Freshfel Europe Headlines – Edition 2, 2023
Freshfel Europe’s Headlines publication provides an overview of the Association’s most recent activities.
For more information about Freshfel Europe’s activities please contact the Freshfel Europe Secretariat.
Freshfel Europe’s Consumption Monitor 2023: still a long way to go to reach the minimum recommendation of 400 g/day of fresh fruit and vegetables
Freshfel Europe has released this week its latest edition of the Consumption Monitor. The report provides a comparison of consumption trends in the EU-27 as a whole and in each Member State based on official statistics from EUROSTAT and FAOSTAT. In the past two decades, the Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor has become increasingly important in evaluating the trends of fresh fruit and vegetable production, trade, and consumption in Europe. The report, whose look and structure were revamped this year on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, is a unique document looking both at the business development and the evolution of the daily diet of fresh produce in Europe.
This year’s edition shows that the average fruit and vegetable consumption in the EU grew to 364,58 g/day/capita in 2021, a 2,19% increase from 2020 and 1,27% above the average of the previous five years. This growth is in line with the positive trend that started in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the lifestyle of Europeans, in addition to increasing their sympathy towards environmental causes and climate change. However, fruit and vegetable consumption is still almost 10% below the minimum 400 g/day/capita recommended by the WHO, and is under further pressure in Europe because of the economic crisis following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022, which is severely impacting consumer purchasing power and limiting their food expenditure.
The Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor is available for all Freshfel members.
Freshfel Europe presents the fruit and vegetables sector’s perspective on trade and sustainable food systems to the WTO
Freshfel Europe’s General Delegate Philippe Binard was invited by the European Commission to a dedicated session of the WTO SPS Committee to share views from the European fresh produce sector on how to facilitate global food security and a more sustainable food system without endangering trade within new emerging SPS challenges. The Committee was requested last June, by the twelfth ministerial conference of WTO, to investigate how to respond to modern SPS challenges and the impact of emerging challenges (e.g. climate and sustainability issues) on the application of the SPS agreement.
The Freshfel presentation reviewed the current weaknesses of the SPS agreement on market access and evaluated the steps and achievements already undertaken by the sector in regard to sustainability, addressing the impact of climate change and the Green Deal under difficult economic and geopolitical conditions. Freshfel Europe is actively involved with its members on multiple dossiers relating to the move towards a more sustainable food system including, among others, the sustainable use of PPP’s and the introduction of alternatives, the move to a balanced organic market, environmental and nutritional labelling, packaging policy, logistics efficiency, and calculation of environmental footprint. It is also about the regeneration of agriculture, reduction of food loss and food waste, and the move to sustainable and healthy diets. It was also reminded that those changing requirements, more than being a market access issue, relates primarily to the access to the customers and meeting the requirements of consumer’s societal concerns. More information can be found here.
Proposal on sustainable use of pesticides: Freshfel Europe meets the Swedish Permanent Representation
In March, Delegate General Philippe Binard and Director of Food Safety & Security Eglė Baecke met with the Swedish Permanent Representation to discuss the ongoing discussions on the proposal for the sustainable use of pesticides in the EU. On 1 January 2023, Sweden took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months and currently is leading the discussions on a number of technical and less politically sensitive chapters of the proposal. Even though the industry supports a sustainable approach to agriculture, at the meeting Freshfel Europe addressed a number of concerns with ongoing public debates and how this could impact the industry if decisions are taken on a political basis, rather than technical aspects.
As the Commission will deliver additional data on the identified concerns only towards the end of the Swedish Presidency of the European Council, the upcoming Spanish Presidency will take over the file.
Freshfel Europe Responds to Member State packaging legislation
Freshfel Europe, led by Director Sustainability & Communications Nicola Pisano, has been responding to and evaluating Member State legislation in their implementation of the EU Single-use Plastics Directive since its adoption in 2019 in support of sustainable and circular solutions to continue the delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers to support healthy and sustainable diets. In doing so, the Association is responding to the relevant European Commission TRIS notifications of draft national legislation. While the fresh fruit and vegetable sector supports moves towards more circular and sustainable supply chains, including packaging types and materials, efforts must be led through science-based solutions with true results as opposed to politically driven bans.
Recently Freshfel Europe replied to the TRIS notification for the upcoming Belgian implementation of the EU Single-use Plastics Directive. Freshfel Europe highlighted that those aspects relating to the proposal for an EU Regulation on packaging and packaging waste, which is currently being negotiated, should not be included as the Regulation is not finalized. In its reply, the Association additionally reiterated the need for pragmatic science-based options assessed on a per-product basis, especially regarding food waste prevention and maintenance of food quality standards.
Freshfel Europe calls on the EU to address market access problems for Asia
In response to the increased intensity and speed in the negotiations of an FTA between the EU and India and Indonesia, and to the announcement of the relaunch of EU-Thailand FTA negotiations, Freshfel has drafted and is preparing several position papers outlining the position of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector on the negotiations and its key demands.
Freshfel Europe has called for the lowering of tariffs applied on EU fresh produce exports, in particular in countries like India where the current tariff regime represents a heavy burden greatly restricting the ability to reach Indian consumers. Even more significantly, in its position papers, Freshfel Europe addresses the numerous issues the sector has to deal with concerning non-trade barriers and calls on the Commission and the EU to ensure, through the leverage awarded by the ongoing or future FTA negotiations, the least trade-distortive and discriminatory trading conditions possible for the sector.
Freshfel Europe called for third countries to recognize the EU as a single SPS area as the natural by-product of its common SPS rules, resulting in joint PRAs, applications and audits of plant products to be exported, as well as to speed up the PRA processes, which currently can take up to a decade from application to the trial shipment. In addition, Freshfel Europe recommended EU authorities engage with Asian countries to ensure the end to discriminatory market access, including access to specific ports and to reach a Country Recognition Agreement (CRA) with Indonesia for the EU as a whole or its Member States, and an easier recognition and accreditation of EU laboratories to conduct relevant PRAs.
Lastly, the association, on behalf of the sector, also stressed the importance of reaching a favourable agreement that enables the use of pre-shipment or in-transit cold treatment for the relevant fresh produce to guarantee trade with high food safety, while abolishing impossible-to-meet requirements, like the use of banned PPPs before departure.
Preparations are in full swing for the second Life is Better with Fruit and Vegetables annual event – 25 May 2023, Brussels
Preparations for the second press conference of the Life is Better with Fruit and Vegetables campaign are underway. The event is scheduled to take place on 25 May 2023 in Brussels, following the successful opening press conference of the project. The venue and programme of the event will be announced soon. The event’s first edition saw the participation of more than 100 representatives and journalists from the agricultural sector, with market analyses and testimonials from Millennial influencers regarding the eating habits of European Millennials. The 2023 event will focus on the challenges of the agricultural sector to keep fruit and vegetables accessible to consumers, starting from the results of Year 1 of the campaign. You can expect all of this and many more surprises in 2023 – stay tuned for all the developments!
In the meantime, all the material of the project is available on the website of Life is Better with Fruit and Vegetables, with a dedicated webpage for each of the target countries of the campaign (France and Ireland, in addition to Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain).