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UK increasingly dependent on vegetable imports

Last year the share of vegetables grown domestically in the United Kingdom was lower than ever. Only just more than half (53%) of the domestic consumption was grown within the borders of the country. The 53% of 2018 was influenced by the small production due to the drought. The decreasing trend has been ongoing for a while. It was rapid until a decade or so ago. In 1993 it was still 97%, according to Jan Keen Boon of Fruit&Vegetable Facts.

Share of own production in fruit rises slightly
The share of domestically grown fruit has risen slightly in recent years in the United Kingdom and reached 17% in 2018. Around 1990 it was still over 20% to then drop to less than 10% shortly after the millennium.

British import of fresh vegetables in 2016 upside down
The area of vegetables in the United Kingdom has remained reasonable stable at around 115,000 ha in recent years. It has been more in some years since the millennium. In the 80's and 90's the British vegetable area was considerably bigger.
The vegetable production has been swinging between 2,4 million tonnes and 2,8 million tonnes since then. Prior to that it was higher, 3,2 million tonnes in the 80's.

Spain 19% and the Netherlands 12%
The import of fresh vegetables grew considerably from year to year until 2005. After this it levelled. In 2016 the peak was reached with an import of 2,37 million tonnes. The last two years there has been a decline but it is still almost the same size as the domestic production.
Spain is the main foreign supplier for the United Kingdom. Last year slightly less than 20% of all vegetables in the United Kingdom were from Spain. The Netherlands was second with a share of 12%, of which 9% Dutch product and 3% re-export via the Netherlands.

The British fruit area has been around 35,000 ha for the last few years. Prior to this it was lower, but it was higher at the end of the last century. As of 2014 the British fruit production has consistently been over 700,000 tonnes. In 2015 it was even 777,000 tonnes. In 2018 it concerned 719,000 tonnes. The import of fresh fruit is increasing from year to year. From around 2 million tonnes in 1990 to 3 million tonnes in 2002 via 3.5 million tonnes in 2012/13 to 4 million tonnes in 2017. in 2018 it was less with 3.74 million tonnes.

Click here for the full report

For more information:

Jan Kees Boon
Fruit and Vegetable Facts
+31 654 687 684
[email protected]  

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