FRUIT LOGISTICA, the international fresh produce trade fair, has released a report on the European fruits and vegetable market. The European Statistics Handbook reveals who are the biggest producers, importers, and exporters.

“Europe may not be the most dynamic market for fresh produce, but it surely will remain the most important one for a long time,” the report reads.

The region is an important producer of fresh fruit and vegetables – it’s responsible for about 12% of the world’s production. In the past few years, apples and onions have become increasingly more important as European exports. As an importer, Europe is also very relevant: “the percentage of fruit exports that go to Europe ranges between 45 percent and 70 percent”.

As far as market trends go, FRUITLOGISTICA highlights European exporters’ search for more distant destinations as well as consumer preference for local and sustainable produce.

European Union: apples and onions at the top

“Europe’s climate is hugely varied, which means it can produce a wide range of products on a large scale, with the notable exception of tropical fruits,” the handbook points out.

The biggest vegetable producers are Spain and Italy – together, they yield 42% of European produce. Poland, France and Holand are next. Overall, onions and carrots are the most produced vegetables in the EU.

When it comes to fruits, the biggest producers are also Spain and Italy, followed by Poland, France, and Greece. The most produced are apples, oranges, and easy peelers. Strawberries and other berries have lately become more relevant.

“Despite its strong production potential, the EU also depends on imports of fruit and vegetables,” especially of tropical fruits like bananas.

The European Statistics Handbook gathers statistics and facts about the produce market in several European countries. Here are some highlights.

Belgium
  • Biggest frozen vegetable producer in Europe.
  • Most produced fruits: pears, apples, and strawberries.
  • Most produced vegetables: tomatoes, leeks, and carrots.
France
  • A diverse climate allows it to produce a big variety of products, including bananas and other tropical fruits.
  • The country’s vegetable exports have diminished over time and imports have been on the rise.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, melons, and bananas.
  • Most produced vegetables: tomatoes, carrots, and onions.
Germany
  • Vegetable and fruit production is limited due to climate. Although new greenhouses have been built, the country still depends a lot on imports.
  • Germany is the biggest asparagus producer in Europe and one of the most important worldwide.
  • Its blueberry production has been on the rise.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, strawberries, pears.
  • Most produced vegetables: carrots, onions and white cabbage.
Italy
  • A key producer of figs, kiwifruit, and easy peelers.
  • Largest European producer of pears, nectarines, apricots, kiwifruit, table grapes, tomatoes, and aubergine.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, oranges and table grapes.
  • Most produced vegetables: tomatoes, zucchini, and fennel.
Netherlands
  • An important hub for produce trade.
  • 85% of its production consists of pears and apples.
  • Second largest world exporter of onions.
  • Most produced fruits: pears, apples, and strawberries.
  • Most produced vegetables: onions, tomatoes and carrots.
Spain
  • Biggest European producer and exporter of fruits and vegetables.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, easy peelers, and watermelon.
  • Most produced vegetables: tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
United Kingdom
  • Relatively small production.
  • A big producer of “culinary” apples, which are not consumed raw.
  • One of the most important European importers of produce.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, strawberries, and pears.
  • Most produced vegetables: carrots, onions, and peas.
Poland
  • Biggest European producer of apples.
  • An important producer of carrots, cabbage, sour cherry, and mushrooms.
  • Biggest world producer of blackcurrant.
  • Second largest world producer of frozen vegetables.
  • Very focused on the production of fruit juice and nectar.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, strawberries, and currants.
  • Most produced vegetables: cabbages, tomatoes, and carrots.
Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden)
  • The climate in these countries causes their production of fresh produce to be very small. This fact, combined with their high purchasing power, makes them big importers of fruits and vegetables.
  • Combined, the three countries produce 1.5% of Europe’s fresh produce.
  • Most produced fruits: apples, strawberries, and pears.
  • Most produced vegetables: carrots, onions, and tomatoes.

Read also: Agriculture in 2030: the EU’s predictions

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