Falling European production of vegetables in the wake of unseasonal conditions could present opportunities for the frozen food industry, reports Jonathan Thomas.
Fruit and vegetables represent an important component of the European food industry. These tend to be eaten in either fresh, frozen or canned format – in recent years, the frozen market has made much of the fact that essential nutrients are ‘locked in’ during the freezing process, thereby appealing to consumers’ health considerations. Many authorities across the region, together with organizations such as the World Cancer Research Fund, continue to stress the importance of increased fruit and vegetable intake as part of a healthy diet. Fresh produce has been linked with reduce risks of heart and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer and stroke.
Consumption of fruit and vegetables varies across Europe. According to Eurostat data, almost two-thirds (65.5%) of people in the EU28 countries ate at least one portion of fruit or vegetables per day in 2014, with over half (51.4%) consuming between 1 and 4 portions. This drops to 14% for people eating more than 5 portions during a typical day.
This data suggests that fresh produce remains a staple of the diet for most people in Western Europe, although a third still eat little or no fruit and vegetables, which is perhaps a little worrying from a health perspective. There have been some tentative proposals made to increase the number of recommended daily portions of fres...