The European Commission has just presented its forecasts for the next ten years in the area of fruit and vegetable production and marketing, focusing on three groups of products: peaches and nectarines, apples and tomatoes.
When it comes to tomatoes, Brussels analysts say that the European production will exceed 16 million tons, with 40% of that intended for fresh consumption and the rest for processing. The report says that the Northwest European producers may be largely responsible for that increase.
According to the Commission, the European production of fresh tomatoes will not undergo major changes compared to the latest campaigns, with only a slight 0.3% fall expected. This will be a result of the reduction of the acreage and the lengthening of the production periods.
The consumption of fresh tomatoes has remained practically at the same level over the last ten years. Europeans consume around 14 kilos of tomatoes per capita per year; a figure that could drop slightly (-0.5%), down to around 13.6 kilos per capita per year, by the end of this next decade.
Small and tasty
According to the study, consumers prefer increasingly smaller tomatoes. The small formats are gaining ground, backed by the commitment that producers and marketing companies are making to enhancing taste, quality and food safety. The consumer is willing to pay more expensive prices for this type of tomatoes and help reduce food waste, which is one of the main hurdles in the race for sustainability.
Regarding imports, 72% of those arriving in the European market come from Morocco and 18% from Turkey. The forecast is that these imports will grow by 0.4% annually.
For his part, the consultant Hans Christoph Behr, an expert in the agri-food sector of the German firm Agrarmarkt Informations-Gessellschaft, said during his speech at the Global Tomato Congress that the tomato production sector is large and still continues to grow. It is doing so not much in terms of volume, but in terms of turnover, mostly thanks to the growth of the so-called "special" formats.