The EU released a new set of predictions for the evolution of the European agricultural market until 2030. The highlights are the changes in consumer behavior – they will be more aware of where the food on their plates comes from and its environmental impact, which will impact farmers – and a decrease in meat and sugar consumption.

Consumers’ growing awareness, the EU claims, “will result in higher production costs but will also be an opportunity [for farmers] to differentiate their products, adding value while reducing negative climatic and environmental impact. This will be reflected in alternative production systems, such as local, organic or other certified products being increasingly in demand.”

As for meat consumption, the prediction is that it will decline from 69.3 kg per capita in 2018 to 68.6 kg per capita in 2030. This will be the result of “changes in consumer preferences, export potential, profitability, and for beef, changes in the dairy sector.”

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How will this impact the environment? “The projected decrease in EU livestock numbers by 2030 will contribute to a decrease in emissions. However higher crop production and manure application will lead to an increase. This will result in greenhouse gas emissions staying at the same level than in 2012, while ammonia emissions will decrease by 9%.”

Dairy should thrive in the next 12 years. According to the EU, “population and income growth will drive higher consumption of dairy products and global import demand.”  The EU’s export of this type of product should grow on average by 330,000 t of milk equivalent per year. By 2030, the EU could be the supplier of 35% of global demand, with a focus on specialty products, such as organic and local products.

When it comes to arable crops, the outlook is varied. “For the sugar sector, health initiatives and consumer preferences will lead to a decline in EU consumption by 5%.” Cereal production, however, is expected to keep growing, due to “an increase in industrial use of cereals, a small rise in feed demand and export prospects.” The EU’s olive oil sector is also expected to grow, by 1,3% per year until 2030. Fruit and vegetable production will mostly stabilise.

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