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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



It may be surprising to learn that despite the vast amount of information available on the importance of fruit in a balanced diet, people are still not eating enough. The core reasons for this may not be immediately obvious or explicable. Are the varieties of available fruit limited by consumer driven preferences?

Is it that certain fruits are neglected only as a matter of taste, or are consumers put off by the appearance?

The goal of the ISAFRUIT project is to increase fruit consumption throughout Europe. It is funded under the EC FP6 programme and seeks to identify the problem areas or bottlenecks that may impede consumption, adopting a holistic perspective in its approach. The consortium is focusing on all stages of the fruit's journey, from its beginnings as a seed to the moment a consumer bites into the succulent end product.


ISAFRUIT is a long-term project comprising 61 participants, including 40 institutes and 21 SMEs. The fruit species used as research models include apples, peaches and nectarines, with some studies on other species, such as apricots and red berries. The idea of the project is to increase fruit consumption through consumer satisfaction. Awareness of the health benefits of fruit may be one of the driving forces behind consumer choice and comprises part of the study, as well as research into the link between human health and fruit.

Investigations into quality and the benefits of fresh and processed fruit are bound to stimulate consumer interest through a higher safety, health and sustainability profile. The developments of a wider range of healthy products, such as low-allergy fruits and fruit products, are opening up a new market for European fruit. The use of by-products from the fruit juice industry is also helping to make the European industry more competitive.

Sustainable chain management and production methods, including organic production, are being addressed by a number of activities dealing with the post-harvest and pre-harvest quality of the fruit. As a result, it is hoped and expected that this will create greater availability of a wider range of sustainable fruit and fruit products.


Although international recommendations propose a minimum intake of 600g of fruit and vegetables per person per day, survey data and availability statistics from the United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2004) suggest that most populations are not meeting this goal. In Europe, only a few Mediterranean countries, where availability is high, are currently meeting this recommendation on a population level. Despite a relatively high mean consumption of 500g per day in such countries, the proportion of consumers eating less than 600g per day is still comparatively great.

Fruit consumption also clearly varies within countries and between different social classes and age groups. For example, low-income households have the lowest fruit and vegetable intakes. The objectives this project has set for itself will help eradicate these disparities and improve the eating habits of the entire European population. Not only will this result in healthier and happier citizens, but also in a flourishing and more competitive fruit industry.

List of Partners

  • University of Aarhus (Denmark)
  • Agroscope Changins- Wädenswil (Switzerland)
  • Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research (Denmark)
  • Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (Spain)
  • Institut National Recherche Agronomique (France)
  • Università di Bologna (Italy)
  • The Norwegian Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research (Norway)
  • Wageningen UR-Applied Plant Research (The Netherlands)
  • Wageningen UR-Plant Research International (The Netherlands)
  • Wageningen URAgricultural Economics Research Institute (The Netherlands)
  • Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture (Poland)
  • University of Warwick (UK)
  • University of Gembloux (Belgium)
  • Research Institute of Organic Farming (Switzerland)
  • Danish Cancer Society (Denmark)
  • Bundesanstalt für Züchtungsforschung an Kulturpflanzen (Germany)
  • Kompetenzzentrum Obstbau-Bodensee Bavendorf (Germany)
  • Obstbau Versuchring Jork (Germany)
  • Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (Denmark)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Universitad de Lleida (Spain)
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain)
  • University of Oslo (Norway)
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, SE Aula Dei (Spain)
  • Centre Technique Interprofessionnel Fruits et Légumes (France)
  • Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture biologique, Avignon (France)
  • Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
  • Istituto Sperimentale di Frutticoltura, Forli (Italy)
  • Land- und Forstw. Versuchszentrum Laimburg, Auer (Italy)
  • DEIAFA Turin (Italy)
  • University of Padova (Italy)
  • Teagasc, The National Food Center (Ireland)
  • University Medical Centre Groningen (The Netherlands)
  • Technical University of Lodz (Poland)
  • Warschau Agricultural University (Poland)
  • CEMAGREF (France)
  • Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, KIS (Slovenia)
  • East Malling Research. Sta. HRI (UK)
  • Hort Research (New Zealand)
  • University of California, Pomology Department, Davis (USA)
  • Andermatt Biocontrol (Switzerland)
  • Hauert HBG Dünger (Switzerland)
  • Schweizerischer Obstverband (Switzerland)
  • NOVADI, Tree Nursery Consortium (France)
  • Val-de-Vier (France)
  • CIV Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti (Italy)
  • Intrachem Bio Italia (Italy)
  • ISOLCELL (Italy)
  • SACMI (Italy)
  • Fecoam (Spain)
  • Alpex (Poland)
  • Celiko (Poland)
  • Nature's Best (UK Ireland)
  • CSO Ferrara (Italy)
  • Sistemi Elettronici Industriali (Italy)
  • Inova Fruit (The Netherlands)
  • Friesland Foods (The Netherlands)
  • Association Groupe ESA (France)
  • AGROCOM Polska (Poland)
  • Sodexho Nederland (The Netherlands)
Full title:
Increasing fruit consumption through a transdisciplinary approach delivering high quality produce from environmentally friendly, sustainable production methods
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Ole Callesen, University of Aarhus,
EC Scientific Officer:
Massimo Burioni,
EU contribution:
€ 13.8M
Integrated Project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top