Fruits and vegetables, uncertain consumption in Italy


Fruits and vegetables, uncertain consumption in Italy. All good according to Coldiretti, all bad according to Ismea-Agroter

The trend of consumption of fruit and vegetables in Italy oscillates between two antithetical news items. According to Coldiretti, the sector is growing, Italians have multiplied consumption of fruits and vegetables and are increasingly aware of their health benefits. According to Ismea-Agroter, however, the sector is losing share and a change of course is needed throughout the supply chain.

Two seemingly opposite conclusions seem to rest, moreover, on as many statistical findings. The mystery of the data, to follow.

Italian fruit and vegetables on the rise, Coldiretti’s version

Coldiretti presented to



(May 9-11, 2018 in Rimini) data that express great optimism. Italian fruits and vegetables would be highly valued in the Bel Paese, and domestic consumption would increase by 2.2 percent in 2017 to 8.52 billion kg. A trend also recorded in the first two months of 2018, with +1%. Apples, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes and salads top the list of the most popular fruit and vegetables. Italians would spend 102.33 euros/month on fruit and vegetables, 23 percent of monthly food spending.

All is well, it seems. The only enemy seems to locate across the border in North Africa. From there – thanks to trade agreements with the EU – comes a flow of fruit and vegetables obtained with cheap labor and the probable use of pesticides banned by us. Tomatoes, oranges, clementines, strawberries, cucumbers and zucchini from Morocco. Strawberries, table grapes, fennel and artichokes from Egypt. Goods that are far cheaper than Italian goods, as can be seen in outlets that comply with origin information duties.

In Coldiretti’s view., however, the North African threat should not be a concern. 88% of Italians, says trade association, buy only fruit and vegetables Made in Italy, the best in the world, with just 0.6 percent of samples having irregular chemical residues. Assuming that vendors, even in local markets, enable consumers to make informed choices.

Italian fruit and vegetables in decline, the release of



Fruit and Vegetable Observatory



instead seems to describe a different Italy, in the report presented at ‘
Think Fresh – Value at the Center
‘ on May 8, 2018, in Rimini, Italy.

The scenario, according to

, is not at all rosy. Consumption of Italian fruits and vegetables-including fourth range and nuts-would remain stagnant, increasing only in the summer months. And the first quarter of 2018 would be no exception, marking as well a –2,5% in value.

Perceived quality of fruit and vegetables is then questioned, in a survey conducted by Agroter e Toluna out of 3,000 people tasked with household grocery shopping. One-third of Italians surveyed rated the taste of fruits and vegetables on the national market today as unsatisfactory. ‘The taste of tomatoes deteriorated for 56 percent of consumers, strawberries for 54 percent, and then again apricots (36 percent), cherries (32 percent) and melons (29 percent)‘.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".