Freshfel Headlines

Freshfel Headlines – Number 1, 2019 

Freshfel Europe Trade Meeting at Fruitlogistica 2019

Like every year, this February the Freshfel Europe team attended Fruitlogistica in Berlin. The week started by the ‘traditional’ trade meeting on the 5 February, where more than 50 Freshfel members debated the latest trends for the international fresh produce market. Topics relating to the uncertain international trade environment, market access hurdles for intra-EU trade and for export and import, as well as food and plant safety and sustainability matters were debated. A need for a more global approach and cooperation with international bodies such as the ITC, the IPPC was also highlighted as a potential facilitator, for example on projects such as the electronic certification for plant health certificates. The meeting was highly interactive with more than 15 polls make during the meeting to fine-tune Freshfel’s approach to future developments of these topics. During the meeting Freshfel members were asked about their outlook for 2019 and nearly 60% of representatives saw a very positive outlook for business developments in the next 12 months despite challenges on many levels. During the three days of the fair from 6-8 February the Freshfel team welcome many members and visitors to Freshfel’s stand in Hall 20.

World avocado trends – Freshfel Europe’s analysis at Fruitlogistica

During a dedicated workshop at Fruitlogistica Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard presented the latest data of the world avocado market. The steady growth in production was noted, not only as a result of expanding production in leading countries such as Mexico, Peru, Chile, Israel and South Africa, but also as result of the emergence of new market players. To sustain this growth Mr. Binard explained that there is still potential for existing leading markets such as the USA and EU, which capture 88% of international trade. In Europe consumption in eastern Europe still remains well below the much higher consumption trends in the more western Member States. The Asian market, while continuing to grow, also still has low consumption levels. A more diversified market could help alleviating market pressure, such as the one experienced in the EU last summer. A copy of the presentation is available upon request from the Freshfel secretariat.

Freshfel Europe selects agencies for Promotion Programme ‘FV for a Healthy EU’

In April 2018 Freshfel Europe together with Aprifel (the French Agency for research and information about fruit and vegetables) submitted a proposal for a 3 year Promotion and Information Campaign of fresh fruit and vegetables implemented in the internal market, under the acronym ‘FV for a Healthy EU’. The proposal focused on increasing awareness of the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables with the age group of 18 to 30-year-olds, the so-called ‘millennials’ via a social media campaign. The proposal was selected by CHAFEA, the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency of the European Commission, in October 2018.

To implement the project successfully, Freshfel and Aprifel launched a call for tender for marketing agencies to create the design, logo and slogan of the programme, to implement all the activities, and to manage the social media community. Additionally, Freshfel and Aprifel also launched a call for tender for an evaluating agency for independent evaluation of the project.

The process of selecting the successful agencies spanned a period of more than three months and was conducted via several rounds of selection during which the agencies presented their proposals. At the end of January 2019, Freshfel and Aprifel selected the following agencies for each action:

  • Abracabéa for the graphic design of the programme
  • APCO Worldwide for the social media community management and implementation of the activities
  • Quadrant Conseil for the evaluation of the programme

Freshfel and Aprifel are looking forward to working with the above agencies to ensure that awareness is increased among young consumers of the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of healthy balanced diet.

Freshfel Europe’s Thematic Network Joint Statement open for endorsement

In 2018 Freshfel Europe coordinated a European Commission Thematic Network on ‘Stimulating fresh fruit and vegetable consumption for healthier European consumers’ as part of the annual work of the European Commission EU Health Policy Platform. The overall objective of the Thematic Network was to act as a platform for sharing information, knowledge and best practices targeted at increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among those groups whose consumption of fruit and vegetables is low throughout Europe.

The Joint Statement has now been finalised and is open for endorsement. Endorsement of the Joint Statement is open to all stakeholders and is a public call. So far 40 organisations/companies have endorsed the provisions of the Joint Statement. All endorsing stakeholders’ logos appear at the back of the Joint Statement. If you would like to endorse the Joint Statement please send your official logo to Communications Manager and Policy Advisor Nicola Pisano ( accompanied by a letter confirming endorsement of the Joint Statement (email letter is sufficient). More information is available here.

Freshfel Europe continues updating members on Brexit negotiations and preparedness

Freshfel Europe is continuing to keep its members up to date with Brexit negotiations and to raise awareness of the importance of stepping up preparedness efforts in the light of political uncertainty. Against this backdrop on 3 December 2018, Freshfel’s Trade Policy Advisor Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe spoke at the Brexit Seminar of the FVP House, the umbrella association of the Belgian fruit & vegetables and potato wholesale trade and processing industry.  In her presentation, she updated participants about the state of play of the negotiations and the potential impact of the different Brexit scenarios for fresh produce trade. Additionally, Freshfel’s General Delegate Philippe Binard and Ms. Santos-Garcia Bernabe participated in the French Chamber of Importers of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables’ (CSIF) AGM where they discussed with French F&V importers about the possible implications for the industry of the new EU-UK partnership models.

Freshfel Europe participates in the TSW fair in Warsaw

Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard attended the TSW Fruit and Vegetables Fair in Warsaw, Poland on 9 January 2019. During the fair Mr. Binard presented at the Orchard Economic Forum, which gathered 100 delegates from across Poland. An overview of the latest policy issues affecting the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector and how to build opportunities for the coming year was explained during the presentation, and Mr. Binard also reviewed the development of the apple market during the 2018/2019 season. Other speakers covered topics such as factors influencing the profitability of apple production in Poland, the overproduction and the threat of limiting orchards, and how to keep production attractive for labour & investment.

Freshfel Europe presents market challenges & opportunities for the EU apple sector at the Irish Apple Market Opportunities Seminar

On 13 December 2018 Freshfel Europe’s Agricultural Policy Advisor Helene Deruwe gave a presentation about the market challenges and opportunities for the European apple sector from a production, trade and research perspective at the Irish Apple Market Opportunities Seminar, organised by the Irish Food Board, Bord Bía. The event was attended by most of the apple growers of the isle of Ireland and government and industry representatives. During the event Helene gave an update of WAPA’s apple production forecast and monthly stock monitoring to show the level of organisation and the size of the European apple sector, with a focus on the current trends and main drives of the European apple market. Ms. Deruwe also gave an overview of societal concerns and gave an in-depth presentation of the EUFRUIT and EuroMix projects, in which Freshfel is involved, as one strategy to tackle those concerns. Other speakers at the event included representatives of Kantar, Bord Bía, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Keeling’s and Trinity College Dublin. To learn more about the Irish apple industry, please take a look at the Irish National Apple Orchard Census of 2017.

Freshfel Europe continues engagement with DG SANTE & TAXUD on upcoming plant health and official controls requirements

With a view to acquire a better understanding of new requirements applicable for the sector, the Freshfel Secretariat has had the opportunity to exchange views with the Commission services in charge of the new Plant Health and Official Controls Regulations on several occasions. These discussions took place during a bilateral meeting on 4 December and on 5 December during Freshfel Food Quality meeting and at the European Commission’s Advisory Group on the Food Chain and Animal and Plant Health. As a result of these meetings Freshfel has been able to continue updating members on the state of play of the delegated and implementing acts being developed under the Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on Official Controls, as well as on the upcoming changes to Plant Health legislation.

Freshfel Europe intensifies efforts on digitalization in customs and control policy

Developments in digital customs operations have previously remained vague, however they have gained momentum over the past two years. This is especially as a result of step-by-step implementation of various digital transmission systems for certifications and ongoing integration of customs operations into a single window environment. Freshfel has the privilege to be part of the DG TAXUD Trade contact group (TCG), which meets regularly to discuss the state of play of digitization matters in the industry. As such, Trade Policy Advisors Nelli Hajdu and Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe attended the TCG meeting on the 17 January 2019 on Brexit preparedness for customs and control operations as well as the 45 TCG meeting on the 14 February 2019 in Brussels. Both meetings allowed information exchange and consultation on key matters for the pending Brexit decision and resulting custom challenges as well as to ensure the best industry compatible development of the EU Single Customs Window and the implementation of the various acts resulting from the UCC customs code with regard to the REX-system, electronic signature and the risk management system ICS2.

Currently cooperation is particularly fostered between DG Taxud and DG SANTÉ for the development of the Information Management System for Official Control (IMSOC), which will unify various reporting and certification tools such as TRACES, Europhyte, iRASFF into the customs management world. Freshfel has further intensified bilateral dialogue with both DG’s to improve involvement and understanding of the fruit and vegetable sector in this matter.

Freshfel Europe holds Food Quality and Sustainability Working Groups

In December 2018 Freshfel Europe held its annual Sustainability Working Group and Food Quality Working Group meetings on the 4 and 5 December in Brussels. Each year both working groups meet to discuss pertinent food quality and sustainability topics that are significantly affecting the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. Each working group is composed of Freshfel member representatives from across the fresh produce supply chain. Animated discussions between members at both meetings on a large variety of topics gave the Freshfel Secretariat direction for its 2019 work on these areas.

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