While the argument for Tomatoes being fruits have gained popularity over the past few years, the world seems to have settled on their status as vegetables – and prominent ones at that.
As a report from Horti Daily confirmed earlier this week, tomatoes are, in fact, the most popular vegetables across Europe. The news medium gave an account of a convention, which was held at the first Sicilian edition of Enza Zaden’s House Fair.
Second Year Running
The convention, which was titled “Markets and Opportunities,” provided insights into the tomato market for Europe, including but not limited to some of the top players and industry leaders.
Hans-Christoph Behr, a research analyst from German market research agency Ami, reportedly confirmed that Spain is now the top producer of fresh tomatoes across Europe, as countries such as Italy have faced a few difficulties in production.
As for exports, Behr confirmed that the Netherlands holds the most significant market share, as the country has been able to adopt controlled-environment greenhouses and artificial light to compensate for an insufficient production and consumption base.
With these techniques, the country has been able to produce a new variety of tomatoes that have become more popular than the traditional options.
In general, however, the European tomato market seems stable. As the research analyst confirmed, tomatoes are now the most popular fresh horticultural product in most European countries (with the United Kingdom and its love of carrots being the top holdout).
Consumption and purchases are led by Poland, Italy, and Spain, with numbers spiking, particularly in the summer months.
The report seemed to solidify the position of tomatoes as Europe’s most beloved vegetable – an honor that was also bestowed on the vegetable in 2018. At the time, Dutch IT firm Roamler reportedly conducted a survey on fruit and vegetable trends across the continent.
The survey eventually showed that the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium had the highest preference for buying fruits and veggies in supermarkets, while Italian and Spanish consumers preferred shopping in local markets.
Amongst other things, the firm reported that tomatoes are the most popular vegetables on the continent, while bananas are the most popular fruits.
Some Moroccan Help for European Countries
The continent’s market, however, seems to be enjoying an increase in imports from Morocco. The north-western African country is currently the fifth-largest producer of tomatoes in the world, with produced 569 million kilograms of the product (representing 6.72% of global production and holding a value of €582 million) being produced in 2018, according to a report from the North African Post.
Earlier this week, data published by the Office of Statistics of the European Union (Eurostat) revealed that the country’s exports of fruits and vegetables to members of the European Union grew by an impressive 4 percent to a total of 1.4 million tonnes.
As the statistics showed, Morocco exported 859,095 tones of vegetables to the EU, with tomatoes representing over half of its entire exports.
The 481,706 tonnes of tomatoes exported alone was a 7 percent increase from levels recorded in 2018.
The exports of fruits also reportedly reached 533,065 tonnes, with watermelons and oranges representing the lion’s share of the entire haul. Eurostat added that the vegetable exports from Morocco have increased by 26 percent across the past half-decade, while fruits exports in the same period have spiked by a staggering 53,2 percent.
Spain itself is the top destination for Moroccan fruits and vegetables. Last year, the country imported 162,939 tonnes of fruits and 267,360 tonnes of vegetables from Morocco, marking 62 percent and 126 percent growth in vegetable and fruit imports over the past five years respectively.