strong enough to export significant volumes. But of the fresh produce it does export, fruit is the leading type, especially apples, mandarins and pears. In 2012, it exported about 14,015 tons of fruit and just 956 tons of vegetables.

Japanese retailers undergoing concentration

Japan’s retail sector has been quite stable in the past few years, even if regional retailers, such as Universe and Hokkaido’s ARCS, have tended to merge to compete with national players such as AEON and Ito-Yokado, which both represent 40% of total Japanese retail. The top 5 national companies – AEON, Ito-Yokado, Uny, Daiei and Life Corp. – together woo 62% of food sales.

Nationwide retailers, including AEON and Ito-Yokado, generally source their foods through importers and wholesalers.


Consumption in Japan – elders are big spenders


Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs figures show nearly a quarter of household spending in Japan is on food. Japanese people value local products and in particular high quality and premium produce. The recent ecological disasters there have also increased awareness of environmental issues and safe production standards.

Japanese consumers can be split into two main groups: young active people and elders. In the last few years, a big range of healthy and ready-to-eat fresh produce has been developed to cater for each of these segments.

AEON is particularly targeting elders by opening its stores two hours earlier and with special deals attracting more of them onsite.

This is an abbreviated version of an article that appeared on page 26 of our latest issue, available online here. Each edition of Eurofresh Distribution magazine features a country profile providing insights into the opportunities and trends in different world markets.


Posted on

Outlook for fresh produce growth in US market


About a third of all fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in the US now imported


Changing demographics and new food and health trends are fueling forecasts of increased demand for fresh fruit and vegetables in the giant US market after several years of negligible growth.

Fresh fruit and of fresh vegetable consumption have each crept up just 1% a year for the last three years. Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes and strawberries remained the top five most consumed fruits in the US. And tropical fruit – including pineapples, papayas, mangoes and avocados – saw greater demand thanks to the country’s expanding ethnic populations and more advertising.

As for fresh vegetables, the growth – though equally flat – was helped by consumer interest in fresh-cut produce and conveniently packaged vegetables. Prepared salads and bagged salads, broccoli florets and baby carrots were key drivers.

Why is there optimism about better growth in coming years? In the case of fresh fruit, retailers, producers, and the US government are making consumption easier for consumers, focusing on marketing fruit as the snack industry does, and promoting healthy eating programs. Convenient packaging and value-added and fresh cut options are also tipped to drive up sales.

Similarly, increased consumer awareness of the importance of healthy eating and government programs to increase the availability of vegetables and promote their consumption are also projected to bolster demand of this produce.

Other important trends are the aging US population – with baby-boomers in particular expected to eat more vegetables for health benefits – and consumption of fresh produce is on the up in the foodservice sector thanks to restaurant initiatives designed to increase their use of vegetables and also due to consumer interest in ethnic cuisines in which vegetables feature more as ingredients. America’s increasing Hispanic population, for example, is linked to greater demand for peppers and onions.

Read our full report free online here on pages 40-41.



PMA report on US Produce & Retail

USDA, Economic Research Service
Supermarket News