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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Expenditure on organic fruit and vegetables is growing in the year of the pandemic

For 60% of purchasing managers, the 100% Italian origin will acquire further centrality

The first data from Organic F&V Monitor, the observatory promoted by AssoBio and Alleanza Cooperative Italiane and edited by Nomisma.

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2021 the "International Year of Fruit and Vegetables" to raise public awareness of the nutritional benefits and the importance of fruit and vegetables for human nutrition, food safety and health. Overall, 81% of the population in Italy consumes at least one portion of fruit or vegetables a day, but the primacy also concerns quantities, as well as frequency. In 2020, according to Nomisma's calculations, the annual per capita consumption (at home + away from home) of fresh fruit and vegetables in Italy was 160 kg, far higher than that of many European countries such as Germany (which is stops at 109 kg) or the UK (101 kg). In the year of the pandemic, one in four households bought fruit and vegetables online from large-scale distribution sites, with an even greater and unsatisfied potential demand due to a strong intensity of requests (during the lockdown 16% tried to place an order without success).

For fruit and vegetables, the online channel does not end with large-scale distribution: a further 15% bought from producers' sites or online agricultural markets. For 0% of purchasing managers, 100% Italian origin will acquire further centrality in the choice of fruit and vegetables. This is confirmed by the high importance attributed to fruit and vegetables at zero km or from the territory (45%). The search for adequate guarantees of control and traceability along the supply chain also generates interest (45%). Among the other determining values, there are organic (34%) and health products (32%), with an eye also to sustainability, thanks to packaging in recyclable or eco-sustainable materials (30%).

Sales of fruit and vegetables conveyed by modern distribution show an increase in the year of the pandemic: + 9.1% in volume compared to 2019 and + 8% in value (over 4.5 billion euros). Fruit and vegetables has always been the elective category of the consumer interested in the organic sector to which the largest turnover in the segment refers 208 million Euro sales at imposed weight made in modern distribution in 2020, divided almost perfectly in half between fruit (48 %) and vegetables (52%). Sales that recorded a jump of + 8% in value compared to the previous year, almost double growth compared to the entire organic basket (+4.5 in value compared to 2019). Small free service (Lsp) and discount stores recorded the best performances (+9 and + 28% respectively). But there are further market potentials given the growing consumer interest, organic sales on the total of fruit and vegetables still weigh only 4,% of the total,% in the fruit category and 3.9% in vegetables).

Nomisma and Assobio have decided to continue the activities of the Fruit and Vegetable Observatory, inaugurated already in 2018, which intends to overcome the lack of information regarding the sales trend and the role of the organic sector, in the individual categories of fruit and vegetables with imposed and variable weight in the different channels. In this complex context, the work of F&V Organic Monitor continues, the project curated by Nomisma, promoted by AssoBio with the support of Aci (Alleanza Cooperative Italiane), which aims to: map the real dimensions of fruit and vegetable sales in Italy, extending monitoring also at variable weight both as regards domestic consumption (modern distribution, shops specialized in organic products and e-commerce) and those outside the home (commercial and collective catering); identify the real role of organic products on total sales in Italy; identify the weight of the various sales channels; evaluate sales trends by categories and varieties. The participants in the supply chain (producers, retailers, catering operators, e-commerce operators) will be involved in the data collection, which will then be codified and aggregated to draw an overall picture of the observatory.

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EFA News - European Food Agency
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