The European soft drinks sector achieved an impressive average 7.6 % sugar reduction between 2019 and 2022
The European soft drinks sector, represented by Unesda, announced further progress1 on its commitments to the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices,2 with strong results achieved in 2022 in its actions to create a healthier beverage system in Europe.
Ian Ellington, President of Unesda and Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo in Europe, comments: ‘’As a sector, we remain committed to making significant progress on our many EU Code of Conduct commitments. We have achieved impressive results in our health and nutrition actions and, in particular, in our sugar reduction, marketing and advertising practices and school policies.’’
Ellington added: ‘’The journey has not been easy. Rising inflation in 2022 significantly impacted our ability to use more recycled content in our packaging due to the challenges we faced in accessing food-grade feedstock for recycling. We need policy support to deliver fully circular beverage packaging and to continue advancing on our sugar reduction programme.’’
Among Unesda’s achievements are its actions to encourage European consumers towards healthier dietary habits:
The sector delivered a 6% reduction in average added sugars in its soft drinks between 2019 and 2022 across Europe, as indicated by data analytics and consulting company GlobalData. This represents an additional reduction of 4 percentage points within 1 year (between 2021 and 2022). It shows that Unesda is on track towards meeting its commitment to reduce average added sugars in its beverages3 by another 10 % in the EU-27 and in the UK between 2019 and 2025.4 The success of the sector’s reformulation efforts to reduce sugar largely relies on the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners to increase the offer of low- and no-calorie beverages. These ingredients should continue to be supported by public authorities and regulators to enable the sector to make further progress on sugar reduction.
Unesda corporate members achieved solid results regarding its marketing and advertising commitment, as demonstrated in the audits carried out by independent marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity (television) and the European Advertising Standards Alliance (websites, social media and influencers).5 The sector reached high compliance rates (98.7 % on TV, 92.9 % on company-owned websites, 94.1 % on company-owned social media profiles, and 100 % on influencer profiles), and is committed to continuing to work towards full compliance of its marketing and advertising commitment.
Unesda corporate members also reported to be highly compliant with the sector’s school policies6 in the four selected EU countries for its 2022 monitoring, conducted by third-party auditors BVA-BDRC:7
100 % (primary schools) and 92.3% (secondary schools) in Austria
100 % (primary schools) and 93.4% (secondary schools) in Italy
100 % (primary schools) and 100% (secondary schools) in Slovenia
100 % (primary schools) and 96.2% (secondary schools) in Sweden
Industry faces major challenges to accelerate packaging circularity
Unesda and its corporate members continued their actions to increase the amount of recycled plastic content in their beverage PET bottles to achieve the sector’s objective of using 50% recycled PET by 2025. The cost and availability of this material have been major challenges impacting these efforts. The most effective way to address this issue is to prioritise high-quality recycling in EU and national legislation by granting the sector a priority access right to the feedstock for recycling issued from its PET bottles. This will ensure that PET bottles are recycled into new beverage packaging in a closed-loop system, and are not being downcycled in non-food applications.
The way forward: Policy support is key
The European soft drinks sector remains determined to deliver on all its commitments but needs supportive policies in place to be successful.
In particular, the sector’s further actions to promote healthier lifestyles fully depend on support from EU public authorities and regulators for the use of ingredients assessed as safe by health authorities and on evidence-based dietary recommendations that do not denigrate or discriminate against any ingredient approved for use.
In order to accelerate the transition to full circularity of its packaging, Unesda calls for legislation supporting well-designed, industry-led Deposit Return Systems, the increased collection of beverage packaging across the EU and high-quality recycling through a priority access right to recycling feedstock to ensure a closed-loop system.
In addition, Unesda calls for a realistic regulatory framework on reuse that provides beverage producers flexibility to invest in the packaging mix that makes the most sense from environmental, economic, and consumer perspectives. This also includes considering all available reusable and refill options (at home and on the go) for the achievement of the reuse and refill targets proposed in the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.
Unesda will continue to engage with EU decision-makers in a constructive manner to help ensure policy predictability and coherence.
1Read Unesda’s 2022 progress report on its commitments to the EU Code of Conduct here. 2The EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices was launched by the European Commission in July 2021 and it is an integral part of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy to create a more sustainable food system in Europe. The EU Code of Conduct aims to encourage the entire food and drink sector to provide more sustainable and healthier food and beverage choices. 3Unesda’s sugar reduction commitment is applicable to all product categories under Unesda’s remit, including still drinks, carbonate drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, dilutables and iced teas, but excludes bottled water, 100 % juices, milk based and hot beverages. 4This will represent a 33 % overall reduction in average added sugars in soft drinks since 2000, building on past sugar reduction milestones that the sector achieved from 2015 to 2019 (14.6 % reduction on average) and from 2000 to 2015 (13.3 % reduction on average). 5Unesda corporate members started implementing an effective Responsible Marketing Code of Conduct in 2006 with its commitment to no marketing communication in printed media, websites or during broadcast programmes specifically aimed at children under 12. Since then, they have reinforced this commitment by extending the scope of media channels in which they do not market and advertise their soft drinks to the under-12s: cinemas in 2008 and the digital world, including company-owned websites, in 2018 when they also tightened the audience criteria and committed not to market and advertise their beverages when 35 % of the audience or more was under 12 years of age. As of 1 January 2022, Unesda corporate members extended the age range by committing not to advertise and market any of their soft drinks to children under 13 years across all media. This includes TV, radio, in print, in cinemas and online, including social media and other online platforms and sites (company-owned websites and video-sharing platforms such as YouTube). It also includes direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing, mobile marketing and contracted influencers. Unesda corporate members also committed to lowering the audience threshold from 35 % to 30 % so that fewer young children are directly exposed to advertising for any of its soft drinks. 6Unesda and its members are committed not to sell any soft drinks in EU primary schools since 2006 (through direct distribution), and to only sell low- and no-calorie soft drinks in EU secondary schools since 2017 (through direct distribution), and only in non-branded vending machines. 7The monitoring of Unesda’s school commitment is performed every two years in a group of different countries where there is a voluntary school commitment in place to provide a diversified sample of larger and smaller countries from different parts of the EU.
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 €.
A broad coalition representing European beverage producers, material and technology suppliers, recyclers, NGOs and public entities have called for ambitious action to enable full circularity of beverage packaging1 in the anticipated draft amendment of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), due at the end of November 2022.
The coalition believes that the upcoming revision of the EU PPWD is a real opportunity to take the right measures and accelerate the transition to circular beverage packaging.
For this reason, in their position paper2, the coalition highlights the importance of setting a 90 % separate collection for recycling target by 2029 for beverage packaging. This is to ensure higher recycling rates and recycled content in packaging, which in turn will significantly reduce the demand for virgin resources in a meaningful way.
Under a 90% target scenario3, the EU would recycle an additional equivalent of 92 billion PET bottles by 2030. This would mean that 2.6 million tonnes less virgin PET would be needed by the bottle industry from 2022 to 2030.
The coalition also considers that it is key to adopt well-designed deposit return systems (DRS) in Member States whose collection performance fails to meet interim milestones needed to attain the 90 % target. To do it effectively, it is essential to develop minimum requirements for any new DRS to maximise their efficiency. DRS has already proven to be an efficient collection system in several European countries by ensuring high collection rates of high-quality material for recycling. This is a fundamental condition to promote closed-loop recycling and deliver circular beverage packaging.
“This proposal, which includes a 90 % separate collection target plus the promotion of well-designed national deposit return systems, is not just about waste reduction and circularity, it is also about stimulating local economies, creating jobs, and increasing Europe’s resilience by securing resources and saving energy,” says Clarissa Morawski, Chief Executive of Reloop.
Reloop’s model calculates that achieving a 90 % collection target would make an additional 170 billion beverage containers available for recycling between 2022 and 2030. The non-alcoholic beverage industry supports this potential significant step forwards:
For Nicholas Hodac, Director General of UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, this proposal points the way forward for reaching beverage packaging circularity: “This is a real opportunity to achieve closed-loop recycling and, therefore, we look forward to seeing the European Commission accommodating this proposal. Our sector could not be more committed to increasing the collection and recycling rates of our packaging to make it fully circular, but we need supportive measures to do it successfully.”
Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE), believes that beverage packaging is highly suited to achieve full circularity: “Beverage packaging is highly recyclable, can be reused over and over again in high value applications and already delivers the highest recycling rates. We are calling on the EU to further boost circularity by laying down minimum requirements for well-designed DRS and granting bottlers’ access to a fair quota of their recycled bottles.”
Wouter Lox, Secretary General of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), agrees that it is high time to move circularity forward: “Reducing packaging waste presents a huge opportunity for circularity within the EU, and as such, it is critical to get the PPWD revision right. The European fruit juice industry, therefore, fully supports the ambition of setting a 90 % separate collection for recycling target by 2029 for beverage container packaging.”
The European Commission has a perfect opportunity to drive the transition to a circular economy with a 90 % separate collection target and well-designed DRS for beverage packaging.
1The coalition agrees that circular beverage packaging is packaging (single use or refillable) that is collected separately at a high rate, refilled or recycled multiple times in a closed loop. When recycled, it should contain a high percentage of recycled material, originating from beverage packaging, thereby contributing to material resource efficiency and waste prevention. 2Coalition Position Paper 3Target 90 Report
Nagardo, a new natural preservative from LANXESS, is now approved for use in non-alcoholic beverages in the European Union as well. “EU approval allows us to continue expanding the global footprint of Nagardo. The preservative is already in use in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada,” said Monika Ebener, Global Marketing Director for Natural Antimicrobials at LANXESS. “We’re going to be launching in other markets as well. We are now proud to present our natural guardian in our home market, too.”
EU approval is regarded as the gold standard due to its thorough evaluation process. “This registration means that European beverage producers can now make use of a long-awaited natural preservative that not only reliably and efficiently safeguards product quality but also enables manufacturers to transform their product ranges to suit the emerging trend of consumer awareness and demand for natural ingredients. The use of Nagardo can also help companies to achieve their sustainability targets, partly by reducing the amount of plastic needed for packaging and partly because switching from hot filling or tunnel pasteurization to cold filling with Nagardo cuts energy usage.
Nagardo is used in various beverage categories, which means that a wide-ranging market can depend on the protection offered by this natural preservative.
Nagardo is based on glycolipids obtained from edible mushrooms, which were discovered in a comprehensive screening process encompassing more than 100,000 natural substances. It transpired
that they offer the kind of effectiveness that can be found only in nature – all that is needed is a dosage as much as 50 times smaller than is the case with commonly used synthetic preservatives. It is currently the most effective natural preservative for non-alcoholic beverages on the market.
Nagardo will be launched officially in Europe for the first time at this year’s drinktec, a trade show that will be taking place in Munich from September 12 to 16.
European Bioplastics, the association, representing the bioplastics industry in Europe, is pleased to announce the appointment of Maria Neguț as new Head of EU Affairs. She assumed her position on 14 March 2022 and will be based in Brussels.
European Bioplastics (EUBP) and its members are happy to welcome Maria Neguț on board of the EUBP team at this time of crucial importance. With the Green Deal casting its shadow ahead, setting up the path for the European Union’s transition to a real resource-efficient economy, bioplastics are poised to play a significant role.
Prior to joining European Bioplastics, Maria Neguț held several positions at the European Parliament and the European Commission. Most recently, she worked with the European Cocoa Association (ECA) where she served as EU Affairs Director Sustainability for over five years. Besides holding a Master’s degree in Political Sciences and European Affairs from the Université Libre de Bruxelles as well as a post-graduate degree in International Organizations from the European Academy of Diplomacy (EAD), she is also a recognised Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner. Maria was an active member of the EU Commission’s Expert Group/Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation. In addition, she was a member of the CEN TC415 – tasked with the development of the first international standard ISO 34101 on sustainable and traceable cocoa. On a regular basis, Maria is contributing to think-thank projects and writing on topics linked to sustainability, energy, and EU policies.
Mella Frewen, FoodDrinkEurope Director General, said:
“The EU Code of Conduct marks a significant step towards delivering more sustainable food systems in Europe. The past few months have been intense with a wide range of stakeholders providing input into the process. Participants came from across the entire food chain including international organisations, NGOs, trade unions, and the European Commission.
As the organisation of the largest manufacturing sector in the EU, we take our responsibilities very seriously and aim to show leadership in the transition towards more sustainable food. We were therefore privileged to take the chairmanship of the Task Force developing the Code, but credit must go to all contributors for this collaborative effort.”
Marco Settembri, FoodDrinkEurope President and Nestlé CEO for EMENA, said:
“The real hard work begins now. By signing up to the Code the industry is committing to drive actions that will contribute to healthier living, a greener planet and a thriving European economy.
“In order to take everyone along on the food sustainability journey, including the SMEs that make up 99 % of Europe’s food and drink sector, we count on continued support from the European Commission and other public authorities. We invite all stakeholders to continue this collaboration towards our common goal of sustainable food systems where progress is real and where Europe can become the gold standard for sustainable food.”
FoodDrinkEurope will now promote the Code among its network and work with its members to make it a success.
The Interprofessional of Lemon and Grapefruit of Spain has also requested “the application of ethylene in citrus” in organic production “because unlike what happens in other fruits or vegetables, does not induce ripening but only to change the color of the skin”.
Both comments have been submitted as part of the consultation period that the European Commission has opened on the draft regulation authorizing products and substances to be used in organic production.
The Interprofessional Association of Lemon and Grapefruit of Spain (AILIMPO) has submitted a proposal to the European Union for the food industry BIO products to replace the use of citric acid (E-330) by organic lemon juice “for being a totally effective and natural alternative“. The proposal has been presented by AILIMPO in the framework of the consultation period that the European Commission has opened on the Draft Implementing Regulation authorizing certain products and substances for use in organic production and establishing their lists.
“We have requested the elimination of the authorization of this substance (citric acid E-330) as a preservative in food additives because it is perfectly substitutable in the processes by organic lemon juice whose main component is natural citric acid, whose production in Europe fully guarantees its availability “, said from AILIMPO, while recalling that Spain is a community leader in production and processing of lemon.
AILIMPO, in favor of using ethylene in organic citrus
In addition, AILIMPO has also submitted an observation to be able to use ethylene. The draft regulation establishes an important limitation for its use in organic citrus. This substance is used so that, once the internal maturity of the fruit is reached, the skin changes its green color to the characteristic color of the species and variety. This process is called degreening.
Since its use is restricted to organic citrus as part of a fruit fly prevention strategy, it could not be used for degreening. However, “the application of ethylene in citrus, unlike what happens in other fruits or vegetables, does not induce ripening but only to change the color of the skin,” clarified from AILIMPO whose position is not to limit the use of ethylene in organic citrus.
“AILIMPO has an important commitment to sustainability as is being made visible through the Welcome to the Lemon Age campaign,” they remind. The organic production of lemon and grapefruit has great relevance in its activity, hence the involvement of interprofessional in defending the interests of this sector. Therefore, AILIMPO has already moved this position also to the European organization FRESHFEL EUROPE, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the citrus Autonomous Communities, and the Councils of Organic Agriculture involved in order that their contributions to this draft implementing regulation take into account the considerations of the sector.
Below are the links to AILIMPO’s contributions to the public consultation of the Regulation.
About AILIMPO AILIMPO is a national interprofessional, based in Murcia, officially recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spain and the European Commission, which represents the economic interests of producers, cooperatives, exporters and processors of lemon and grapefruit in Spain, a sector in which Spain is a world leader in fresh exports and ranks second in the ranking of processing countries, with an annual turnover of 700 million euros, generating 20,000 direct jobs and a turnover in ancillary industries of more than 250 million euros.
Freshfel Europe published its 2020 Consumption Monitor, the Association’s analysis for fresh fruit and vegetables production, trade and consumption trends in the EU-28. This latest and highly anticipated edition of Freshfel Europe’s Consumption Monitor shows that in 2018 daily fresh fruit and vegetable consumption per capita has increased by 4 % from 2017 levels to 363.76 g per capita per day. While still below the WHO recommended minimum daily consumption of 400 g, this represents a 5.1 % increase compared to the previous five years (2013-2017) and halts previous consumption stagnation.
Freshfel Europe released its much-anticipated 2020 Consumption Monitor. Analysing fresh fruit and vegetable production, trade and consumption trends for the EU-28, Freshfel Europe’s 2020 Consumption Monitor examines the latest sector data from 2018. While aggregate consumption remained below the WHO recommended minimum daily consumption of 400 g, fresh produce consumption in the EU showed a strong positive increase of 4 % compared to 2017 levels. Representing a 5.1 % increase compared to the previous five years (2013-2017), this significant improvement can be attributed to a 9.5 % rise in fresh fruit consumption to 211.82 g per capita per day, which also compensated for a slight overall decrease in vegetable consumption to 151.94 g per capita per day.
This indication of a strong positive increase in EU consumption has coincided with increased sector efforts to raise awareness of the importance of fresh produce consumption over the last few years. Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard commented on the publication emphasizing, “The findings of Freshfel Europe’s 2020 Consumption Monitor are highly encouraging and clearly illustrate that the sector’s heightened efforts to boost consumption above the WHO recommended minimum of 400 g per capita per day are being paid off. While we will continue to observe the stability of this recovery, we need to investigate this new discrepancy between fruit and vegetable consumption”. Mr Binard encouraged the sector to continue its efforts adding, “The fresh fruit and vegetable sector must capitalize on 2021 being the UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Continued reinforcement of the important role of fresh produce in a balanced healthy and sustainable diet is essential to maintain and boost this latest positive consumption trend”. Freshfel Europe is active in consumption promotion activities at EU-level. Freshfel Europe’s ‘Follow me to be healthy with Europe’ EU promotion campaign is now in its third year, and alongside its longstanding online #FruitVeg4You campaign this year Freshfel Europe is conducting a specific campaign, #SpeakUp4FruitVeg, to encourage support for the sector by EU policy-makers and boost consumption to celebrate the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021.
The 143-page Freshfel Europe 2020 Consumption Monitor consists of three parts:
total gross supply of fruit and vegetables in the EU-28, including trends in production, exports and imports of fruit and vegetables (2013-2018),
a comparative review of consumption trends across the EU-28 (2013-2018), and
a review of the total net supply and trends exports and imports of fruit and vegetables in the EU-28 (2013-2018).
Freshfel Europe members receive the full report free of charge. The 2020 Consumption Monitor is also available for purchase for non-members at a rate of 1000 EUR. All information about the Freshfel Europe Consumption Monitor is available via the Freshfel website (www.freshfel.org).
Freshfel Europe supports the EU’s plans to revise its Trade Strategy, an essential move to ensure the EU is ready to tackle the growing challenges impacting fresh fruit and vegetables trade , particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the sector urges the European Commission to enhance the assertiveness of its approach to trade policy, especially regarding tackling sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers, which are deeply impacting the ability of the sector to exploit its full potential to trade. This is necessary to ensure EU exports of fruit and vegetables revert current negative trends experienced since the Russian embargo (loss of 22% in their volume since 2014) and successfully diversify and gain access to new attractive markets despite the uncertain international trade environment. The new EU Trade Strategy should effectively assist key partners, particularly developing countries, to cope with EU legislation and standards to continue accessing the Single Market, ensuring year-round supply of affordable, varied fresh fruit and vegetables to EU citizens.
As outlined in Freshfel Europe’s response to the EU public consultation on a roadmap for an EU trade & investment policy review, the new strategy should seek to fully exploit the potential of existing multilateral and bilateral agreements with trade partners and, if needed, make use of more assertive tools on top of ‘soft’ engagement to ensure reciprocity in trade relations. Moreover, the new EU Trade Strategy should seek further SPS facilitations with trade partners to ensure faster, less burdensome fruit and vegetables access to third country markets, either via multilateral WTO and IPPC commitments, SPS Chapters in FTAs or other bilateral agreements, formal or informal. A reinforced internal coordination among EU services, Member States and the EU private sector would also help secure faster opening of third country markets for all EU Member States and fruit and vegetables categories. The sector expects that the prompt appointment of the Chief Trade Enforcement Officer will enable this work to be effectively implemented.
Freshfel Europe believes the revised EU Trade Strategy should contribute to the EU’s green and digital objectives. To ensure this, the EU should effectively assist trade partners to achieve environmental goals through so-called Green Alliances, as outlined in the Farm to Fork Strategy. Technical support should also be targeted to developing partners, particularly key suppliers in Africa and America, so they can cope with EU legislation to continue accessing the EU Market. Furthermore, the EU should translate its ambitions to become ‘fit for the digital age’ into concrete solutions that facilitate trade operations, implementing for instance electronic transmission of import and export certification, for which the sector and public authorities have shown its readiness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU legislation requires the setup of an EU catalogue of varieties of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants based on Member States’ national catalogues. Today the Commission’s new Fruit Reproductive Material Information System (FRUMATIS) for the management of these national catalogues went online.
FRUMATIS provides information on the identification of the variety, its registration, the registration validity period, intellectual property rights, and optional information such as the breeder and maintainer of the variety. FRUMATIS is an easily consultable database aiming to increase the confidence in varieties marketed throughout the EU. The estimated value of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants produced in the EU is above € 760 million. Two billion plants are produced on a surface of over 11.400 ha in the EU.
FRUMATIS currently lists more than 14.000 varieties of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants. This new system allows Member States to manage themselves the publication of their national catalogues on the Commission’s website. FRUMATIS uses semantic technologies that allow it to connect to publicly available structured data sources. The Commission intends to create a central hub of catalogues of agricultural and vegetable species, fruit genera/species and vine varieties.
Brazilian exports of Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ) Equivalent increased in October for the fourth consecutive month. This season (July to October/19), Brazil has shipped 390.5 thousand tons of the product to all destinations, 19 % more than that exported in the same period last year, according to data from Secex. Revenue, in turn, rose 8 %, in the same comparison, totaling 672.27 million USD.
This result was already expected by agents from the sector, who were based on the needs of bottling plants from the European Union (number one destination for the Brazilian juice) to replenish inventories – it is worth to mention that, last season, national shipments to the EU decreased. This season (2019/20), exports to the EU have already reached 284.3 thousand tons, 25 % up compared to the volume shipped between July and October 2018.
Shipments to the United States continue to decrease – between July and October/19, Brazilian exports to the USA decreased 6 %, totaling only 53.5 thousand tons, still reflecting the 2018/19 harvest offset in Florida as well as perspectives for a positive scenario in the American state in 2019/20.
Brazilian juice exports should continue on the rise in the coming months, due to the higher orange production in the citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro) and the needs of European bottling plants to replenish inventories. Shipments to the USA, in turn, will depend on the output from Florida (although greening has been controlled, it still damages local groves).
BRAZILIAN MARKET – The demand for oranges was firm in the in natura market in the first fortnight of November, according to Cepea collaborators, pushing up prices. As regards supply, the low availability of higher quality fruits and the reduction in the pear orange harvesting helped to underpin quotes. Between Nov. 1 and 14, pear orange quotes averaged 28.04 BRL per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 31.1 % up compared to that in the first half of October.
As regards tahiti lime, the volume available in the in natura market of SP is increasing – although most are small-sized fruits, which are traded at lower prices. According to agents consulted by Cepea, the gradual supply increase tends to press down quotes from now onwards. Between Nov. 1 and 14, tahiti lime prices averaged 91.37 BRL per 27-kilo box, harvested, 14.3 % down compared to that in the first fortnight of October.
EXPORTS – Brazilian shipments of tahiti lime continue at record levels, both in terms of volume and revenue, favored by the higher supply between April and May. Between January and October/19, exports of lemon and lime totaled 93.3 thousand tons, 13.6 % up compared to that from the same period last year, according to Secex. Revenue, in turn, totaled 78.5 million USD, 3.2 % higher, in the same comparison. As supply increases in Brazil, which is expected between late November and early December, agents expect quotes to drop and shipments to increase, since lower prices favor the competitiveness of the Brazilian product in the international market.
The European Commission’s latest EUROPHYT – Interceptions annual report provides an overview of interception notifications received in 2018 and evaluates the main trends over the period 2013-2018.
This annual report shows that in 2018 there were 1,712 interceptions by Member States and Switzerland due to the presence of harmful organisms, an increase of 16% from the previous year. Despite this increase, there is a reduction of 30 % in the number of interceptions since 2013.
The main non-EU country commodities intercepted due to the presence of harmful organisms were fruit and vegetables, particularly peppers, mango, basil, eggplant, citrus and various gourds. Regarding the organisms, the increase over previous years can be attributed to increased interceptions of Thrips, an increase in nematode interceptions from Belarus and increased Citrus Black spot interceptions from Brazil and Argentina. Regarding commodities, wood packaging material and cut flowers also contributed significantly to the interceptions but with no significant change on previous years. There is also a noted increase in interceptions of seeds imported without required certification.
Background: EUROPHYT- Interceptions is the Commission’s rapid alert system for plant health used by EU Member States and Switzerland. Members use the system to notify the presence of harmful organisms and other plant health risks found in EU-bound consignments during import controls. The system is also an effective policy support tool for risk assessment and risk management. Based on EUROPHYT data, a Non-EU trade Alert List is published each month on the Commission’s Health and Food Safety website.
MY 2018/19 EU citrus production is projected to reach 11.6 MMT, an eight percent rise compared to previous year and consistent with previous estimates. The regional increase is due to an expected rebound in Spanish production, the EU’s main citrus producer. Favorable weather conditions facilitated good flowering and fruit setting. Spain expects a 14.6 percent increase in citrus production from the previous year at 7.3 MMT and 0.4 percent higher than previous estimates. In February 2019, Spanish growers protested against the European Commission as the rise in EU imports of South African citrus lowered EU prices. However, the rebound of EU citrus production may result in a reduction in EU citrus imports. Strategic markets destinations for EU citrus exports continue to be Canada, the Middle East and China. In addition, in MY 2017/18 EU imports of U.S. grapefruit and orange juice declined due to a decrease in U.S. production.
How much food do we waste on the farm, in manufacturing, supermarkets, restaurants and canteens and in households? In order to help Member States quantify food waste at each stage of the food supply chain, the Commission has established an EU measurement methodology that is published for open public consultation. Citizens and stakeholders have the opportunity to express their views on the proposed methodology, which will be open for feedback for 4 weeks. In drafting a common methodology to measure food waste levels in the EU, the Commission worked closely with Member States’ experts and also benefitted from the input and insights of actors in the food value chain participating in the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste. Thanks to the revised waste legislation, adopted in May 2018, specific measures on food waste prevention have been introduced which will provide the EU with new and consistent data on food waste levels. These data are needed by Member States to implement effective food waste prevention programmes and help guide the EU’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 of halving food waste by 2030.
The EU Member State’s experts endorsed – on 22 February – in the context of a Standing Committee a European Commission’s proposal to prolong the emergency measures with specific import requirements for citrus fruits from Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay, and strengthened the import requirements for citrus fruits originating in Brazil, to prevent the introduction into and the spread within the European Union of citrus black spot (CBS). This measure sets out specific growing and inspection requirements for citrus fruits originating in those countries that had recurrent interceptions of CBS at the entry into the EU, with the aim to ensure that the fruits arriving to the EU are free from this disease.
The Decision on the prolongation and reinforcement of this emergency measure will be formally adopted by the European Commission in the coming weeks.
For more information on emergency measures on import of plants and plant products, see SANTE’s webpage.
GfK has carried out a comprehensive analysis of the European retail scene in 32 European countries. The study examines purchasing power, the retail share of private consumption, inflation and sales area productivity, and also includes a turnover prognosis for 2018.
Latest industry data on glass recycling show that the average glass recycling rate in the EU28 is steady at 74 %. This means that over 11.6 million tons of glass bottles are collected, and recycled into food grade quality material for the production of new glass containers.
Countries such as Belgium, Slovenia or Sweden, with excellent separate collection systems, continue to outperform beyond 95 %. While glass stands alone as the most circular packaging solution, maintaining permanent quality even when recycled, the reality is that there is still an important collection gap to fill in many EU countries.
“Our industry is mobilized to fill the gap to 100 % EU glass recycling because recycled glass is our most important raw material”, commented Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General. “We hope the new packaging recycling targets will give the necessary boost to all EU countries to invest in closed loop glass collection.”
As pointed out at the Euractiv Event, real recycling is a balancing act between developing materials that are recyclable, and markets that are open to use recycled material. “More and more effort is being put at European level to use recycled material for new food packaging”, says Jean-Paul Judson, FEVE Public Affairs Manager. “Recycled glass is of food grade quality. It goes straight into new food or beverage containers. We want to engage with policymakers to make this model the reference”.
The increasing demand from the European Union for fresh fruits might be an opportunity for the revenue obtained with Brazilian exportations to be a record in 2019. Cepea’s Hortifruti Brasil magazine evaluates how is the European market for eight fruits (banana, tahiti lime, apple, papaya, mango, melon, watermelon and grape) and explores opportunities to increase shipments to the EU or, at least, keep Brazilian participation in purchases of the bloc. In order to perform this, Hortifruti Brasil compared importation data outside the bloc from European Commission (through Trade Helpdesk data) in 2006, 2011 and 2016 and surveyed Brazilian exporters and verified data from other countries.
In 2017, Hortifruti Brasil estimates indicate that the revenue obtained with shipments might total 662.02 million dollars. Abrafrutas (Brazilian Fruit Growers-Exporters Association) says that Brazil might reach the goal of 1 billion dollars revenue with exportations in 2019. According to the Association, the strategy to reach this amount, in short-term, is to increase sales to solidified purchasing countries – however, the opening of new markets is also very important.
Among fruits presented in Hortifruti Brasil, mango (considered exotic not so long ago and more and more popular in the European retail market) can be highlighted. For more than one decade, Brazil continues as a major fruit supplier to the EU. The Brazilian melon increased its participation in the total that the bloc purchased outside EU (47 % in 2016 compared to 39 % in 2011). On the average of the last five years (2012-2016), between 70 % and 80 % of the volume produced by Rio Grande do Norte/Ceará) was sent to the international market, and 94 % of the amount was allocated to the European Union, according to Secex.
Watermelon exportations have also been registering a great performance, with a record in 2016/17. The Brazilian participation in the shipments to the European Union increased over the last 10 years, changing from 16.8 % to 21.4 % in 2016. There are still challenges for Brazil to consolidate its participation in sales to the EU and finally reach the goal, such as tariff barriers, quality improvements, production diversification and search for new purchasers.