Growing success for Spain and Italy in EU fruit and veg market
Italy, Spain and Poland are leading the way in the production of fruit and vegetables grown in the EU, according to the latest report from Eurostat.
In 2016 Spain was the largest EU producer of fruit in terms of production area, with 942,000 hectares (or 33pc of the EU total) devoted to fruit production.
Italy, meanwhile, was the largest producer of vegetables, with 420,000 hectares, or 19.8pc of land in Italy being used for the production of vegetables in 2016.
In total, more than 2.8m hectares were given over to the production of fruit and berries, and a further 2.1m hectares to the production of vegetables in the EU in 2016.
However, Poland is holding its own, harvesting more than one in every four apples produced in the EU last year, with 28.7pc of total EU harvested apple production, ahead of Italy (19.6pc) and France (14.5pc).
Poland was also the main EU producer of cherries, producing 29.3pc of the total, followed by Spain (11.9pc) and Italy (11.2pc).
Apples were also the most commonly produced fruit in the EU in terms of quantity, with 12.5m tonnes harvested in 2016, or almost 25kg per EU inhabitant.
Spain and Poland, with their warm summer climates, also led the way in the production of strawberries in Europe, with almost one in three strawberries produced in the EU coming from Spain.
Poland, meanwhile, produced 17.4pc of strawberries in the EU, while Germany produced 12pc, the third-largest producer. Tomatoes were big business in the 28-nation bloc, with a haul of 18.5 million tons, or 36kg per EU inhabitant, in 2016.
Italy and Spain were the main producers of the fruit, supplying almost two-thirds of tomatoes produced in the EU last year.
They were followed by Portugal which produced almost one in ten tomatoes grown in the EU.
Meanwhile, in the vegetable sector, three Member States accounted for around two-thirds of the cucumbers harvested in the EU in 2016, with Spain, producing 28.1pc of cucumbers last year, and Poland producing 20.4pc.
The Netherlands completed the top three, producing 16.5pc of cucumbers harvested in the EU last year.
The production of carrots in the EU was more dispersed across Member States, with the top producers in 2016 being Poland, the UK, and Germany.
As for courgettes, again Spain and Italy topped the production table, producing 38pc and 36pc respectively. While Ireland did not feature highly in the EU fruit and vegetable production tables, exports of our edible horticulture and cereal were valued at €230m last year.
Mushroom exports accounted for 40pc or over €90m of our edible horticulture exports, according to data from Bord Bia.
The UK is the largest export market for Irish mushrooms, although there are some exports to France and the Netherlands.
In related news yesterday SuperValu remains the most popular grocery store for Irish consumers, with a market share of 22.1pc for the 12 weeks ending July 16, 2017, according to the latest data from the Kantar World Panel.
Second-placed Tesco captured 21.9pc market share, with a 0.4 percentage point lead over Dunnes Stores in third place.
Lidl and Aldi have also enjoyed strong performances over the past 12 weeks - Lidl's growth accelerated to 3.8pc, with Aldi boosting sales by 3.7pc.