76% of European consumers take into account the origin of fruit and vegetables when buying them.

  • 4 out of 10 citizens buy European fruit and vegetables whenever they can and another 4 take into account origin among other criteria. Only 2 out of 10 respondents say they do not give preference to fruit and vegetables grown in Europe. This year’s results translate into an overall increase in the importance given to European origin of 3.6% compared to 2019.
  • In 2020, the daily consumption of fruit among consumers is generalised for 62% of the population, as well as the daily consumption of vegetables, which reaches 57% (compared to 49% in 2019).
  • The perception of greenhouse-grown products has improved over the last year, highlighting their safety, positive health effects and affordability.
  • FruitVegetablesEUROPE and Adelante K&D are developing a study on European consumers’ perception and knowledge of European fruit and vegetable production methods over a 3-year period (2019-2021). The final study will be published by the end of 2021.

(Brussels, 04 March 2020). FruitVegetablesEUROPE today presented the results of the second CuTE survey carried out in the framework of the EU promotion programme CuTE – Growing a Taste of Europe. This is the first awareness-raising report on fruit and vegetable production methods in the EU and has been developed to gain more information on the consumption habits of European citizens and to ensure closer contact with consumers.

Taking into account the lack of available data at EU level, FruitVegetablesEUROPE, in close collaboration with the evaluation body of the programme (Adelante K&D), is developing a European survey on “European consumers’ perception and knowledge of EU fruit and vegetable production methods” in five EU target countries (France, Germany, Greece, Poland and Spain) and a period of 3 years (2019-2021). The first survey was launched in 2019, reaching 1,000 people per country, with a special focus on young parents. The results for 2020 correspond to the implementation of the second year of the programme and serve as a stepping stone for the final study, which will be published at the end of 2021.

In general, the data obtained for 2020 have recorded an increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables, maintaining the purchasing criteria of 2019. Among the most important purchasing criteria, origin (local, national or European) is the fourth most valued. Among the main reasons cited were the support of local producers (32%) and confidence in the European production method (21%). The preference for buying European fruit and vegetables has also increased in the last year.

The "European origin" is becoming more and more important

The “European origin” is becoming more and more important

When it comes to purchasing, the origin of the product remains an important purchasing criterion (whether local, national or European) for 1 in 4 consumers. In contrast, environmental sustainability does not appear as a priority criterion, nor does the fact that it is produced in the open air rather than in greenhouses.

The “European Origin” criterion is important for more people than last year. The reasons indicate that it supports local producers and is a guarantee in terms of product safety. 4 out of 10 citizens buy European fruit and vegetables whenever they can and another 4 take origin into account among other criteria.

Likewise, “European origin” is relevant when buying fruit and vegetables (76%) compared to 73% in 2019. This represents an overall increase in the importance given to European origin of 3.6% compared to 2019. In terms of population segments, women, parents and people over 55 show a stronger preference for European products.

Raise awareness of fruit and vegetable production methods.

As for the CuTE communication programme, the survey shows an incipient awareness. CuTE communication campaigns and, more generally, all campaigns on European fruit and vegetables are in the minds of 12-20% of the consumers surveyed.

The CuTE-Cultivating the Taste of Europe project, coordinated by FruitVegetablesEUROPE, aims to help raise awareness of the specificities of European fruit and vegetable farming methods (greenhouse and outdoor) and the characteristics of European fruit and vegetables (varieties, quality, taste) on the European internal market.

The perception of greenhouse-grown products has improved.

The perception of greenhouse-grown produce has improved over the last year, highlighting its safety, positive health effects and affordability. Consumers who oppose greenhouse cultivation argue that it alters taste and nutrients, as well as having a negative impact on the environment.

  In this context, confidence in European agricultural production methods, as well as in agricultural products grown under glass, has increased. The most common critical views on production methods point to the use of GMOs and environmental impact. However, these are not predominant aspects when it comes to purchasing.

When asked about production methods, a majority of consumers do not have a strong opinion on greenhouse production (58%). In addition, 45% of respondents do not trust all methods and 10% do not trust any of them. The main concerns point to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the environmental impact of certain methods. Compared to 2019, more people buy looking to maintain the properties of fruit and vegetables.

In addition, the study highlights a more frequent consumption of fruit than vegetables according to the 5004 respondents. The daily consumption of fruit is generalised for 62% of the population, as well as the daily consumption of vegetables, which reaches 57% (compared to 57% and 49% last year).

In 2020, the purchasing criteria for fruit and vegetables selected by the population of the five countries surveyed remained unchanged compared to 2019, the most relevant being: product quality (57%), price (38%) and seasonality (33%).

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