EU imports of tropical fruit surged in 2014
Using data from Eurostat, the latest 'EU F&V Import Trends' fact sheet from industry association Freshfel shows the category 'bananas and plantains' continued to hold top spot with 5.113 million metric tons (MT), representing year-on-year growth of 4%.
With a growth rate that was more than three times greater than the five-year average, pineapples took second spot from oranges, rising 9% to reach 934,028MT.
Avocados overtook the category 'guavas, mangoes and mangosteens', although both categories saw growth with rates of 20% and 4% respectively; with volumes of 302,193MT and 270,819MT respectively, they also overtook imports of pears and quinces for the first time.
The category 'exotic fruit' - including tamarinds, cashew apples, jackfruit, litchis, sapodillo plums, passion fruit, carambola, pitahaya and other edible fruit - witnessed a growth rate of 19% to reach 114,916MT.
Further down the list, papaya imports increased 33% to reach 35,601MT, overtaking strawberry imports for the first time.
While still representing a very small portion of the market, durian imports rose by 7% to achieve imports of 262MT, however this is still below the 513MT imported in 2009.
In terms of non-tropical fruits, orange imports fell 6% to 827,087MT, apple imports fell 26% to 494,895MT and non-EU lemon volume was down 18% at 358,740MT.
Decreases were also registered for imports of pears and quinces (-16%), kiwifruit (-20%), plums and sloes (-38%), and peaches and nectarines (-18%). Figs overtook cherries but both categories saw declines, at rates of 2% and 14% respectively.