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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, functional drinks have been gaining momentum, with nootropics, immunomodulators, and botanics becoming household terms. Adaptogens, which claim to address rising concerns of stress, anxiety, and balance restoration, have been gaining ground rapidly. In addition, these ingredients help address the challenge of providing consumers with value for money by maintaining quality at steady prices. Against this backdrop, adaptogens are set to become mainstream ingredients, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Bokkala Parthasaradhi Reddy, Lead Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Over the last few years, a health-oriented approach to life has gained a new meaning. Globally, an increasing number of consumers are seeking products that will help them address specific aspects of their overall wellness, such as stress management, sufficient rest, anxiety-easing, and embracing sobriety or mindful drinking. As a result, they are reaching out for goods with added functionalities, active ingredients, or clearly stated health benefits. With their neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, and anti-depressive properties, adaptogens provide multiple benefits, such as boosting immunity, easing anxiety, and relieving stress, which are some of the major consumer focus areas following the pandemic.”

Deepak Nautiyal, Consumer and Retail Commercial Director, APAC and Middle East at GlobalData, notes; “Adaptogens are the new functional ingredients that have found a foothold in non-alcoholic drinks. They can be plant-based or synthetic and can be easily added to a multitude of drinks, such as carbonates, juice, and tea/coffee without altering the flavor or taste profile of these drinks. One of the primary advantages of adaptogens is the ease of use, as they can be consumed as dietary supplement capsules, in teas, or added to non-alcoholic drinks such as carbonates and juice. However, adaptogens cannot be termed as exclusive ingredients as many of them provide the benefits of nootropics and immunomodulators and the other way around.”

Reddy adds: “Some of the common plant-based adaptogens include Panax ginseng, Rhodiola crenulata, and Schisandra chinensis, which have been used to control or manage multiple conditions, including blood sugar control, brain health, fatigue, anxiety, depression, stress, liver diseases, and menopause symptoms. Ginseng is the most popular among these adaptogens and is widely used for its immunity-boosting attribute. Meanwhile, synthetic adaptogens, known as “actoprotectors” have similar functions and enhance body stability without increasing oxygen consumption or heat production, boosting mental and physical resistance, and increasing blood flow. However, these attributes, which enhance the appeal of synthetic adaptogens, also make them unsuitable for consumption by athletes.”

Nautiyal continues: “In addition to their health benefits, adaptogens also help in engaging consumer interest. With the majority of consumers reeling from the impact of high inflation, value for money has emerged as a key theme in consumer purchases. With rising input costs, manufacturers are being forced to provide more value to the consumer’s dollar. This is reinforced by a GlobalData consumer survey*, wherein 27 % of consumers perceive low price/cheap good value for money, and an equal number of respondents perceive high-quality products/ingredients as value for money.”

Reddy observes: “The addition of adaptogens will help to attract consumers who prefer high-quality ingredients. Moreover, these consumers will be inclined to pay more for proven health benefits, as evident in 84 % and 80 % of respondents in the same survey who opined “good for physical fitness/health” and “good for mental health” as an essential or nice to have features in their purchase decisions.”

Nautiyal concludes: “The benefits of adaptogens, which include managing stress and anxiety, are among the most sought-after features among consumers. In non-alcoholic drinks, adaptogens are being used in beverages positioned as alcohol substitutes, and natural energy drinks or night-time drinks that are claimed to improve the quality of sleep and rest, and their adoption is expanding. However, adaptogens are new to the market, and the potential impact of long-term use has not been proven. For instance, dosage control and the potential reactions to medications are still being studied. Hence, despite the significant benefits, adaptogens cannot be a universal panacea for addressing stress and anxiety. Manufacturers will have to address these concerns to push more brands to adaptogens.”

*GlobalData 2023 Q4 Consumer Survey – Asia & Australasia, with 6,163 respondents

Freshfel Europe’s latest edition of the Consumption Monitor indicates that the average fruit and vegetable consumption in the EU grew to 364,58 g/day/capita in 2021. However, this positive trend that started during the coronavirus pandemic has already been curbed by the economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Freshfel Europe stresses the importance of reaching the minimum daily goal of 400 g per capita of fruit and vegetables recommended by the WHO, based on their strong health and environmental benefits.

Freshfel Europe has released its latest edition of the Consumption Monitor. The report provides a comparison of consumption trends in the EU-27 as a whole and in each Member State based on official statistics from EUROSTAT and FAOSTAT. In the past two decades, the Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor has become increasingly important in evaluating the trends of fresh fruit and vegetable production, trade, and consumption in Europe. The report, whose look and structure were revamped this year on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, is a unique document looking both at the business development and the evolution of the daily diet of fresh produce in Europe.

This year’s edition shows that the average fruit and vegetable consumption in the EU grew to 364,58 g/day/capita in 2021, a 2,19 % increase from 2020 and 1,27 % above the average of the previous five years. This is still, however, almost 10 % below the minimum 400 g/day/capita recommended by the WHO. In 2021, the EU-27 fresh produce market size reached 74.354.475 T. This growth is in line with the positive trend that started in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the lifestyle of Europeans, in addition to increasing their sympathy towards environmental causes and climate change. However, fruit and vegetable consumption has become under pressure in Europe because of the economic crisis following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022. This is severely impacting consumer purchasing power and limiting their food expenditure. Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel Europe commented: “In times of crisis, consumers tend to move towards a less healthy diet, which is perceived to be more energy satisfactory and a cheaper food option than fruit and vegetables. The 2022 and early 2023 trends clearly indicate that the post-pandemic consumption growth has been lost, as consumption has declined by more than 10 % in many cases. These latest developments, which are not yet incorporated into this year’s Consumption Monitor, will be confirmed in the upcoming editions”.
The Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor confirms that only a few countries in the EU reach the recommended goal of at least 400g of fresh fruits and vegetables/day/capita. Despite the growth in consumption in 2021, more needs to be done to stimulate consumption, in particular in light of the latest developments.

Freshfel Europe believes there can be no compromise on the urgency of actions needed to address the consumption challenge. The fruit and vegetable sector should keep building on the momentum of increased consumption based on the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables for the planet, the climate, and the health of the consumers themselves. This is also reflected by the current priorities on the European agenda, such as the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy, the FIT55 target, the Circular Economy Action Plan, as well as Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan where fruits and vegetables are not part of the problem but part of the solution. Fresh produce must be recognised as essential products.

On the way forward, Freshfel is also concerned that, according to a 2019 EUROSTAT survey, 33 % of EU consumers consume zero portions of fruit and vegetables each day, and another 55 % do not reach the five recommended portions per day. A further source of concern is that the lowest consumption rates are seen amongst the younger generations and in lower-income households. This is a concerning situation according to Mr. Binard, who states that: “The younger generations are the consumers of tomorrow, and more efforts must be made to educate and introduce young people to the versatility and qualities of fresh fruits and vegetables”.

Fruit and vegetables have many assets and are an affordable food option for European consumers. However, despite the momentum to move towards a plant diet, a number of misperceptions create obstacles to consumption. Freshfel Europe President Salvo Laudani commented: “We need to counter the misperception that fruits and vegetables are expensive. The sector needs to reinforce its message to demonstrate that it operates within a sustainable food systems format to deliver affordable, nutritional and healthy products in order to move consumers towards a plant diet”. Boosting consumption and reaching the recommended 400g/day/capita by adding one piece of fruit or vegetables to the daily diet of European consumers would boost the European market size by almost 20 % or 15 million T. For the consumer, a healthy diet that reaches the minimum recommendation remains affordable and can be achieved for less than 2 €/day.

The Freshfel Consumption Monitor is available for Freshfel members but can be purchased by non-members at a cost of 2.500 €.

Group EBIT target for full year unchanged

At € 31.2 million (Q3 2020|21: € 28.5 million), the consolidated EBIT of AGRANA Beteiligungs-AG in the third quarter of 2021/22 (1 September to 30 November 2021) was higher than expected. The key driver was considerably higher revenues in the Starch segment due to an all-time high of ethanol prices.

As a result, in the first three quarters of 2021/22 (1 March to 30 November 2021), AGRANA generated earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of € 76.0 million (Q1-3 2020|21: € 84.3 million). Group revenue amounted to € 2,169.6 million (Q1-3 2020|21: € 1,965.3 million).

The guidance for the full financial year 2021/22, according to which Group EBIT will increase significantly, remains unchanged; the forecast is for earnings before interest and tax to rise by at least 10 %.

Due to the extreme volatility in terms of commodity and energy prices as well as the COVID-19 situation again intensifying – the fourth wave in combination with the appearance of the Omikron variant – the forecast for the full year is characterised by a very high degree of uncertainty.

Further details relating to the development of business in the first three quarters of 2021/22 and more information about the various segments will be published by the Group as scheduled on 13 January 2022.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the apple industry up and down the supply chain, it has also presented unique opportunities, according to a new report released by the U.S. Apple Association at the organization’s 126th annual Outlook Conference. Considering these opportunities, and despite a challenging 18 months, apple production is expected to exceed 11 billion pounds this crop year.

USApple’s “Industry Outlook 2021” provides the most up-to-date data and analysis on U.S. and global apple production, utilization and trade. Authored by USApple Director of Industry Analytics Chris Gerlach, the report takes an in-depth look at the many trends and forces – from H-2A labor issues to online grocery shopping – helping to shape the U.S. apple industry.

Production

According to a USApple analysis of Agriculture Department data, total U.S. apple production for the 2021-22 crop year will exceed 11.1 billion pounds or 265.4 million bushels. This represents a 2.7 percent increase compared to 2020-21 crop year production of 258.6 million bushels and is 1.3 percent less than the five-year production average.

Gerlach noted that these figures are more comprehensive than USDA data, which only looks at the top seven apple-producing states. “We’ve analyzed the production from states outside of the top seven and added that back to USDA’s figure,” explained Gerlach.

At the varietal level, Gala is expected to retain the top spot with almost 49.3 million bushels produced, accounting for around 19 percent of the U.S. apple market. Rounding out the top five are Red Delicious (35.7 m bu), Honeycrisp (31 m bu), Fuji (29.1 m bu) and Granny Smith (27.2 m bu). In comparison, the 2020 top five produced apple varieties were: 1) Gala 2) Red Delicious 3) Fuji 4) Honeycrisp and 5) Granny Smith.

Trade

With respect to fresh apple imports and exports, the U.S. still retains a healthy positive trade balance. In the 2020-21 crop year. the U.S. exported almost 41 million bushels of fresh apples while only importing around 5.2 million bushels. These net exports (35.6 m bu) are valued at almost $773.8 million.

“On a year-over-year basis, while the balance of trade has declined with respect to quantity, it has increased in value,” said Gerlach. “This is primarily being caused by a rapid decline in the value of imports from the 2019-20 crop year, but is also due to some resilience in export values which have not decreased as much relative to export quantities.”

Labor

“Any assessment of the U.S. apple industry must consider the agricultural employment situation,” said Gerlach. “We are losing domestic workers faster than we can replace them and so, increasingly, growers have had to turn to seasonal migrant labor, or H-2A workers, to meet their needs.”

This is a critical issue for the U.S. apple industry because this source of labor is expensive and getting more so. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the minimum compensation rate for H-2A labor, has been increasing by more than 5 percent annually for the last 10 years.

From 2014 to 2020, average annual crop production employment fell by 3 percent and, in apple orchards specifically, it declined by 20 percent.

Consumer Trends

“Fortunately, throughout the disruptions brought on by COVID-19, the U.S. apple industry has not seen any considerable decrease in domestic demand,” said Gerlach.

Throughout the pandemic, apple packers and marketers have been quick to respond by offering bagged apples that give consumers added peace of mind by reducing the handling needed to stock and pick the fruit. Also, notes Gerlach, the most significant consumer trend to come out of the pandemic was the rate at which shoppers embraced e-commerce grocery shopping, which also aided the sale of apples. By the first quarter of 2021, e-commerce had grown to account for 3.5 percent of food and beverage store sales at $6.9 billion (up from $1.5 billion in Q1 of 2018 – an increase of more than 377 percent).

“All of these external forces, from labor costs to consumer grocery trends, will continue to shape apple production and utilization throughout the coming years,” said Gerlach.

The long-established trend towards proactively managing our health and well-being has been brought into sharper focus by COVID-19. Research by Innova Market Insights reveals a new wave of opportunity for functional nutrition product launches for 2021 and beyond.

Even prior to COVID-19, consumers were taking a more holistic approach to health, focusing on positive nutrition to boost the body’s resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. The impact of the pandemic brought health needs even more to the fore, with the growing desire to maintain physical and mental fitness developing alongside the more immediate focus on personal health security and hygiene. This included choosing functional food and beverages, as well as maintaining or increasing exercise, protecting the body from health threats and utilizing more self-care products at home as access to shops and services was restricted.

Consumers across the globe are placing increased emphasis on positive nutrition rather than the more traditional reductionist methods of diet control. An average 71 % of respondents in Innova’s 2020 Health & Nutrition Survey agreed that it was important or very important to choose food and drink products that positively boost nutrition or benefit how the body functions.

Consumers from different generations and different parts of the world are invested in their own personalized nutrition, with varying needs, motivations and behavior driving interest in specific functional benefits. The under 35s tend to focus more on physical appearance and performance, for example, while the older groups, particularly the Boomers (56+ years), are more interested in targeted or age-specific health benefits.

Gut feeling

According to Innova Market Insights, future directions for NPD will be influenced by consumers continuing to seek foods and beverages that actively improve physical and mental health, with growing opportunities for products carrying multiple health claims, such as gut health, immunity and mood.

The additional benefits of a healthy gut, beyond the more established areas of digestion and immunity, continue to be explored. For example, there is rising evidence about the gut-skin axis and how reducing sugary and fatty diets can help tackle skin and joint inflammation. Similarly, there is a growing understanding of how good bacteria in the gut can prompt improvements in mental health.

The need to boost the body’s resilience has driven a greater focus on the emotional aspects of mental health, enabling improvements in mood and happiness by reducing stress and fatigue, as well as optimizing relaxation and sleep patterns. Consumers have become more interested in the way that food and beverages can contribute to their mood and mental state. This has seen rising use of mood-related claims for new products, particularly those highlighting brain function, focus and concentration, often linked to the inclusion of adaptogens such as CBD.

German consumers have been turning away from juices in the last five years* as these drinks are considered to have a high sugar content. Therefore, juice makers are turning towards innovations in wellness drinks that are clear about their ingredient and nutritional benefits. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData says prebiotic juices with ingredients such as banana, garlic, apple and cocoa have the potential to be the next big thing in Germany.

Holly Inglis, Beverages Analyst at GlobalData comments: “The German juice market has seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) wane of 1.6 % in terms of volume over the last five years, spelling bad news for manufacturers. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the introduction of prebiotic juices.

“While we haven’t (yet!) seen garlic-flavoured drinks on the shelves, German producers have already started to focus their efforts on juices that promote immunity such as private label brand Dirk Rossmann, whose new launch combines prebiotic apple, mango, vegetable extract, shiitake mushroom and coconut juice. There is long-term potential for German juice manufactures to limit the declines witnessed in the category over the last few years, with the potential to capitalise on novel, innovative and trendy flavours – that in all, promote health and wellness.”

As we have seen before, reformulating products to remove sugar doesn’t always cut it. Experimenting with prebiotic ingredients such as ginger and turmeric emphasise unique ‘added benefits’, as well as being new to the market and appealing to experimental consumers.

Inglis continues: “GlobalData’s latest survey tells us that 55 %* of German consumers find ingredients that claim to improve digestive health somewhat or very appealing. That’s a large proportion of the market engaged in improving their digestive health. It is also noteworthy that, since the onset of COVID-19, a number of consumers have increased their focus on how these ingredients can improve their mental and physical wellbeing.”

In 2020, the German juice market witnessed a number of innovations from producers such as Hitchcock turmeric juice shot and Innocent ginger power shot; both of which have an ‘on-the-go’ pack size, which appeals to time-short consumers who are seeking to boost their immune system.

Inglis adds: “In the same survey, 49 %* of consumers highlighted that immunity-boosting ingredients are somewhat or very appealing. Producers could benefit from innovating beverages that boast these claims and sell at premium prices.”

*GlobalData’s Q2-21 Consumer Survey Results – Germany – Combined responses: “Somewhat appealing” and “Very appealing”

More than four in ten consumers have increased their purchases of functional foods, beverages and supplements since the start of the pandemic, a major global survey has found.

Kerry, the makers of clinically proven immune health ingredient Wellmune®, surveyed 13,000 people across 16 countries to provide manufacturers with insights into the impact of COVID-19 on purchasing behaviours.

Forty-four per cent of respondents globally said they had bought more dietary supplements since the outbreak of the pandemic, while 42 % had increased their purchases of functional or fortified foods and beverages.

Respondents were presented with a list of health areas and asked which were reasons for buying healthy lifestyle products. Globally nearly six in ten (58 %) chose immune system support, significantly more than the numbers who picked healthy bones and joints (46 %), digestive health (43 %), heart health (40 %) and improved energy (39 %). Immune health was the top health benefit sought by consumers in each of the 16 countries surveyed.

As many as 39 % of consumers had used an immune health product over the past six months and a further 30 % would consider doing so in future, suggesting a total potential immune health market of 69 %.

John Quilter, Kerry VP of Global Portfolio – ProActive Health, said: “Interest in health and wellness has never been higher and we wanted to give the industry new insights into changing purchasing habits. One of our key findings was the scale of the impact of the pandemic on demand – not just for immune health products, but for functional foods, beverages, and supplements overall. Consumers were adopting increasingly proactive, holistic attitudes to health, wellness and nutrition long before 2020 but the pandemic has massively accelerated this trend.”

The survey also reveals the food and beverage categories where immune health is a particularly powerful purchase driver. One in three (33 %) consumers said they would be interested in purchasing fruit and vegetable juices if they contained ingredients that promoted immune support. Many other categories were also seen as a good fit for immune health benefits, including spoonable yogurt (31 %), dairy-based drinks (28 %) and hot beverages (24 %).

Eckes-Granini Group GmbH can look back on a challenging business year in 2020, which was strongly influenced by the global COVID-19 pandemic. With an EBIT of 71 million EUR and an EBIT margin of 8.7 %, business results fell short of expectations in the past year, but the international corporate group for non-alcoholic fruit beverages nevertheless draws a satisfactory conclusion. Compared to the previous year, the company managed to almost maintain its EBIT margin, which was 8.9 % in 2019. Total turnover fell from EUR 921 million in the 2019 financial year to 873 million EUR in 2020 (-5.2 %), while sales volumes also declined in 2020, falling by 10 million litres to 843 million litres.

Eckes-Granini sets the course for future growth and generates solid results in the 2020 business year
Tim Berger (Photo: Eckes-Granini Group)

“The past business year was without a question a challenge for all of us. However, together we have managed to respond to this extraordinary situation with great flexibility and willingness to perform. We have maintained our supply chain and production throughout the year and expanded our market leadership in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect us in 2021. This year, we will set the strategic internal course for sustainable growth “after Corona”,” says Tim Berger, CEO of the Eckes-Granini Group.

After an initially promising start to the first quarter of 2020, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive setback in the out-of-home business from March onwards. In almost all European countries, restaurants and hotels were completely closed for months due to the Corona restrictions. Accordingly, Eckes-Granini suffered losses of up to 50 % in the out-of-home business in some markets.

Strong food retail partially offsets losses in the out-of-home business

The demand for fruit juices and fruit beverages developed positively in 2020. In contrast to previous years, which saw a declining trend, the FJND (Fruit Juice Nectar Drinks) market developed positively in 2020, both in terms of value (+2.2 %) and volume (+1.5 %). In particular the chilled-juice and ambient-juice segments were able to grow. With a growth of 3.9 %, Eckes-Granini grew almost twice as fast as the market in terms of value and was thus the growth driver in the FJND category again last year. In the food retail segment, the Eckes-Granini Group increased sales by 3 %, driven in particular by higher demand as a result of the ongoing Corona pandemic. Overall, the good results in food retail helped to compensate, at least in part, for the drastic decline in the out-of-home business.

Ongoing health awareness among consumers offers growth potential

The rising demand for fruit juices is also attributable to the continuing strong health trend among consumers. This is reflected in the positive development of the
Eckes-Granini Benefit Ranges, which have won over consumers with their additional health benefits. In Germany, Hungary, Austria and Lithuania, for example, the hohes C PLUS range grew by a total of 10 %, thus outpacing the overall growth of Eckes-Granini brands (+5.9 %) in these markets. The juices in the God Morgon Benefit range also benefited from this trend, with growth of 5 %, as did the shots of the Eckes-Granini brands Rynkeby, Brämhults and Marli.

In solidarity through the pandemic

The difficult situation in the out-of-home market was not the only challenge Eckes- Granini was facing in the pandemic year 2020. Ensuring smooth processes along the supply chain, in production and in operations also demanded a great deal from employees in terms of flexibility and commitment. Nevertheless, in the midst of the global crisis, it was important for the Group not to lose sight of its long-standing business partners and the situation in the communities in which Eckes-Granini operates. In an effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, Eckes-Granini supported restaurant owners Germany, Austria and France, among other countries, with donations. Under the umbrella of the Group-wide “Corona Relief Fund”, all eleven national subsidiaries of the Eckes-Granini Group also donated some 500,000 litres of fruit juice to people in systemically important professions and to charitable institutions from April to September 2020. And in the pandemic year, the international charity cycling initiative Team Rynkeby also collected 8.7 million EUR for seriously ill children despite many restrictions with regional country tours. Eckes-Granini has been a main sponsor and partner of the charity cycling race since 2016.

Sustainable management was also a priority in 2020

In the past business year, Eckes-Granini achieved a number of strategic milestones on its way to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable fruit juice producers by establishing an in-house sustainability team. The orange juices of Brazil, granini and God Morgon have carried the Group’s own “Sustainably Grown” label since last year and are produced from 100 % sustainably grown oranges. Through its cooperation with ClimatePartner, Eckes-Granini has also come closer to its goal of successively reducing all greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by its own business activities and offsetting them through a compensation project in Portel, Brazil.

Setting the course for future growth

“We have set ourselves a lot of goals for 2025. At the top are innovations strictly oriented to the wishes, expectations and needs of consumers. The current beverage market offers Eckes-Granini numerous growth opportunities, which we will explore. Our goal is to significantly increase our sales revenues and market share in Europe and beyond by 2025″, says Tim Berger, CEO of the Eckes-Granini Group. To this end, the Eckes-Granini Group will continue to develop and expand its strategic brands and existing channels in a targeted manner over the next five years and invest substantially in dynamic growth categories. There will be a clear focus on channels that promise profitable growth, especially e-commerce.”

You can find further information and download the business report at: https://bit.ly/3xK2s2G

About the Eckes-Granini Group:
Eckes-Granini is the leading supplier of fruit juices and fruit beverages in Europe. For the independent family-owned company headquartered in Nieder-Olm, Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate), the focus is on committed and competent employees, strong brands in the areas of juices, fruit beverages and smoothies, and a long-term strategic orientation with sustainable value creation. Today, Eckes-Granini operates mainly in Europe with its own national companies and strategic partners and generates annual sales of 873 million euros with a total of 1708 employees. The company’s foundation is formed by the internationally renowned premium brands granini and Pago together with strong national and regional brands for juices and fruit beverages. Consumers in 80 countries worldwide and especially in Europe know and appreciate our fruit juices and the variety of fruit beverages.

Over the past months Freshfel Europe has been advocating in cooperation with its members for more flexibility from the UK when it comes to the obligation for EU fresh produce exports to the UK to carry phytosanitary certificates from 1 April. In an announcement (March 11th) by the UK government about the adjustment of the timelines in the introduction of controls for EU imports, made in a written statement by RT Hon Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, is therefore warmly welcomed by Freshfel Europe and the fruit and vegetables sector as a crucial relief to enable the sector to smoothly adapt to Brexit in the ever-challenging context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the announcement, the UK agrees to postpone the introduction of phytosanitary certification obligations for most fresh produce, considered low risk plant products, until January 2022, when documentary checks will start to apply. Physical checks at Border Control Posts on fresh produce will only be applied from March 2022. Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard emphasized that, “Freshfel Europe has been voicing strong concerns over the last months and we consider that this postponement is essential to ensure the supply of the UK market and the continuation of trade flows through the Channel, across which the EU27 exports over 3 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables a year”. Currently EU supply represents 40 % of the UK’s internal demand for fresh produce.

Following this welcome news, the sector further calls EU and UK authorities to make the most of this extended 9- month transition to speed-up preparations to ensure the smooth running of operations in 2022. The challenge remains enormous – over 750,000 phytosanitary certificates will be required on an annual basis to sustain EU-UK trade in fresh produce, a substantial economic and administrative burden, and a threat to the capacity of the industry to continue ‘just in time’ operations if administrative procedures are not sped-up. Freshfel Europe Director for Trade and Market Access Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe, highlighted that, “In Freshfel Europe and FPC’s letter to the RT Hon Michael Gove, the sector reiterated the need for electronic certification transmission between the EU and the UK to be up and running before the end of the year through the e-Phyto hub”. The postponement will give more time on both side of the Channel to work on digitalization and the successful introduction of electronic certification in 2022.

Process engineering group GEA and Israeli foodtech start-up Better Juice have joined forces to help beverage manufacturers produce healthier, lower-sugar fruit juice.

Better Juice has developed a groundbreaking solution that naturally reduces the amount of sugar in fresh juice by up to 80 percent, without affecting its nutritional value or taste. GEA is now engineering the process technology the start-up needs, setting this innovative solution on course for industrial production.

Demand for healthier juice

GEA frequently works with innovations partners such as start-ups in order to react more quickly to market trends and explore alternative solutions. Reducing the amount of sugar in our diets is one of the dominant themes in the food industry today, since people who consume excess sugar are more likely to be overweight, obese, or suffer from conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for orange juice as a vitamin-rich, immune-boosting drink*

Please read the full article in the February issue of FRUIT PROCESSING digital.

*Source: The Wall Street Journal (2020): “Grocery-Store Rush Spurs Big Gains in Sleepy Orange-Juice Futures”

In Tune with Immune is one of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2021, reflecting how immunity and health has become top of mind for consumers, with ongoing anxieties over COVID-19 continuing to be a key focus for next year and beyond.

“Ongoing anxiety stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to push consumers toward prioritizing their immune health,” according to Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights. “Immunity boosting ingredients will play a significant role for the coming year”, she reports, “while research and interest in the role of the microbiome and personalized nutrition as ways to strengthen immunity will accelerate”.

According to Innova’s Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019.

Innova’s research also indicated that 54 % of global consumers claimed to have spent time educating themselves on ingredients and procedures that could boost their immune health in the wake of concerns over COVID-19. When asked which elements would be most important to achieve, immune health, choosing foods naturally high in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) featured in the top three. Also prominent was getting enough sleep and being physically healthy. There is an associated increase in interest in botanical ingredients in particular.

As might perhaps be expected in the light of this, the use of immune health positionings for food and drinks is also rising, with 1.65 % of global launches over the first ten months of 2020 using this type of claim, up from just 1 % five years previously.

Rising numbers of launches in a wide range of food and beverage categories are focusing on the use of terms such as immune health, immune boosting, immunity support, etc. These feature across a wide range of different types of product, led by baby & toddler products (particularly milks and formulas), ahead of sports nutrition (particularly sports powders) and dairy products (particularly drinking yogurt/fermented beverages).

The link is also increasingly being made between probiotics/prebiotics, digestive/ gut health and immune support. Consumer awareness of the benefits of probiotics is still gaining traction, with its relationship to gut health and a strong immune system increasingly being made.

Prebiotics have generally been slower to establish themselves in the consumer consciousness; although they have been around for many years, it is only relatively recently that they have started to move into the mainstream. Innova Market Insights reports a 20 % global growth for food and beverage launches with prebiotics in 2018 over 2017 and a further rise of over 13 % for 2019. Often used in combination with probiotics, prebiotics are featuring across a range of food and drinks launches, led by baby & toddler products, ahead of soft drinks and dairy products.

The pandemic and associated travel and event restrictions have also had an impact on Anuga FoodTec, which was originally scheduled for March 2021. After extensive discussions with industry participants and the German Agricultural Society (DLG), the professional and conceptual sponsor of the trade fair, Koelnmesse sees no alternative but to postpone Anuga FoodTec. The next Anuga FoodTec will take place from 26 to 29 April 2022.

“We sincerely regret that we have to postpone Anuga FoodTec until 2022 despite good preparation and encouragement from the industry. In the past few weeks, however, it has become apparent that there is growing skepticism and concern among all involved. As a result, many companies have pulled out in view of the infection situation and current uncertainty. However, Anuga FoodTec cannot take place without the important key factors of internationality and cross-industry participation. With this in mind, we have responded to the industry’s wish to postpone the trade fair with the new date,” says Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse. “The new event date is the best possible solution, taking into consideration the international trade fair calendar, and the available time and space capacities. This allows us to provide the industry with a vision and planning security”.

In 2022, the trade fair will take place as a hybrid event, combining both an inperson and digital platform. The addition of a digital platform to the physical component creates the foundation for as many people as possible from Germany and abroad to have access to the latest technologies and processes in the food and beverage industry and for promoting sustainable networking within the industry.

“Like the companies, we will use the time to fully prepare ourselves for the upcoming trade fair and boost the industry’s restart further with digital tools and additional reach. Koelnmesse will of course continue to count on the presence of international exhibitors and visitors in April 2022,” continued Frese. “Trade fairs offer the opportunity for products and the people behind them to be experienced through personal interaction and exchange. This is the ideal basis for successful business.”

“As the professional and conceptual sponsor of Anuga FoodTec, we very much regret that the leading international supplier fair for the food and beverage industry will not be able to take place in March 2021 as planned. As a platform for professionalexchange across industry boundaries, Anuga FoodTec is a central partner for the entire food sector, focusing on current topics and providing important impetus with the presentation of forward-looking technologies and innovations. We are therefore even more pleased that in spring 2022 Anuga FoodTec will once again be the meeting place for the international food technology and supplier industry under the guiding theme ‘Smart Solutions – Higher Flexibility'”, says Simone Schiller, Managing Director of the DLG Food Technology Center.

Koelnmesse is the organiser of Anuga FoodTec. DLG is the professional and conceptual sponsor of Anuga FoodTec.

There is a saying among those who have been in the industry for a long time: “there is no harvest like the other”. The current one is overcoming itself; such are the difficulties faced.

The first signs that the season would be different were given by last year’s bloom. Blooming in August and September 2019 was very good. However, a period with no rain in the following months accompanied by intense heat has caused an expressive fruitlet fall. The fruits developed until a 2-3 cm diameter size but were overturned by excessive heat. Rains came up in the end of October and a new flowering is expected.

The harvest season was preceded by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The great demand for labor, much of it coming from northeastern states in the country, concerned everyone and made us take extraordinary care to preserve the health of workers involved in the harvest and of other collaborators from other sectors of the properties.

Thus, the current harvest has been one of great surprises and has presented unusual challenges to citrus growers of the Brazilian citrus belt. The main consequences are presented below.

The period without rain, from May of this year until this last month of October, was one of the most extensive ever recorded in the state of São Paulo, according to the graphs and tables below. In addition to drought, very high maximum temperatures were recorded, even at night, causing considerable weight loss and lower fruit quality. The water deficit was very significant in all regions. This is the main reason for the significant decrease in the volume of fruit produced in the “citrus belt”. The losses are more accentuated in the north of the state of São Paulo and in the Triângulo Mineiro, warmer and drier regions.

  1. However, even further south in the state, losses were above normal. The first harvest estimate released by Fundecitrus, last May, brought an amount of 287.8 million boxes, 25% less than the previous harvest (2019/2020). What you see in the field is a volume of oranges quite below that number. The common perception among consulted technicians and citrus growers is that the final figure is expected to be below 250 million, perhaps below that.
  2. The period without rain and with temperatures well above the average resulted in extremely withered orchards – plants even died in orchards without irrigation. Another aggravating factor this year was the scarcity of water for irrigation. There are properties that have an installed irrigation structure; however, they do not have enough water available to meet the needs of the plants.
  3. The most difficult of all harvestsDue to the flowering in non-traditional months (December and January) there are a large number of “green”, not yet ripe fruits mixed with ripe fruits from the normal flowering (August-September 2019). This brings an additional difficulty to the harvesting operation that has to be carried out in at least two different times, resulting in an increase of the production cost for the citrus growers.
  4. This mix of fruits with different level of ripeness, impair the quality of the juices, especially due to the greater amount of limonin present in the green peels of oranges. On the other hand, in the northern regions of the citrus belt, the fruits are getting ripe much faster than normal, producing juices with a ratio (ratio between the amount of sugars divided to acidity) much higher than the average for the period of the year. Industrial income has been better this year than in the previous two years, at least until this time of the harvest (November 2020).
  5. As a further consequence of this year’s climate events, we will see an increase in the effects of HLB or greening. The symptoms of the disease, such as early fruit fall and low production, usually express themselves more strongly when there is a water deficit. In addition, the psilideo, vector of the disease, presented very high rates even in winter, indicating that we will have a greater number of infected plants in the next years. This has probably occurred because of the warmer climate which resulted in a very irregular or uneven plant vegetation.

What can we expect from the next crop?

The northernmost regions only flourished after the rains that fell in the last days of October. This late blooming should not have a good fruit set because they will be still small in the higher summer temperatures. Moreover, the loss of leaves was very great in the recent drought period, and this will not allow for a large amount of fruit for the next season, since the plant will not be able to provide the metabolites necessary for an expressive fruit set. A good 21/22 harvest is not to be expected for these regions.

In the most southern regions, which suffered less from water deficit, the flowering came in the normal period, between August and September. However, irregular rainfall and high winter temperatures (table 2), after flowering, have worried producers. What they see in their orchards does not indicate a good harvest for the second year in a row. My experience shows that the harvest after a year as irregular as this one is also not usually good.

The most difficult of all harvests

Price of juice should go up

Although it is common for citrus to have alternate crops, i.e., smaller crops followed by larger crops, the climatic factors presented in this article should result in two “small” crops in a row, the current and the next seasons.

Thus, Brazilian orange juice industries should process fewer oranges for two consecutive years. This reduction in supply, combined with the growing demand for juices in times of pandemic, should cause increases in the price of juices on the international market.

Author:
Mauricio Mendes
Citrus Consultant
Agriplanning Brazilian Agribusiness Company
GCONCI (Citrus Consultant Group)

Mauricio Mendes is a citrus consultant sine 1980 and Citrus grower since 1988. Has worked to major Citrus Farms in Brazil. Is COO of a 6.000 ha Citrus Farms operation in the SW od Sao Paulo State. Mauricio is also Beachead Advisor for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) . Also has been partner and CEO, for 14 years, of Informa FNP which is one of the most important Agribusiness consultant company in Brazil. FNP was recently acquired by IHS Markit.
Mauricio is also member of GCONCI (Citrus Farming Consultants Group) which gathers 17 Consultants. GCONCI provide direct technical assistance to over 40 million citrus plants (25 % of the Brazilian Citrus Belt)

*Araraquara and Itapetininga are major production citrus regions in São Paulo State.

Uncertainty among companies due to high infection numbers proved too great

In agreement with its partners in associations and the industry, and with the trade fair advisory committee, Messe Düsseldorf has decided to cancel both interpack and components 2021, scheduled to take place from 25 February to 3 March, due to the restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have done everything we can to do justice to interpack’s tremendous importance for the processing and packaging industry, even during this pandemic – above all because we have received encouragement from the industry in support of a face-to-face event and have a hygiene concept that has been tried and tested in practice in place to protect everyone involved. Ultimately, however, feedback from our exhibitors has shown that the uncertainty is too great, and we are thus unable to host an interpack event that would meet the standards of a leading international trade fair,” explains Wolfram N. Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “On 25 November, the Federal Government and the German states decided to implement stricter measures in Germany, and to possibly even extend these measures into the new year. This, unfortunately, does not give cause for hope that the situation will improve significantly over the course of the coming months. This will affect all Messe Düsseldorf events in the first quarter. We are now focussing on the next edition of interpack, which will take place in May 2023 according to plan, and which we will supplement with extended online offers,” Diener goes on to explain.

Messe Düsseldorf had offered registered exhibitors special conditions for their participation and at the same time granted them an extraordinary right of termination for those companies that were unable or unwilling to take part.

“Besides the unique market coverage, it provides, interpack is primarily characterised by the direct exchange of information between market-leading companies and top decision-makers for brand names around the world. This is exactly what is now largely prevented by continuously high infection numbers in core Europe and the associated and continuing travel restrictions and quarantine regulations. We therefore welcome Messe Düsseldorf’s decision to cancel interpack 2021 and are focussing on interpack 2023,” says Christian Traumann, President of interpack 2021 and Managing Director & Group President at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG.

“For the industry, in-person meetings and live experiences are still extremely important, especially when it comes to complex technology. Both enable a direct market comparison to be drawn and foster new ideas as well as new leads and networks – this is something online formats only offer in part. We are now looking forward to a successful interpack 2023, where the industry can once again come together at its leading global trade fair in Düsseldorf,” analyses Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association.

Until the next edition of the leading trade fair, the industry can access continuous updates on industry trends, developments and innovations at www.interpack.de. The online offer for components is available at www.packaging-components.de. Additional online options will be made available for exhibitors and visitors of the upcoming interpack and components 2023.

T. Hasegawa announced the release of their Japanese citrus flavour portfolio. T. Hasegawa’s Japanese heritage combined with their team of highly skilled flavour chemists carefully crafted a rich array of sweet, sour, tart and refreshing Japanese citrus flavours that are grown and harvested across the country of Japan.

Each citrus in the collection has a distinctive taste and aroma that will enhance a variety of products from beverages, bakery, dressings, dairy, frozen desserts, sauces, seasonings, snacks and much more. The portfolio includes the following flavour profiles available in water-soluble, oil-soluble and powder form.

Yuzu – Versatile with sour, tart notes and resembles a grapefruit with a hint of mikan orange.

Sudachi – Slightly spicy, sharp, with a tangy taste accented by bergamot notes.

Kabosu – Mild juiciness with a slight metallic note and is an ideal replacement for lime in fish and meats.

Mikan – Fresh, sweet with a juicy character and ideal for the North American palate.

Shikuwasa – A rich citrus flavor with a sour taste and lends itself well to desserts, chips, sweets, juices, jams, dressings and alcoholic beverages.

Iyokan – Sweet and sour profile and can be used as an alternative to orange in confectionery and dessert.

Natsumikan – Slightly bitter, sour and juicy, which makes the perfect accompaniment for dessert and herbal sparkling beverages.

Hassaku – Characterized by its crisp, fresh floral and grapefruit-like notes this citrus.

“The flavours of Japan are often a source of flavour inspiration for product developers across the globe and continue to show strong market growth” says Doug Resh, Director Commercial Marketing. “We are excited to provide our customers on-trend flavours that will elevate and deliver a unique twist to their brand.”

Yuzu in particular has opened up the world to Japanese citrus profiles. Over the last several years, Western chefs featured yuzu as an aromatic and flavourful ingredient in Japanese-inspired dishes; while consumer packaged foods companies featured yuzu in sweets, sauces, vinegars and RTD beverages

According to Mintel, demand for Japanese food increased in the United States by 19.1 % between 2015-2018. With consumers continuing to experience a stronger desire to travel during quarantine, authentic and functional ingredients with engaging stories can quell the frustrations of staying put. Consuming world cuisine offers a substitute for travel, encourages experimentation and it’s easy on the wallet as an affordable excitement.

About T. Hasegawa USA Inc.
Being a global top-10 flavor and fragrance company, T. Hasegawa continues to pioneer the flavour industry with a customer experience that is optimized to rapidly respond with technical expertise. We deliver superior products that meet all your requirements no matter how complex the demand. Recognizing that the food industry needs flexibility, we proactively listen to our customers’ needs in an effort to develop better ways of delivering formulations that have excellent taste and aroma to fit form and function.

Europeans have an average per capita purchasing power of €13,894 in 2020. However, disposable net income among the 42 studied countries varies significantly. Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg have the highest disposable net income, while Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine have the lowest. Liechtensteiners have more than 37 times the average purchasing power of Ukrainians. These are some of the results of the newly released study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2020”. This year, the study also includes the Corona Impact Index, which illustrates the impact of COVID-19 on European countries.

Europeans have just under €9.5 trillion at their disposal in 2020. This corresponds to an average per capita purchasing power of €13,894. Per capita purchasing power shows a nominal decline of almost 5.3 percent in 2020 compared to last year’s revised value, which can be attributed mainly to the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic impact. The rankings show substantial differences between the studied countries with respect to the amount available to Europeans for food, living, services, energy, private pensions, insurance, vacation, mobility and consumer purchases.

Ireland enters the top ten

Liechtenstein once again takes first place among the 42 European countries with a per capita purchasing power of €64,240. This far exceeds the values of the other countries and is more than 4.6 times the European average. Completing the top three of the purchasing power rankings are Switzerland and Luxembourg, as was the case last year. The Swiss have €41,998 per capita available for spending – more than three times the European average – while Luxembourgers have a per capita purchasing power of €34,119. This is more than 2.5 times the European average.

All other countries in the top ten also have significantly above-average per capita purchasing power – at least 50 percent higher than the European average. Ireland makes it into the top ten this year with a per capita purchasing power of €21,030, putting it in ninth place and ousting Finland from the top ten.

Sixteen of the countries considered by the study have above-average per capita purchasing power, while twenty-six fall below the European average. Ukraine takes last place with a per capita purchasing power of €1,703.

Markus Frank, expert in GfK´s Geomarketing solution area, comments: “GfK Purchasing Power Europe is a recognized benchmark in the market for calculating consumer potential and shows the regional distribution of disposable income among the population – between individual countries as well as between the various regions within a country. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important for companies to know where purchasing power and regional potential is highest in order to be able to make the best possible use of resources. Purchasing power is an important benchmark for the economic strength of a given region, and helps companies make business decisions related to sales management and marketing as well as location planning and evaluation.”

Corona Impact Index shows the effect of COVID-19 on European countries

With the Corona Impact Index, GfK has also calculated the extent to which European countries have suffered as a result of the effects of COVID-19. The Corona Impact Index shows the differences in loss of prosperity among private households as a result of the coronavirus crisis, thus facilitating both national and regional comparisons within Europe. In the purchasing power top ten, Liechtenstein and Switzerland top the rankings with the highest disposable net income per capita in Europe. They are also the two countries that have suffered least as a result of the crisis. The impact of the coronavirus in Liechtenstein is around 85 percent below the European average, while in Switzerland it is around 74 percent below the European average. Iceland and Norway, which occupy fourth and fifth places in the purchasing power rankings, fare less well in the Corona Impact Index and are 58 and 63 percent above the European average respectively. Both countries have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, one of the reasons being the devaluation of their national currencies against the euro. Occupying last place among the 42 countries in the rankings is Turkey, where the Corona Impact Index is more than 2.8 times the European average.

Europeans have around €773 less in 2020 due to COVID-19
The Corona Impact illustrates the differences in loss of prosperity among private households as a result of the coronavirus crisis, thus facilitating both national and regional comparisons within Europe. Liechtenstein (index: 15.2; European average = 100), Switzerland (index: 26.1) and Sweden (index: 37.1) have suffered least as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Occupying last place among the 42 countries in the rankings is Turkey (index: 281.2), where the Corona Impact is more than 2.8 times the European average. (Photo: GfK)

“The coronavirus crisis has had a significant effect on disposable net household income,” explains GfK expert Markus Frank. “However, there are regional differences. The Corona Impact Index therefore provides companies with useful data that illustrate the “forecast gap”, in other words the gap between the potentially achievable growth path for disposable income of private households before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe and the now expected national purchasing power level according to the 2020 purchasing power forecast. This data makes it possible to identify the regions that have suffered most as a result of the crisis and those that have suffered least.”

Comparison of select countries and regions

Below is a more detailed evaluation of the distribution of purchasing power in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania. A comparison of these countries offers insights into the regional distribution of spending potential within the respective countries.

Italy: Affluent north and poorer south

In Italy the average per capita purchasing power is €16,439. This puts Italians around 18 percent above the European average and in sixteenth place among the 42 countries considered by GfK’s study.

There is a significant north-south divide in the distribution of purchasing power between Italy’s affluent north and poorer south. All of the provinces in the top ten are located in the north of Italy. The province of Milano remains at the top of the rankings. The area around the fashion metropolis has a per capita purchasing power of €23,507, which is 43 percent above the national average and more than 69 percent above the European average. New to the top ten is the province of Firenze, which occupies tenth place and ousts the province of Valle d’Aosta/Vallee d’Aoste from the top ten. The provinces of Monza e della Brianza and Genova switch fifth and eighth places in the rankings.

The ten least affluent provinces are all located in southern Italy. Last place goes to Crotone, which is situated in the country’s far south. Inhabitants of this province have a per capita purchasing power of €9,119, which is around 45 percent less than the national average and around 34 percent less than the European average.

Spain: Alone in the midfield

Spain has a 2020 per capita purchasing power of €13,613, which puts it just 2 percent below the European average. No other European country is close to this value – Italy is more than 18 percent above the European average, while Slovenia is just under 15 percent below the European average. This puts Spain alone in the European midfield.

In the ranking of the Spanish provinces, Araba/Alava, the southernmost of the three provinces of the Basque Autonomous Community, once again takes first place. Inhabitants of this province have €17,620 per capita for consumer purchases, which is more than 29 percent above the national average. There also have been a couple of changes in this year’s top ten. Bizkaia and Barcelona have switched fourth and fifth places. New to the top ten this year are the provinces of Zaragoza, Burgos and Asturias in places seven through nine, replacing last year’s top-ten provinces of Tarragona, Lleida and Girona.

Spain’s least affluent provinces are all located in the southwestern part of the country. While the Andalusian province of Cadiz occupied last place in the rankings in previous years, this year it moves up to second-to-last place. Taking last place in this year’s rankings is Spain’s largest province, Badajoz, with a per capita purchasing power of €9,975, which is around 27 percent below the national average.

Czech Republic: Highest purchasing power in and around the country’s largest cities

The Czech Republic has a per capita purchasing power of €9,179, which puts it almost 34 percent below the European average and in twenty-fifth place among the 42 countries in the study.

The capital city district of Prague once again tops the purchasing power rankings. Inhabitants of this district have €11,961 per capita available for spending and saving, which is more than 30 percent above the national average. However, the purchasing power of the inhabitants of Prague is still almost 14 percent below the European average. The two bordering districts of Praha-zapad and Praha-vychod also have above-average purchasing power, as does the Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno-mesto.

There have been a few changes in the top ten this year, with Brno-mesto and Praha-vychod switching places three and four and Beroun, Hradec Kralove and Benesov also changing places in the rankings. A new entry this year is the district of Kladno, which secures the final place in the top ten with a per capita purchasing power of €9,328. Bringing up the rear in the district rankings is Jesenik in Northern Moravia, located on the border with Poland. The district’s inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €7,597, which is almost 83 percent of the national average and around 55 percent of the European average.

Poland: Sharp contrast between rich and poor

The average per capita purchasing power in Poland in 2020 is €7,143, just under 49 percent below the European average. This puts Poland in twenty-eighth place in the European rankings.

There is an especially large gap between rich and poor in Poland with respect to the distribution of purchasing power in the country’s 380 districts. Only 17 districts have a per capita purchasing power that is at least 20 percent higher than the national average. By contrast, 106 districts are at least 20 percent below the national average. With a per capita purchasing power of €12,120, the capital city district of Warsaw takes first place. Inhabitants of the capital district have almost 70 percent more money for consumer purchases and saving than the national average.

At the other end of the district rankings is Szydlowiecki, where the per capita purchasing power is just €4,721. This corresponds to almost 66 percent of the Polish average and 34 percent of the European average. Inhabitants of Warsaw have almost 2.6 times more money available than the inhabitants of the least affluent district of Szydlowiecki.

There has been little change in the top places of the purchasing power rankings this year. The districts of Krakow and Bielsko-Biala switch eighth and ninth places. Gliwice makes it into the top ten with a per capita purchasing power of €9,111, putting it in tenth place and ousting the district of Tychi.

Hungary: Purchasing power highest around capital city and toward the Austrian border

Hungary’s average per capita purchasing power is €6,871, which is a little less than half the European average. As such, Hungary is ranked thirtieth.

Looking at the 20 counties of Hungary, it is clear that the areas with the highest purchasing power have managed to hold on to their place in the rankings. The capital city county of Budapest continues to lead the rankings by a significant margin. With €8,627 per capita, inhabitants of Budapest have almost 26 percent more purchasing power than the national average, but still almost 38 percent less than the European average.

Five of Hungary’s 20 counties have above-average purchasing power. All of these counties are located in and around the capital city of Budapest and toward the Austrian border. By contrast, three-fourths of Hungary’s counties have below-average purchasing power. Last place goes to Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, whose inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €5,392, which is less than 79 percent of the national average and around 39 percent of the European average.

Romania: Capital has by far the highest purchasing power

Romania is thirty-first in the European rankings, just below Hungary. With an average per capita purchasing power of €5,611, Romania is around 60 percent below the European average.

Like Poland, Romania has a very big gap between rich and poor. The capital city county of Bucuresti leads the rankings by a significant margin. Inhabitants of this county have €10,173 per capita available for spending and saving, which is more than 81 percent above the national average. The people of Bucharest have more than three times the purchasing power of the inhabitants of the least affluent county, Vaslui. Here, disposable net income is just €3,374, which is around 60 percent of the national average and just over 24.3 percent of the European average.

Arad, Arges and Prahova each move up one place in the rankings to positions seven through nine, while Hunedoara drops out of this year’s top ten. New in tenth place is the district of Alba, whose inhabitants have a per capita purchasing power of €5,747, which is more than 2 percent above the national average.

About the study
The study “GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2020” is available for 42 European countries at detailed regional levels such as municipalities and postcodes, along with seamlessly fitting data on inhabitants and households as well as digital maps.
Purchasing power is a measure of disposable income after the deduction of taxes and charitable contributions and including any received state benefits. The study indicates per-person, per-year purchasing power levels in euros and as an index. GfK Purchasing Power is based on the population’s nominal disposable income, which means values are not adjusted for inflation. Calculations are carried out on the basis of reported income and earnings, statistics on government benefits as well as economic forecasts provided by economic institutes. In cases where there are different scenarios from economic research institutes, the average scenario is always selected for the purposes of calculating GfK Purchasing Power 2020, which assumes a delayed recovery into next year along with the availability of effective medical treatments for the coronavirus in the middle of 2021.
Consumers draw from their general purchasing power to cover expenses related to eating, living, services, energy, private pensions and insurance plans as well as other expenditures, such as vacation, mobility and consumer purchases.
This year, GfK also releases the Corona Impact Index, which shows the differences in lost disposable net income due to the coronavirus crisis at national and regional level. Calculations are carried out on the basis of the latest information and forecasts for household net income, private household consumer spending and changes in gross domestic product. These values are assessed in relation to the forecasts prepared available before COVID-19. The resulting deviation is traced back to the effects of the coronavirus crisis. Exchange rate changes are also included in the calculation.
For the purposes of regionalization of the Corona Impact Index, data on the industry structure in the regions is used along with country-specific values relating to short-time work and unemployment since the start of the pandemic. Unemployment and short-time working can illustrate the impact on the purchasing power of the population.

Healthy ingredients and label transparency are more important to consumers than ever before following the COVID-19 pandemic, concludes a new global survey commissioned by the market research company FMCG Gurus on behalf of BENEO1.

The results show that across the globe consumers are becoming more conscious about their well-being – particularly immunity – as they question their vulnerability to disease and illness. They are also concerned about the environment and whether the virus’ impact has been intensified because of increased levels of environmental damage. As a result of these attitudinal shifts, consumers are looking to purchase food and drink products that increasingly promote well-being and sustain their energy in challenging times, whilst minimising impact on the environment.

Good for you and the environment

Environmental concerns have been heightened as a result of COVID-19. This is in part due to some consumers questioning whether issues such as air pollution have increased respiratory issues, making people more vulnerable to the disease. This concern is being translated into altered buying patterns, with 60 % of consumers now being more attentive to the impact that their food and drink has on the environment.

Increased focus on food and drink products that provide health benefits

Furthermore, the widespread effect of COVID-19 has also resulted in 64 % of consumers saying that they are now more conscious about their immune health. Even consumers who previously deemed themselves to have a good immune system are now questioning their vulnerability to disease and illness. This is having a direct impact on purchasing behaviour, with two-thirds (64 %) of consumers more interested in ingredients, or food and drink products, that provide protective or preventative health benefits. This trend is likely to continue being prevalent in the market for the foreseeable future.

Consumers want natural, sustained energy boosts

In these challenging times, consumers are also looking for ways to fight feelings of fatigue more naturally. In line with this, 34 % of consumers say that they are now more likely to seek out food and drink products that boost energy in a sustained and balanced way. Also, not surprisingly, consumers are looking to improve their mental well-being, with more than half (55 %) saying they are likely to opt for food and drink to boost their mood. However, formulation is key, as consumers look to avoid ingredients deemed detrimental to their long-term health in pursuit of a short-term energy boost. One opportunity arising from this is the appeal of slow-release, low-glycaemic carbohydrates such as Palatinose™ (isomaltulose), with 45 % of consumers believing such carbohydrates are better for their health.

Michael Hughes, Director of Insights at FMCG Gurus, comments: “The results of our latest consumer survey clearly show that beneficial ingredients and label transparency are now more important than ever before to consumers across the globe, as a result of the pandemic. People are exploring topics such as inner defence, staying fit and healthy, blood glucose control, as well as sustained energy and wanting to buy products with proven health benefits. BENEO is well equipped to help manufacturers tap into these key growth areas. The company’s prebiotic chicory root fibres and slow-release carbohydrate offer a range of scientifically proven health benefits that help support long-term health and can be communicated on pack.”

Myriam Snaet, Head of Market Intelligence and Consumer Insights at BENEO, explains: “As concern for the environment continues to gather pace, it is important that we all play our part in promoting sustainable business practices. At BENEO, we actively support sustainable farming, to encourage biodiversity and reduce water pollution and soil erosion. We valorize 100% of our raw material to minimise waste and have reduced our specific energy consumption by 50% over the past 30 years. Looking to the future, we aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, thanks to our recent investments into upgrading and expanding our facilities.”

1Content based on FMCG Guru’s COVID-19 survey, July 2020. Eighteen countries surveyed in July 2020 [Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UK, USA, Vietnam] and a Country Profile survey conducted across nineteen countries in January 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated Canadian usage of e-commerce with online grocery being one of the main benefactors. The latest research from Mintel reveals that by mid-April, almost four in 10 (37 %*) Canadians were shopping more online, with 22 %* of Canadians specifically noting they were buying more groceries online due to COVID-19, including 10 %* of seniors (those aged 65+).

Physical grocery stores have a big challenge to encourage consumers to come back into stores and spend time inside. Mintel’s research shows that as of mid-April, 70 %* of Canadian shoppers were making less frequent trips to the grocery store than usual and in the middle of July, 71 %** were limiting the time they spent in the store. Consumers were also doing what they could to protect themselves: 67 %* said they were taking extra precautions when shopping in stores, e.g. wiping down their carts, keeping their distance from other shoppers. These protective behaviours are continuing, at the end of July, half (50 %***) of Canadians continue to be worried about the risk of being exposed to the virus, driving two-thirds (64 %***) of consumers to limit the time they spend in-stores.

Carol Wong-Li, Associate Director, Lifestyles and Leisure said:

“The challenge grocery retailers face now and in the months to come will be to convince consumers to come back into stores and shop for longer periods of time. Encouraging consumers to do so will have a positive impact on the ‘act of discovery’. Consumers will need to be encouraged to slow down and re-engage in spontaneous behaviours like browsing and trying new products, reminding them that shopping pre-COVID was a leisurely enjoyable activity, not what it is considered now – more ‘mission-minded’ with safety remaining at top of mind for consumers.

“The current uncertainty surrounding the virus remains unhelpful to the grocery shopping experience as much of it tends to be tactile, using touch and smell to assess the freshness of produce or sampling. Grocery retailers will need to replace the tactile experiences with more visual incentives to gain people’s interests, which will open up opportunities to enhance the in-store shopping experience in a safe way. Examples include providing QR codes that can be scanned by mobile phones to access full recipes or how-to cooking videos. Ultimately, leveraging platforms popular with Canadians like scannable signs that bring up recipes and/or cooking videos on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube will work well to enhance the shopping experience while in-store.”

A renewed appreciation of shelf-stable products

The essential nature of food at home has not been lost, as of the beginning of May, almost half (48 %****) of consumers said they had made groceries a higher spending priority at the height of the pandemic, while over a quarter (28 %*) agreed that they were less-budget conscious than usual when it came to buying groceries. Shelf-stable products became a star performer, with 43 %* of Canadians saying they were buying more groceries that would stay fresh for longer like frozen, canned and boxed food.

“An area that was once stigmatized for being less healthy, the centre of the store where shelf-stable items tend to be, has been revitalized due to the uncertainty associated with the pandemic. Preventative measures put in place, like mandatory restaurant closings, led Canadians to cook more from home – providing a boost to shelf-stable products,” continues Wong-Li.

Stressed out Canadians indulge in comfort food

The link between food and comfort is undeniable amongst Canadians: nearly half (46 %*****) of Canadians eat comforting foods as a way of managing stress. During the pandemic, the importance of food in addressing elevated levels of stress was seen with a third (33 %*) of Canadian women reporting that they were eating more indulgent food like chocolate, ice cream or pizza to help them cope with the situation.

“As the uncertainty of the pandemic is set to be the reality for the near future, functional claims – including specific ingredients that help with stress relief or improving sleep – will matter more to consumers now and in the months to come,” concludes Wong-Li.

*500 internet users aged 18+, April 13-17, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
**500 internet users aged 18+, July 13-17, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
***2,000 internet users aged 18+, July 23-31, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
****500 internet users aged 18+, May 11-15, 2020, Global COVID-19 Tracker – Canada
*****According to Marketing to Gen Z – Canada, June 2020

Symrise very successfully continued its profitable growth course in the first half of 2020 also during the global coronavirus pandemic. The Group increased its sales by 7.6 % to € 1,821 million in an economically challenging market environment. In organic terms – i.e. excluding the portfolio effect of the ADF/IDF acquisition and exchange rate effects – sales were up by 3.4 %. All segments contributed to this positive development. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 11.9 % to € 393 million as compared to the previous year’s level normalized for acquisition and integration costs for ADF/IDF (H1 2019: € 351 million). Profitability developed particularly well: The EBITDA margin rose to 21.6 % and lies thus significantly higher than the profitability target for 2020. The net income for the reporting period increased to € 169 million. Against the backdrop of the strong business performance and profitability trend in the first half of the year, Symrise is raising its full-year EBITDA margin guidance from 20 % to a range of 21 to 22 %.

Symrise achieves highly profitable growth in a challenging market environment
Dr Heinz-Jürgen Bertram (Photo: Symrise)

“In the second quarter the coronavirus pandemic began to significantly impact the global economy and above all many people’s everyday lives. Even in this historically exceptional situation, Symrise has done an excellent job of staying on course. Thanks to our global presence, diversified portfolio and broad customer base, our feet rest very firmly on the ground. We remained fully operational in the second quarter and were able to supply our customers in the usual reliable manner,” said Dr Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise AG. “Of course, it is hard to predict the course of the coronavirus pandemic. However, after our performance in the first half of the year, we are looking ahead to the second half with confidence. For the full fiscal year 2020 we again want to grow faster than the market and expect that we will achieve increased profitability overall. We are therefore raising our guidance for the EBITDA margin to a range of 21 to 22 %.”

With coronavirus pandemic ongoing, continued growth in all segments

The Symrise Group achieved sales growth of 7.6 % in the first half of 2020 to € 1,821 million (H1 2019: € 1,692 million). The acquisition of ADF/IDF had a positive impact of € 106 million on sales performance. In organic terms, sales increased by 3.4 %. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, changes in consumer behavior were seen for the first time in the Scent & Care and Flavor segments in the second quarter. This resulted in both positive and negative effects on demand in individual business units. With its broad range of product solutions for foods, personal care and hygiene, Symrise serves the needs of everyday life, especially in these difficult times.

The Flavor segment

Flavor achieved organic growth of 0.6 % in the period under review. Taking currency translation effects into account, segment sales in the reporting currency amounted to € 636 million (H1 2019: € 637 million). Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the trend toward cooking and eating at home led to a strong demand for products from the Savory business unit and product solutions for baked goods and cereals. At the same time, reduced out-of-home eating and drinking led to a lower demand for beverage products and sweets.

In the EAME region, the Flavor segment suffered from significantly reduced demand for beverage products and sweets, while the Savory business unit recorded a high single-digit growth rate. Germany and the Gulf region achieved the strongest gains. Overall, sales in the EAME region remained slightly below the figure for the first half of 2019.

Organic sales in North America were roughly on par with the same period of the previous year. While Savory product solutions enjoyed great demand, beverage products and sweets sold less.

The Asia/Pacific region reported organic growth in the single-digit percentage range, driven primarily by very strong demand for products from the Savory business unit, which showed organic growth in the double-digit percentage range. The largest increases came from the national markets of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

The Latin America region achieved the strongest growth in the segment in the first half of 2020 and was largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. All business units realized high organic growth in the single or double-digit percentage range. Strong gains were posted especially in the national markets of Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico.

The EBITDA of the Flavor segment was up 2.2 % to € 147 million (H1 2019: € 144 million). The EBITDA margin improved from 22.6 % in the first half of 2019 to a very strong 23.2 %, mainly due to tight control on costs and proportionally lower raw materials costs.

The Nutrition segment

Nutrition achieved strong organic growth of 10.5 %. Accounting for portfolio and currency translation effects, sales in the reporting currency amounted to € 474 million and were 38.1 % above the previous year’s level (H1 2019: € 343 million). ADF/IDF contributed sales of € 106 million.

The Pet Food business unit proved to be the growth driver of the segment, achieving high organic growth in the double-digit percentage range in all regions. Sales developed particularly dynamically in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Russia.

In the Food business unit, the Asia/Pacific region stood out with double-digit growth, especially in China, India and Taiwan. In the EAME region, sales matched the previous year’s level, while North and Latin America dropped slightly below the last year.

Strong impetus came from the Aqua business unit, which achieved good growth especially in the EAME and Asia/Pacific regions.

Probi reported growth in the single-digit percentage range during the reporting period, primarily driven by the North America and Asia/Pacific regions.

The Nutrition segment generated an EBITDA of € 100 million in the reporting period (H1 2019 EBITDA(N): € 67 million). The EBITDA margin in the segment increased by 1.5 percentage points to 21.0 % (EBITDA(N) margin H1 2019: 19.5 %). The improved profitability is mainly due to the good performance of Pet Food and the inclusion of ADF/IDF.

Operating result

Also within the challenging environment dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, Symrise was highly profitable in the first half of 2020. The Group recorded EBITDA of € 393 million. This represents an increase of 11.9 % over the same period a year earlier. This trend relates primarily to profitable sales growth and the inclusion of ADF/IDF. The EBITDA margin improved by 0.8 percentage points to 21.6 % (EBITDA(N) H1 2019: 20.8 %).

Net income for the period and earnings per share

Net income for the reporting period amounted to € 169 million, which was € 16 million above the normalized figure from the previous year of € 153 million. Basic earnings per share increased 10 % to € 1.25 after € 1.14 (normalized) in the first half of the previous year.

Cash flow from operating activities

The cash flow from operating activities for the first half of 2020 of € 219 million was € 78 million higher than the previous year’s level of € 141 million. The increase is mainly due to the improved operating result and the inclusion of ADF/IDF.

Financial position

Net debt increased by € 28 million to € 1,645 million compared to the reporting date of 31 December 2019. The ratio of net debt including lease liabilities to EBITDA(N) thus amounted to 2.2. Including pension obligations and lease liabilities, net debt equaled € 2,261 million, which corresponds to a ratio of net debt to EBITDA(N) of 3.0.

Symrise remains confident about the current fiscal year and raises EBITDA margin target

With its global presence, a steadily growing and diversified portfolio and broad customer base, Symrise considers itself to be robust and securely positioned even in the current challenging market environment. The Group is fully operational worldwide and is able to supply customers sustainably.

Even though the effects of the pandemic can only be estimated to a limited extent, the Group remains confident that it will again grow faster than the relevant market over the remainder of the year. The market growth is estimated to be around 3 to 4 %. Symrise considers itself to be well positioned to achieve the sales targets confirmed at the beginning of 2020.

Based on the strong business performance and profitability trend in the first half of the year, the Group is raising its original target of over 20 % for the EBITDA margin. For the 2020 fiscal year, Symrise now expects an EBITDA margin in the range of 21 to 22 %.

The mediumterm targets also remain in effect. The company aims to increase its annual sales to € 5.5 to € 6.0 billion by the end of the 2025 fiscal year. Symrise wants to achieve this with an annual organic growth of 5 to 7 % (CAGR) as well as additional targeted acquisitions. In the medium term, profitability should remain within a target corridor of 20 to 23 %.

Preparations are progressing at full speed

CHINA BREW CHINA BEVERAGE (CBB) will take place from October 13 – 16, 2020 in Shanghai and offers the Chinese beverage and liquid food industry a valuable platform for a new start. Safety and hygiene measures, like at other trade fairs, will minimize the risk of infection.

“The beverage and liquid food industry longs for constructive discussion and a new start,” explained Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Messe München. “Therefore, we are very excited to offer our customers at CBB in Shanghai a trade fair experience full of valuable networking opportunities, exhibitions and information about market perspectives again.”

A recent CBB webinar in June showed that demand is high: Almost 3,200 participants learned about the challenges and opportunities in beer marketing in China.

Industry gathering for the Chinese region

CBB is the only trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry in the South Asian market. Due to the current situation, the event will be largely national this year. Local exhibitors as well as international companies with subsidiaries in China will present their products and innovations.

International industry giants such as Alfa Laval, Barth Haas, Baumer, E+H, DSM, GEA, Husky, Heuft, ifm, igus, KHS, Krones, MIURA, METTLER TOLEDO, Pentair, SEW, SMC, Yakima, Ziemann-Holvrieka are represented on a total of 60,000 square metres of gross exhibition space. Among the national exhibitors are Best Crown, Diron, E-STAR, GDXL, GsPak, HGM, Kelang, Lehui, Newamstar, Precise, Talos, Tech-Long, Tiantai, VANTA, YoungSun, YueDong, ZhongChen and Zhongya. “We are very proud about taking part in this year’s CBB, and we are really looking forward to the trade fair. After all the e-mail and phone contact we’ve had recently, getting to meet face-to-face is really tremendous – and the CBB is the ideal platform for that,” said a Krones representative.

Informative supporting program

This year there will again be a supporting program. During the CBB International Forum, organized by Doemens e.V., experts will speak about trends, requirements and challenges in the South Asian beverage and liquid food industry, while visitors will have the opportunity to taste different beers during the Doemens Tasting Class led by a beer sommelier.

Hygiene and safety

Messe München Shanghai is organizing trade fairs again. Around 80,000 visitors in total took part in electronica China, productronica China and LASER World of PHOTONICS CHINA – only a 10% decline compared with past visitor figures. “We have shown that trade fairs can also safely take place during pandemics – and CBB will profit from our previous experiences,” emphasized Stephen Wangbin Lu, Chief Operating Officer of Messe München Shanghai.
The trade fair organization constantly works with experts on measures to reduce potential infection risks as much as possible. The hygiene and safety concept is in line with the “Guideline of the state council on the collective prevention and control mechanisms for COVID-19 and regulation of the prevention and control work during COVID-19” and the “Regulations for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in the trade fair industry in Shanghai.”

“We have received positive feedback from our exhibitors and partners that we are making this important industry gathering happen again,” said Stephen Wangbin Lu, Chief Operating Officer of Messe München Shanghai. This was also confirmed by a representative of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.: “We trust that we will overcome the challenge through the continuous implementation of effective preventive measures. We expect a rapid rebound of the liquid food market that has been struggling with low consumption demand during the pandemic. We are therefore optimistic that this positive trend will play a role in the beverage and liquid food industry’s upturn, thereby strengthening the entire market.”

Despite the initial scare for the beer and cider market, expectation is that new 2022 forecasts, which falls short of the original baseline expectations, could have been much worse, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to the company’s recent (June 5) COVID-19 adjusted forecasts, the global beer and cider market will recover to 2019 value by 2022, reaching US$630.4bn in 2022; this represents a difference of -US$55.4bn against the previous baseline value of that same year*.

Aaron Bryson, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The substantial shrinkage is a reflection of the damage caused by a nonexistent foodservice channel throughout much of the year. In contrast, consumer confidence, which was initially decimated but rebounded relatively quickly, saw consumers retreating to the comfort of their own home with their favorite brands of beer and cider, as opposed to at the local pub.”

According to GlobalData’s Week 10 COVID-19 tracker consumer survey, published on June 3, 43 % of global respondents still expect the situation to get worse over the next month in their respective countries*2. Despite this, consumers purchasing habits in relation to beer and cider have largely been maintained. The same survey found that 45 %*3 of respondents have been purchasing the same amount or more beer, since the outbreak of COVID-19. In contrast, only 28 %*4 of respondents stated that they had reduced or stopped buying beer since the outbreak.

A similar story is seen with cider. The survey found that 33 %*3 of respondents had maintained or increased the volume of cider they purchase, and 28 %*4 had also reduced or stopped purchasing cider, since the outbreak.

Bryson continues: “The original concern displayed at the beginning of the outbreak had limited longer impacts upon beer and cider sales. A key reason being that, at home drinking is part of a routine for certain consumer cohorts in which they derive both pleasure and comfort. Something which most people have been looking for since the outbreak.”

Whilst the outlook for the beer industry is expected to lag behind pre-COVID-19 expectations, the immediate fallout, which posed a challenging landscape for big and small players alike, has largely leveled out. Consumers have shown a preference to fall back on familiar brands which they derive enjoyment from, with a willingness to pay a premium price, instead of switching to cheaper alternatives.

*GlobalData’s COVID-19: COVID-19 Impact Market Model – Consumer Goods – June 5 update – value US$
*2GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker Consumer Survey – Week 10 (June 3) – global – a bit/lot worse responses combined GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker Consumer Survey – Week 10 (June 3) – global –
*3started buying/same/more/significantly more/stockpiling responses combined,
*4 buying slightly lower/significantly lower/stopped altogether responses combined
Data is adjusted weekly following COVID-19 developments, therefore subject to change

Following the formal adoption of the organisation’s Statutes in March 2020, the WCO Secretariat just collected and released the first crop production and export forecasts for the forthcoming Southern Hemisphere citrus season 2020. The preliminary forecast is collected from industry associations in Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay. The Secretariat is working closely with Brazil and Bolivia to include their data as well into the forecast very shortly.

The preliminary forecast shows that the 2020 citrus Southern Hemisphere crops is expected to reach 8.387.341 T, which represents a small decrease of 3 % compared to the 2019 crop. Export is expected to increase by 12 % to 3.486.883 T, which could be explained as a result of consumers’ higher demand for citrus fruit in COVID-19 times, thanks to the nutritional benefits associated with citrus and more home consumption. On the processing side, a total of 2.426.154 T of citrus are expected to be destined to the juice market (pending the confirmation of Brazil’s data), which constitutes a decrease of 15 % compared to 2019.

By citrus categories, the soft citrus and lemon & lime markets show stable figures, with similar production volumes compared to 2019, whereas orange showed a small decrease (-6 %), and grapefruit production increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year. Expected export volumes show increases across all categories, with lemon & lime projecting the greatest increase, by 32 % compared to 2019.

WCO is now fully operational with a complete agenda of activities for 2020. In July, a meeting of the membership will review the state of the industry and take stock of the latest consumer trends and producing countries’ experiences in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Indeed, in the past months, citrus has been highlighted as one of the most attractive fruit categories for consumers, given their health properties. Consequently, the issue of nutrition and promotion of citrus consumption will also be discussed with members in the upcoming meeting.

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a surge in demand for organic and sustainable foods. Retailers across the globe are experiencing hefty sales increases for organic products. Ecovia Intelligence expects the sales lift to continue in the coming years.

Online retailers are reporting the highest sales growth. Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural food retailer, has started limiting the number of its online grocery customers because of unprecedented demand. In the UK, Abel & Cole reported a 25% increase in sales orders, whilst Riverford is reporting a demand surge. Nourish Organic, an Indian online retailer, experienced a 30 % sales rise last month.

Physical retailers are also benefiting from emergency measures introduced by various governments. Organic and health food shops have remained open in many countries; they are attracting new shoppers, whilst existing customers are spending more. In France, some organic food shops are reporting sales increases of over 40 %. COVID-19 is raising consumer awareness of the relationship between nutrition and health. Consumers are buying more organic and healthy foods as they look to boost their personal immunity.

The surge in demand is however bringing supply issues. The organic food industry is now global with international supply networks that are coming under pressure. Many of the raw materials used by European and North American organic food companies are produced in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Lockdowns are disrupting supply chains. For instance, India is a major source of organic tea, herbs, spices & related ingredients. Emergency measures introduced in March have halted food processing and exports.

Ecovia Intelligence expects demand for organic & sustainable foods to remain strong after consumer fears subside. Previous food and health scares caused an initial sales spike followed by sustained demand for organic products. For instance, the BSE crisis in 2000 escalated demand for organic meat products in Europe; sales remained buoyant in subsequent years. Similarly, SARS led to a spike in demand for organic foods in China (and Asia) in 2004. The melamine scandal in 2008 bolstered demand for organic baby food in China. Within a few years, the Chinese market for organic infant formula became the largest in the world.

Organic foods were first introduced on a large-scale in the early 1990s. It took over 15 years for global organic product sales to reach USD 50 billion in 2008. Ten years (2018) later, they surpassed the USD 100 billion mark. With COVID-19 changing the way we shop and eat, the next leap to USD 150 billion could be within the next 5 years.

About Ecovia Intelligence

Ecovia Intelligence (formerly known as Organic Monitor) is a specialist research, consulting & training company that focuses on global ethical product industries. Since 2001, we have been encouraging sustainable development via our services portfolio: market research publications, business & sustainability consulting, technical research, seminars & workshops, and sustainability summits.

The latest research from Mintel* reveals the online grocery market is forecast to grow by 33 % in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion, up from £12.7 billion in 2019. This phenomenal rise follows four consecutive years of slowing growth: in 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9 %. The market is set to be worth £17.9 billion by 2024, growing by 41 % over the five year period.

Online shopping behaviour as a whole

This comes as Mintel reveals a dramatic change in online shopping habits over the COVID-19 lockdown period, habits that Mintel believes could prove lasting. In the very early days of the spread of the coronavirus in the UK, before social distancing measures were announced, 7 % of Brits increased the total amount of online shopping (both food and non-food)**. In the space of fewer than two months, online shopping has seen a dramatic boost with the number of consumers who say they’ve increased their online shopping rising to 36 %***.

Meanwhile, 50 % of Brits have tried to limit the time they spend in-store, while a further 9% have used click-and-collect more ***.

Nick Carroll, Associate Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said:
“Over the course of just a few months, COVID-19 has had a seismic impact on Britain’s grocery sector. The pandemic is giving a significant short-term boost to online grocery services, as shoppers look to avoid stores and limit their contact with the outside world. However, the impact will last beyond the crisis. Shopper numbers in the online grocery market have plateaued in recent years as retailers struggled to get new customers to try these services. The outbreak is bringing a new audience to online grocery, and this should boost the market long term with strong growth forecast through to 2024. While there is currently a significant disruption to the online grocery market, with some retailers not accepting new customers, this will ease in the short-term as more capacity is brought online.”

Over 65s still face challenges shopping online

The current guidelines, which ask those aged 70 and over to remain at home, mean that older shoppers are more heavily reliant on having groceries and other goods delivered. But while some older Brits are experienced in ordering online, they are by far the minority. Less than three in 10 (28 %) UK internet users aged 65+ were online grocery shoppers prior to the COVID outbreak****. However, Mintel’s latest research shows that 37 % of over 65s have increased the amount of online shopping they’ve done since the outbreak began***.

But while some Brits are going online for their grocery requirements, many are relying on the kindness of friends and family – as a quarter (24 %) of consumers aged under 44 say they have been helping friends/family and/or neighbours with their shopping.

Nick Carroll, Associate Director of Retail Research at Mintel, said:
“Older generations that had previously shied away from online grocery have, effectively, been forced to change their habits in the face of social distancing measures. While there has been a rise in online grocery shopping among the over 65s, the reality is a significant number of consumers in the older age groups have no experience shopping online for groceries and/or are not digitally native. There is a real need to ensure access to online grocery deliveries for older consumers. We’re seeing some retailers already thinking of easier ways to order goods, including phone orders for next-day delivery.”

* Mintel’s latest estimates as of 23 April 2020; subject to change based on ongoing research and economic shifts.
** Research conducted 28 February-13 March
*** Research conducted 16-23 April
**** Research conducted in December 2019

Freshfel Europe has released its Impact Assessment of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector, including recommendations for policy-makers. In conjunction with its members, Freshfel Europe compiled the 88-page COVID-19 Impact Assessment to accurately outline the effect the pandemic has had on the sector over the last few months and what implications this may have in the short, medium and long-term for the supply of fresh produce to consumers.

Freshfel Europe’s COVID-19 Impact Assessment, which covers the effects of the pandemic on the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector until the beginning of May, provides an in-depth analysis of the implications of the health crisis for each stage of the supply chain. Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard explained, “While the sector has been able to provide a continuous supply of fresh, safe and healthy produce to consumers during the pandemic, Freshfel Europe’s COVID-19 Impact Assessment reviews the key challenges that the sector has been confronted with over the last two months. This includes workforce, availability and protection, new logistics constraints, market performance as well as an analysis of the economic impact and added costs for the supply chain due to the pandemic”.

The COVID-19 Impact Assessment offers specific recommendations for policy-makers for each stage of the supply chain as well as for the fruit and vegetables sector as a whole. Further support will be needed for the sector to safeguard its competitiveness in the coming months and to secure the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers throughout 2020 and beyond.

Freshfel Europe’s COVID-19 Impact Assessment is available to download here, including a fact sheet summarizing the document’s main elements.

Over the years, Prognosfruit has become the leading annual meeting point for the European apple and pear sector. Each year the conference gathers around 300 leaders from the apple and pear sector in a different European country in early August. Prognosfruit is an opportunity not to be missed to debate the latest sector developments and be informed on the annual apple and pear crop forecast.

For the first time since the initiation of Prognosfruit in 1976, the organizers of the 2020 edition have had to take the difficult decision to regretfully cancel this year’s conference. Prognosfruit was scheduled to take place later this year in Belgrade (Serbia) from 5-7 August 2020.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Prognosfruit from being organized this year under normal conditions. So far, there is no indication when the current travel restrictions within the European Union and on the external borders of the European Union will be lifted. Furthermore, at the time of the conference some quarantine rules might still be in place as well as other restrictions on transport and social distancing.

It has been agreed with Serbia Does Apples, the local organizer of conference planned conference in 2020 in Belgrade, that Prognosfruit 2021 will take place in Serbia.

In the meantime and regarding the 2020 forecast, WAPA will release the apple and pear forecast as usual. The modalities of disclosing the 2020 forecast will be announced in July.

Despite providing an uninterrupted supply of fresh fruit and vegetables so far to European citizens confined at home, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to destabilize the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector, threatening long-term food supply. In a letter sent to European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski Freshfel Europe has requested urgent financial assistance and flexibility in CAP tools to provide much needed stability to the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. Currently, growers are grappling with significant cost increases estimated to be at least €500 million per month. The sector has also lost access to the food service sector representing 25 – 30 % of the market supply and EU fresh fruit and vegetables exports to third countries worth € 5 billion per year are also confronted with significant difficulties. As the pandemic evolves, it will continue to bring with it further economic stress for the sector and threaten the financial sustainability of fresh fruit and vegetable supply.

Freshfel Europe’s letter to European Commissioner Wojciechowski warns that the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector cannot sustain the increased level of production and logistic costs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis without endangering fresh fruit and vegetable supply in the long term. Financial support is essential in conjunction with other measures, such as flexibility in management of CAP tools, to allow the sector to continue balancing additional costs related to COVID-19 with economic sustainability. Remarking on the huge financial burden being carried by the sector, Freshfel Europe General Delegate affirmed that, “Added costs in orchards and packing houses are estimated at least € 0,05 cts/kg and a similar amount of € 0,05 cts/kg is also to be considered to be added as extra charge in intra EU transport”. Collectively this represents about € 500 million given the volume produced and shipped monthly. Mr. Binard also highlighted that the sector should be considered an essential sector to secure access to protective tools and measures that would enable the return to normal operating conditions as early as possible. This would include access to hydrogel, masks and testing and allow the sector to be in a position to remove social distancing measures. With the availability of all seasonal workers this would these changes would facilitate orchard activities and logistics operations to run at normal high efficiency rates to ensure supply.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold Freshfel Europe maintains that further necessary measures under the CAP must be taken at European level to avoid a food supply crisis later in the year and secure that the sector can continue to provide Europe’s supply of fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices to consumers in the coming months. Freshfel Europe has also recommended to Commissioner Wojciechowski that in light of the far reaching implications of the COVID-19 crisis to also review different policies connected to agriculture and fruit and vegetables specifically, such as research and innovation, organic reform, promotion policy, international trade policy and the forthcoming Farm to Fork Strategy. Evolving conditions in regard to insurance and credit insurance and equal access to liquidity should also be analyzed.

Freshfel Europe is concerned over the increasing financial burden being carried by the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Increasing costs associated with the implementation of necessary measures across the supply chain to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as current and future non-harvesting of products if seasonal workers are not available are set to have considerable ramifications for the long-term stability of the sector. Freshfel Europe calls for new support measures to secure the supply of fresh produce to consumers over the coming summer months and into the latter half of 2020 and beyond.

Despite providing an uninterrupted supply of fresh, safe and high quality fresh produce to consumers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so far, the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector is facing significant challenges. Although the sector is well organized and committed to its responsibility to provide fresh produce to consumers confined at home the effects of the pandemic are being felt by all actors in the supply chain. The availability of seasonal workers is still insufficient in many places. This workforce is key for planting, preparing orchards, preventing non-harvesting and picking quality products now and later in the year. Efficiency in orchards and pack houses has decreased due to social distancing rules and with the provision of safety equipment and new packing requirements other challenges are being encountered. Growers in particular are being confronted with a significant increase of new necessary costs, often by more than 10 %, which are not being entirely returned or compensated. Logistics costs in the chain have also increased by 20 – 30 % due to empty returns of trucks and longer journey times. Besides this, significant market loss is being experienced with the closure of the European food service industry and street markets, with wholesalers consequently also losing a significant amount of business. In total this market segment covers 25 % of fresh produce consumption and retail chains are not absorbing all of this volume. Retailers have also had to adapt stores with personal safety measures such as flexi-glass at cashiers and limiting shopper numbers in store. In addition, risks for products to be successfully exported globally are increasing and importers are experiencing high uncertainty in terms of delivery and time required for documentation checks. This increasing burden on the supply chain is set to have considerable ramifications for the long-term stability of the sector.

In light of mounting uncertainty about the future of the sector, Freshfel Europe calls for continued and new support measures to secure the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers over the coming summer months and into the latter half of 2020. At the start of April the European Commission secured an operation framework for intra-EU trade and measures for seasonal workers, however no further support has been granted under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to producers and producer groups to reflect current increasing costs to guarantee the continued supply of fresh, safe and high quality products to consumers. More incentives through CAP instruments on top of those released by the European Commission on 6 April 2020 are needed for the sector, especially for growers, to cope with the current financial pressure. As an essential good, maintaining the long-term supply of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables to the European market is essential.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, organizations are faced with travel restrictions and quarantine challenges, required to reduce direct contact between employees and service providers. To enable immediate GEA expert assistance for customers during the corona crisis without putting people’s lives at risk, GEA now offers a special remote support solution that is easy-to-set-up.

Easy and secure real-time video communication with GEA experts

GEA Remote Support is a service that provides real-time streaming with GEA experts. From their own location in production, customers can use a commercially available mobile device to connect and communicate in real-time with a GEA expert to resolve their issue. With just two elements, a mobile device and internet access, customers can initiate a session by receiving a short email or SMS containing a secure link, followed by a video conversation, with the option to share high-resolution imagery back and forth, send descriptions and instructions via the chat function or take and share notes during the conversation. All of this is possible without the customer having to install a new application.

Extended real-time communication via GEA Remote Eye Wear

The remote support solution is based on existing GEA Remote Eye Wear technology, offering customers further possibilities for machine maintenance. The specially designed glasses, which include an integrated high-resolution camera and reliable microphone, allows for hands-free remote support, offering several bidirectional functions. By projecting images onto the GEA Remote Eye Wear screen, repairs, process optimizations or inspections can be carried out immediately. GEA Remote Eye Wear is currently available as part of the GEA Service Level Agreement (SLA), however, customers will be able to purchase a stand-alone unit as part of a premium service package in the near future.

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak across Europe the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector has increased efforts to ensure a continuous and diverse supply of safe, high quality fresh fruit and vegetables for consumers in Europe and around the world. With at-home consumption increasing as the outbreak develops, ensuring consumers can maintain a healthy, balanced diet with access to fresh fruit and vegetables remains a top priority for the European fruit and vegetable sector.

Freshfel Europe together with its members has been closely monitoring the implications of the COVID0-19 outbreak for the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain across Europe. Now officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the closure of border crossings in Europe for people has delayed some operations in the fresh produce supply chain. However, all possible measures have been taken across the chain to maintain supply of high quality fresh produce. With the closure of restaurants and cafés in many Member States, consumers are increasingly reliant on the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in retail outlets for at-home consumption. The fresh fruit and vegetable sector is holding discussions with public authorities to guarantee a ‘fresh corridor’ to fast-track trucks transporting highly perishable fresh fruit and vegetables to guarantee timely supply. This includes securing vehicles and drivers in a timely manner in the right locations and introducing protocols to ensure trade flows. Discussions are also being centred on securing resources for the upcoming picking season, such as having enough employees picking in orchards and working in packing stations and further down the supply chain.

Measures are being taken by all European fresh produce companies to provide the highest protection to workers in the supply chain. Non-essential staff are working from home, distances between essential operating staff have been increased, the highest hygiene precautions in pack-houses and wholesale markets are being taken and truck drivers are being isolated to decrease the risk of shortages of these crucial personnel in maintaining operations. In retail outlets staff and consumer safety is of the highest priority. Precautions have increased to ensure the highest level of safety for essential staff re-stocking shelves to meet heightening demand for products and for consumers expecting safe, high quality fresh products.

The highest levels of food safety and hygiene are being met by operators in the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain amid the COVID-19 outbreak. While the European Food Safety Authority has stated that there is no evidence that transmission through food consumption could occur, the sector reminds consumers to follow the precautionary recommendations issued by the WHO on good hygiene practices during any food handling and preparation. This includes washing hands, using different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked food and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods. All these efforts by the sector are facilitating consumers in continuing to have a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables throughout the outbreak.