Market information of fresh produce in Germany:

Tomatoes second most popular vegetable in Germany

Popular Types of Vegetable Consumption 2012 (kg per capita)

Potatoes are the most important vegetable in Germany, with consumption volumes doubling that of tomatoes, the second most popular vegetable. Cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and onions are also popular. The per capita consumption of potatoes reached 61 kg in 2012, which is reflective of their importance, whereas tomato consumption was less than half but still a substantial 24.8 kg per capita in 2012. This is mentioned in a report from PMA.

Vegetable Consumption Volume 2012 (‘000 metric tons)

Potatoes, the most important staple of the German diet, suffered negative harvesting volumes in 2013, when a late winter and wet spring caused the lowest harvest volume in the past ten years, with only 9.2 million metric tonnes harvested; a reduction of 20% compared to 2012. This drove retail prices up by up to 50%.
Overall, potatoes are a very stable crop in Germany. Despite the area under cultivation decreasing from 548,000 hectares in 1990 to 238,000 hectares in 2012, the yield per hectare has increased from 25.6 metric tonnes to 44.8 metric tonnes in the same period by improved growing techniques.

The most popular fruits
Regarding fruit, Germany’s favourite are apples, with bananas, which are the most popular imported fruit, in second place. Cherries, pears, plums and strawberries are other important fruits.

Germans are very fond of local produce and especially seasonal fruit. The majority of fruits are now available throughout the year as a result of imports from southern hemisphere countries in winter to make up for the lack of local production at that time. Nonetheless, seasonal produce, and particularly fruit, plays a strong role in Germany, as these signal summer.

Popular Types of Fruit Consumption 2012 (kg per capita)

The fruits with most seasonality in consumption include strawberries, plums, cherries and blueberries. The strawberry season in Germany starts around June, but Spain, the largest exporter to the German market in 2012, starts its campaign in April. Consumption reaches its highest level in the summer months of June to August, and starts to decrease in September.

Strawberries and cherries are also available year-round, but they tend not to travel well and locally grown ones are considered the most ripe and sweetest. However, the lack of long sunshine and recurring poor weather in Germany often hamper harvest volumes of local production, requiring high levels of imports to feed demand.

Berries have grown strongly, especially in 2013, as land under cultivation increased by 7% to 7,300 hectares in 2013, resulting in a 17% increase in harvest volumes to 32,200 metric tonnes, despite adverse weather conditions. Blueberries with 10,300 metric tonnes formed the largest share, followed by blackcurrants with 6,800 metric tonnes, redcurrants with 5,800 metric tonnes and raspberries with 4,300 metric tonnes.

Domestic production of a wide range of fruit and vegetables
Domestic production on average meets 40 to 45% of Germany’s vegetable consumption and around 50% of fruit consumption. Germany has a strong and traditional agricultural sector and grows a large variety of different fruit and vegetables for local demand.

Production and Consumption: Importance of Domestic vs. Imports 2012 (000’ metric tons)

Apples, pears, cherries, plums, strawberries and blueberries are the main fruit grown in Germany. Large volumes of grapes are also cultivated but are destined for wine production. Table grapes found in German stores are imported from countries such as Italy, Spain and Turkey, amongst others.

Peaches, citrus fruit and exotic fruit such as bananas, mangos, papayas and pineapples are entirely imported. EU countries are the source of peaches, citrus fruit or fruit such as cherries and strawberries outside the domestic season.
The exotic fruit with the largest import volume are bananas, with 1.16 million metric tonnes in 2012. Ecuador (496,547 metric tonnes), Colombia (284,916 metric tonnes) and Costa Rica 272,248 metric tonnes) are Germany’s main banana suppliers.

Retail demand for fresh fruit and vegetables
On average, more than 80% of fresh produce volumes are sold by modern retail outlets, with discounters accounting for some 40% of fresh produce sales in Germany.

Top 10 Grocery Retailers by Retail Value RSP with Number of Outlets 2012

For more common and popular produce, such as apples, pears, plums, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and lettuce, discounters capture around 50%, while supermarkets usually have a share of 35-45%. Supermarkets have a slight edge in terms of distribution for overseas produce such as exotic fruit and especially organic produce. Still, even for organic produce, the availability in discounters is rising steadily.

The online trade of fresh produce in Germany is still a niche market, with over 55% of consumers stating concerns over quality and freshness as obstacles to buying fresh produce online on a regular basis.

Source: PMA

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