The fruit and vegetable sector in the EU - a statistical overview

Data extracted in July and August 2016

Planned article update: September 2019

Author: Antonella De Cicco


In 2015, 1.9 % of all EU arable land (2.2 million hectares) was used to produce vegetables.

In 2015, 1.8 % of all utilised agricultural land in the EU (3.2 million hectares) was dedicated to growing fruit.

Agricultural price index, evolution, 2010-2015
Source: Eurostat (apri_pi10_outa)

This article describes the fruit and fresh vegetable[1] sector in the European Union. A range of agricultural data from a number of Eurostat agricultural statistics (farm structure survey, annual crop production statistics, agricultural prices, agricultural economics accounts) are used, in addition to trade statistics, to industrial production statistics and to data on daily consumption of fruit and vegetables to depict the various stages in the process of bringing fruit and vegetables from the field to the market.

Full article

Fresh vegetables: holdings, areas and production

Almost 1 million holdings cultivated fresh vegetables

The EU fruit and fresh vegetable sector is polarised between a few Member States responsible for the largest proportions of production, trading and processing, and several others that account individually for almost negligible volumes. Two thirds of the EU-28 population consume at least one portion of fruit and vegetables a day.

According to the most recent (2013) farm structure survey, almost 920 000 holdings grew fresh vegetables, which was 12.4 % of all European farms with an arable area. Nearly half (49.4 %) of those holdings were in just three countries: Romania (22.1 %), Poland (15.4 %) and Spain (11.9 %). By contrast, 15 countries accounted for shares of less than 1 % each (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Fresh vegetable holdings by EU Member States, 2013
Source: Eurostat (ef_alvege)

The average area in the EU devoted to fresh vegetables per holding was 1.7 ha: the largest area was observed in the United Kingdom

Two Member States devoted areas to growing fresh vegetables which were much higher than the average: the United Kingdom (17.4 ha) and the Netherlands (10.3 ha). In 13 Member States, the average area devoted to fresh vegetables was below the EU average. These included Romania and Bulgaria (both 0.3 ha) and Lithuania (0.1 ha). This meant that, on the one hand, 14.0 % of the EU fresh vegetable area was on farms growing fresh crops on less than 1 ha. Such farms accounted for 79.5 % of all holdings cultivating vegetables. On the other hand, 20.5 % of holdings with at least 1 ha dedicated to fresh vegetables accounted for 86.0 % of the EU’s total area devoted to growing vegetables (Figure 2).

Figure 2: EU-28 fresh vegetables, % distribution of area and holdings, by class of area size, 2013
Source: Eurostat (ef_alvege)

7.2 % of all European fresh vegetables were grown on land given over to cultivation under glass or other high accessible cover. However, the figure was much higher in Spain (17.2 %) and Italy (13.3 %).

Fresh vegetables were grown on almost 2.2 million hectares in the EU, nearly half of which were in Italy, Spain and Poland

In 2015, almost 2.2 million hectares of land in the EU was used to produce vegetables for fresh consumption and for processing. This amounts to 1.9 % of all EU arable land (Table 1, Figure 3). Melon and strawberry production is also included in the figure[2]. Melons, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, courgettes, cucumbers and gherkins covered more than a quarter (27.6 %) of this area. Root, tuber & bulb vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, onions, shallots and garlic came second (18.8 %), followed closely (17.8 %) by the diverse group of leafy and stalked vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, chicory, endives, asparagus, artichokes, etc.). Fresh pulses (mainly peas and beans) were produced on 13.0 % of the vegetable area, brassicas (cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli) on 12.4 % and strawberries on 4.9 %.

Table 1: EU-28, fresh vegetables and fruit areas, 2015
(1 000 ha)
Source: Eurostat (apro_acs_a)

Figure 3: Fresh vegetables area by EU Member States, 2015
Source: Eurostat (apro_acs_a)

Almost half (47.2 %) of the vegetable area was located in just three Member States. These were Italy (19.5 %), Spain (16.6 %) and Poland (11.1 %). This first group was followed by a second group made up of France (10.9 %) and Romania (7.1 %).

Among individual vegetable crops, tomatoes occupied the largest area, accounting for 11.7 % of the total vegetable area (Table 2). The areas used to grow tomatoes were predominately in Italy (41.9 %) and Spain (22.8 %), followed at a distance by Romania (9.5 %), Portugal (7.3 %) and Greece (6.7 %).

Table 2: EU-28 tomato and apple, areas and harvests, 2015
Source: Eurostat (apro_acs_a)

For production, the pattern was mostly the same: Italy and Spain were the leading countries, harvesting 36.3 % and 27.4 % of all EU tomatoes respectively. Portugal (8.0 %) and Greece (6.2 %) were third and fourth.

In Romania, tomato production accounted for just 2.6 %. By contrast, the Netherlands harvested 5.0 % of all European tomato production, even though the country cultivated a mere 0.7 % of the European area devoted to tomatoes.

Vegetable production takes up on average 2 % of arable land in EU, with Malta having the largest area of arable land dedicated to fresh vegetables

The amount of land devoted to growing fresh vegetables varied widely across the EU: in the EU as a whole, 1.9 % of all arable land was dedicated to fresh vegetables. In some Member States, the figure was well above the EU average, with the highest proportion in Malta (22.3 %), followed by the Netherlands (7.7 %), Italy (6.0 %) and Belgium (5.5 %). By contrast, in 11 countries the figure was less than 1 %.

Fresh vegetables were grown on 1 in 8 arable farms in the EU (12.4 %), with shares varying from 60.5 % in Lithuania and 36.0 % in Bulgaria to only 1 % in Ireland (Figure 4).

Figure 4: National diffusion of fresh vegetables holdings and area, 2013
Source: Eurostat (code=ef_alvege)

85 000 hectares of organic fresh vegetables: 53.4 % in Poland, France and Italy

Organic vegetable farming was practised on 2.5 % of EU holdings cultivating fresh vegetables and on 5.3 % of the area dedicated to these crops. 12.6 % of all certified organic farms grew organic fresh vegetables. However, the area devoted to organic fresh vegetables made up just 1.3 % of all certified organically managed hectares.

Over half (53.6 %) of the total area dedicated to organic fresh vegetable cultivation was located in just three Member States: Poland (19.8 %), France (17.3 %) and Italy (16.5 %). These three were followed by Germany (13.0 %) and Spain (10.0 %) (Table 3).

Table 3: Area and holdings producing organic fresh vegetables and organic fruit and berries, 2013
Source: Eurostat (ef_mporganic)

Fruit: holdings, areas and production

More than 1.5 million holdings in the EU managed fruit orchards

According to the 2013 farm structure survey, 1.55 million holdings managed fruit orchards. This figure represents 14.6 % of all European farms with ‘utilised agricultural area’. Nearly half (47.9 %) of those holdings were in just three countries: Romania (18.7 %), Spain (16.5 %) and Poland (12.7 %). By contrast, 15 countries accounted for less than 1 % each (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Fruit and berry holdings by EU Member States, 2013
Source: Eurostat (code=ef_pofruit)

The average fruit area per holding in the EU was 1.9 ha; in Slovakia it reached 12.6 ha

Holdings in the EU devoted an average of 1.9 ha to orchards, with two Member States devoting much larger areas, namely Slovakia (12.6 ha on average) and Belgium (11.6 ha). In 15 Member States, the area devoted to orchards was below the EU average, with the lowest shares in Lithuania and Croatia (both 0.3 ha).

More than 3.2 million hectares dedicated to growing fruit — two thirds in Spain, Italy and Poland

In 2015, orchards occupied a little more than 3.2 million hectares, 1.8 % of all utilised agricultural land in the EU (Table 1, Figure 6). Nuts accounted for almost a third (30.6 %) of the fruit area, pome fruits (mainly apples and pears) came second (23.0 %), followed by stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries) (18.3 %), while citrus trees were cultivated on 16.5 % of the total area of fruits. The diverse group of tropical & subtropical fruits (mainly kiwi, but also including figs and bananas) occupied 4.1 % of the fruit area, berries 4.0 % and table grapes 0.8 % of the area.

Figure 6: Fruits area by EU Member States, 2015
Source: Eurostat (apro_acs_a)

Two thirds (66.6 %) of the area devoted to fruit was located in just three Member States. Spain (38.8 %) was first in the ranking, followed by Italy (17.3 %) and Poland (10.4 %). These three were followed by Portugal (6.9 %) and Greece (6.3 %). Spain’s predominant position is because it grows the lion’s share of nuts and citrus fruits.

Almonds were the single species occupying the largest fruit area: 653 000 hectares (20.2 %). 83.9 % of almonds were grown in Spain (Spain is the world’s third largest almond producer after the USA and Australia).

Apples were the second most common single species with a share of 16.5 % and were grown in all Member States. One third (33.9 %) of all EU apple orchards were situated in Poland, where apples covered more than half (53 %) of the total fruit area. Poland was followed at a distance by Romania (10.2 %), Italy (9.7 %) and France (9.3 %) (Table 2).

However, for apple production, the ranking is somewhat different: Poland was still the leading producer, harvesting a quarter of all EU apple production, followed by Italy (19.2 %), France (15.5 %) and Germany (7.7 %). Romania contributed just 3.6 % of the European apple harvest.

Orchards occupied 1.7 % of the entire utilised agricultural area in the EU-28 and were present in 14.6 % of all farms

In the EU as a whole, 1.7 % of the entire ‘utilised agricultural area’ was dedicated to growing trees for fruit. However, the figure varied from just above 4 % in Malta, Spain and Italy (4.4 %, 4.3 % and 4.1 % respectively) to 5.6 % in Portugal and 8.4 % in Cyprus. By contrast, in 16 Member States the figure was less than 1 %.

Orchards were present on 1 in 7 farms with a ‘utilised agricultural area’ in the EU (14.6 %). The figures ranged from around 2 in 3 in Croatia (68.5 %) and Cyprus (63.2 %) to only 1 % in Sweden and 0.8 % in Ireland (Figure 7).

Figure 7: National diffusion of fruit holdings and area, 2013
Source: Eurostat (code=ef_pofruit)

Almost 300 000 hectares of organic orchards in the EU, half of which were in Poland, France and Italy

According to the 2013 farm structure survey, organic fruit farming was practised on 2.8 % of EU holdings managing orchards and 10.4 % of the area dedicated to fruit. 24.2 % of all organic farms harvested organic fruits. However, the area devoted to growing organic fruit made up just 4.3 % of all certified organically managed hectares.

Spain accounted for over one third (36.4 %) of the total European area covered by organic orchards, followed by Poland (18.8 %) and Italy (16.3 %); all the other Member States had much lower shares (Table 3).

Output values and prices

European fruit and fresh vegetables were worth together EUR 51.8 billion, Spain and Italy had the highest values

In 2014, the aggregate value of the EU’s output of fruit and fresh vegetables at basic prices (i.e. including subsidies but excluding taxes on products) was EUR 51.8 billion[3] (Table 4, Figure 8). This represented 12.4 % of the value of total EU agricultural output. However, the proportion varied significantly between Member States, ranging from 30.2 % in Greece to 1.3 % in Luxembourg.

Table 4: Fresh vegetables and Fruit - output value at basic price, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

Figure 8: Value of production of fresh vegetables and fruit at basic price by main producing Member States, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

In terms of value of crop output, fruit and vegetables accounted for 24.5 % at EU level, with output ranging from 71.8 % in Malta to 3.0 % in Luxembourg.

In value terms, more than half (52.0 %) of fruit and vegetable production came from just three countries: Spain (21.6 %), Italy (19.5 %) and France (10.9 %). Germany (7.7 %) and Poland (6.5 %) also had significant production values, while 16 Member States accounted for less than 1 % each.

However, at EU level, the total value of output for vegetables was 45 % higher than that for fruit: EUR 30.7 billion for vegetables vs EUR 21.1 billion for fruit.

The country ranking for vegetable production was as follows: Italy (19.3 %) topped the list, followed by Spain (18.0 %), Germany (10.1 %), France (9.2 %) and the Netherlands (7.7 %) (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Value of production of fresh vegetables at basic price by main producing Member States, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

For fruit production, the country ranking looked like this: Spain (26.9 %), Italy (19.9 %) and France (13.2 %). Greece (8.0 %) and Poland (5.1 %) were some distance behind the three leading countries (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Value of production of fruits at basic price by main producing Member States, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

Tomatoes and apples are the most valuable fresh products

In 2014, tomato production in the EU-28 was worth EUR 7 billion, accounting for 22.9 % of the value of European fresh vegetable production. (Table 5, Figure 11). The proportions varied greatly between Member States. In Poland and Bulgaria, tomatoes accounted for 44.0 % and 43.8 % of production respectively, while in Ireland and Germany, tomatoes accounted for 3.9 % and 2.7 % of production.

Table 5: Tomatoes and Apples - output value at basic price, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

Figure 11: Value of production of fresh tomatoes at basic price by main producing Member States, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

More than half (53.9 %) of the value of the EU-28’s tomato production came from just three Member States: Spain (23.3 %), far ahead of Italy (16.3 %) and Poland (14.3 %). The next countries in the ranking were: the Netherlands (10.1 %), France (8.2 %), Romania (7.5 %) and Greece (7.0 %). These seven Member States accounted for more than four fifths of the value of tomato production (86.7 %).

Apples[4] were valued at EUR 4 billion, accounting for almost one fifth (19.1 %) of the value of EU-28’s fruit production (Table 5 and Figure 12). Again, the figures varied widely from country to country. Slovakia and Luxembourg were at one end of the scale with 76.9 % and 71.4 % respectively. At the other end of the scale were Spain and Malta, with 3.0 % and 0.6 % respectively.

Figure 12: Value of production of fresh apples at basic price by main producing Member States, 2014
Source: Eurostat (aact_eaa01)

Four Member States accounted for three fifths of the value of apple production (62.5 %). These were: France (20.1 %), Italy (17.1 %), Poland (12.7 %) and Germany (12.6 %).

Price trend

From 2010 to 2015, trends were different for the deflated agricultural prices indices for fruit[5] and fresh vegetables, and for apples and tomatoes (Figure 13). Apples recorded values higher than those of the fruit group. By contrast, tomatoes registered values lower than those of the fresh vegetables aggregate.

Figure 13 Agricultural price index, evolution, 2010-2015
Source: Eurostat (apri_pi10_outa)

From 2011 onwards, the prices for tomatoes and fresh vegetables were lower than for 2010. Apples and fruit, on the other hand, had a more up and down trend, fluctuating around the 2010 level.


Fresh fruit and vegetables were traded mainly on the European market: Spain was the leading trader

In 2015, Member States exported fruit and fresh vegetables[6] both within the EU (i.e. to other Member States) and outside the EU. However, the EU internal trade flow was seven times bigger in terms of value: EUR 33.4 billion vs EUR 4.7 billion.

Intra EU trade in fruit and vegetables was quite dynamic in 2015. All groups of crops were involved, albeit with some variation. Fruit accounted for 61.5 % of the total value of internal trade while vegetables accounted for 38.5 %.

Breaking down the figures further, ‘other vegetables’[7] ranked first with a 13.5 % share, followed by the aggregate figure for citrus fruits (12.9 %).

Tomatoes were the single most traded crop, accounting alone for 9.8 % of the total intra-EU-trade. Strawberries and other berries ranked fourth at 9.2 % Excel.jpg (Tables 6 and 7 in Excel file enclosed).

Three countries accounted for more than two thirds of intra EU exports in value terms. These were: Spain (34.9 %), the Netherlands[8] (22.2 %) and Italy (10.7 %).

Spain was the leading country for exports of all products except tomatoes, carrots and apples. It dominated the citrus fruit market (68.9 %), melons and watermelons (55.1 %), apricots, cherries and peaches (53.5 %) as well as lettuce and chicory (53.3 %). The Netherlands led the internal trade for tomatoes (42.8 %) and Italy ranked first for exporting grapes (31.7 %) and apples (28.2 %) to Europe.

Nuts accounted for more than a quarter of all imported fruit and vegetable value

In 2015, the EU imported fruit and vegetables from third countries with a value of about EUR 19.1 billion. Fruit imports were much more significant than vegetables, accounting for 88.4 % of the total. Fresh and dried nuts were the most imported crops (26.2 %) in terms of value, followed by bananas (17.7 %), dates, figs, pineapples and avocados (together 11.5 %), grapes (9.9 %) and citrus fruits (9.1 %) Excel.jpg (Tables 8 and 9 in Excel file enclosed).

Figure 14: ExtraEU-28 Fresh vegetables Trade, 2015
(EUR 1 000)
Source: Eurostat DS-016890

Figure 15: ExtraEU-28 Fruit Trade, 2015
(EUR 1 000)
Source: Eurostat DS-016890

Fruit and vegetables were imported from a large number of countries, scattered around the globe. However, one quarter of the total imported value came from just two countries: the United States (15.0 %) and Turkey (10.7 %). The next group of countries was South Africa (8.4 %), Morocco (6.7 %) and Costa Rica (6.2 %). Almost half of the total value of imported fruit and fresh vegetables originated from these five countries.

There was a clear specialisation trend in the import countries: three quarters of the nuts were imported from the United States (53.2 %) and Turkey (21.3 %), two thirds of bananas originated from Central and South America (Colombia (26.0 %), Ecuador (24.5 %), Costa Rica (17.0 %)) and two fifths of dates, figs, pineapple and avocados came from Costa Rica (24.5 %) and Peru (16.3 %).

Almost one third of citrus fruits entered the EU market from South Africa (31.3 %); an additional third came from Argentina (11.2 %), Turkey (9.9 %) and Morocco (9.3 %).

Grapes were mostly imported from South Africa (26.0 %), Turkey (20.0 %) and Chile (15.4 %), while fresh strawberries and other berries were supplied by Chile (20.5 %), New Zealand (18.5 %) and Morocco (11.9 %).

Almost four fifths of apples and pears arrived from three countries: South Africa (29.6 %), Chile (27.7 %) and New Zealand (21.6 %), while half of the imported cherries, apricots, plums and peaches originated from Chile (20.5 %), New Zealand (18.7 %) and Morocco (11.9 %).

As for vegetables, Morocco was the EU's main external supplier of tomatoes (82.5 %), fresh pulses (45.7 %), lettuce (31.2 %) and the composite group of other vegetables (22.0 %).

Israel was the leading supplier of carrots (56.8 %) and Kenya of cabbages (43.6 %), while Turkey led the imports for cucumbers (27.3  %) and China for onions and garlic (24.6 %).

Switzerland was the largest export destination of the EU’s fruit and vegetables

EU exports of fruit and vegetables to non-Member States in 2015 were valued at EUR 4.8 billion. This means that the European trade balance for fruit and fresh vegetables was negative, with the value of imports four times greater than that for exports.

The most widely exported fruit and vegetables were apples (21.9 %), exported mainly to Belarus (16.4 %) and Egypt (13.3 %), followed by fresh strawberries and berries (12.3 %), ‘other vegetables’ (12.1 %) and citrus fruits (10.8 %).

In terms of the value of EU exports of fruit and fresh vegetables, Switzerland (20.6 %) topped the list, followed by Norway (12.1 %), Belarus (10.4 %) and the United States (6.2 %).

Fruit and vegetable exports were transported by road (55.0 %), by sea (38.4 %) or by air (6.6 %). Fruit (strawberries, melons and watermelons included) were delivered to extra-EU partners mainly by road (55.5 %) and by sea (43 %), while only 1.4 % in value was dispatched by air.

Vegetables were transported outside the EU mostly by road (53.9 %), while 28.5 % was transported by sea and 17.6 % by air.

Imported fruit and vegetables entered the EU by sea (73.4 % in value), road (18.9 %) and air (6.8 %).

Among Member States, the Netherlands[9] and Spain were the main exporters (22.7 % and 21.4 % respectively), followed by Italy (18.0 %). Nearly half of the Netherlands’ export value was made up of ‘other vegetables’ [10] (24.1 %) and onions and garlic (22.7 %). Meanwhile, a quarter of Spain’s export value was generated by citrus fruits (25.8 %), while for Italy, apples were the leading export fruit species (39.9 %).


Processed fruit and vegetables were worth EUR 47 billion, or 6.7 % of the overall value of the EU food industry’s output. Processing is concentrated in five countries

Besides being consumed directly and traded as raw commodities, fruits and vegetables are processed into a multitude of food products, which can be grouped into frozen and preserved fruits and vegetables (canned vegetables, jams, marmalades and dried fruits) (71.7 % ), juices (19.5 %), tomato ketchup (3.7 %), prepared meals (3.6 %) and drained fruits + homogenised vegetables and fruits (1.5 %) (Table 10).

Table 10: EU-28's sold production, exports and imports by groups of processed fruit and fresh vegetable products, 2015
Source: Eurostat DS-066341

The single most important product in terms of value of production was non-concentrated orange juice (excluding frozen) with a share of 4.4 %, followed by tomato ketchup (3.7 %) and apple juice (3.1 %).

Fruit and vegetable processing took place mainly in five Member States, which were responsible for over two thirds (67.4 %) of the total value of production. The leading Member States were Italy (18.9 %) and Spain (14.5 %), which alone produced over one third of the total value. They were followed by Germany (11.8 %), France (11.35 %) and the United Kingdom (11.0 %).

The EU was a net importer of processed fruit and vegetables: imports represented 18.5 % of the value of its own output, while the value of exports represented 7.1 % of the value of production.

However, some countries registered values for exports higher than those for imports: among the big five producers, Spain and Italy recorded a trade surplus, while for France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the trade balance was negative.


In the EU-28 two thirds of the population consumed at least one portion of fruit and vegetables daily

The most recent data from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) (Table 11) show that daily consumption of fruit and vegetables in 2014 was widespread across all Member States, albeit with different patterns. In the EU-28, on average a third (34.4 %) of the population aged 15 or over did not consume any fruit or vegetables in a day; half (51.4 %) the population ate daily from 1 to 4 portions of fruit and vegetables, while the residual 14.1 % consumed more than 5 portions a day.

Table11: EU-28 Daily consumption of fruit and vegetables, 2014
(population aged 15 or over living in private households)
Source: Eurostat (hlth_ehis_fv3e)

The smallest share of no daily consumption (16.1 %) was recorded in Belgium, along with the highest share (71.2 %) of from 1 to 4 portions consumed in a day. The opposite was found in Romania, where almost two thirds (65.1 %) of the population did not consume any fruit or vegetables daily.

In the United Kingdom, one third (33.1 %) of the population consumed more than 5 daily portions, in Denmark it was 25.9 % and in the Netherlands 25 %. On the opposite side, in Romania and Bulgaria, 3.5 % and 4.4 % of the population respectively, ate more than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables in a day.

Data sources

Statistics on crop production

Statistics on crop products are obtained by sample surveys, supplemented by administrative data and estimates based on expert observations. The sources vary from one EU Member State to another because of national conditions and statistical practices. National statistical institutes or Ministries of Agriculture are responsible for data collection in accordance with EC Regulations. The finalised data sent to Eurostat are as harmonised as possible. Eurostat is responsible for establishing EU aggregates. The statistics collected on agricultural products cover more than 100 individual crop products. Information is collected for the area under cultivation (expressed in 1 000 hectares), the quantity harvested (expressed in 1 000 tonnes) and the yield (expressed in 100 kg per hectare). For some products, data at a national level may be supplemented by regional statistics at NUTS level 1 or level 2.

Statistics on the structure of agricultural holdings (FSS)

A comprehensive Farm structure survey (FSS) is carried out by EU Member States every 10 years (the full scope being the agricultural census) and intermediate sample surveys are carried out three times between these basic surveys. The statistical unit is the agricultural holding; the EU Member States collect information from individual agricultural holdings, covering:

  • land use;
  • livestock numbers;
  • rural development (for example, activities other than agriculture);
  • management and farm labour input (including age, sex and relationship to the holder).

Survey data are aggregated to different geographic levels (countries, regions, and for basic surveys also districts) and arranged by size class, area status, legal status of holding, objective zone and farm type. In the FSS organic data has been collected since the 2000 Census.

Economic accounts for agriculture (EAA)

Data on EAA provide an insight into:

  • the economic viability of agriculture;
  • agriculture’s contribution to each EU Member State’s wealth;
  • the structure and composition of agricultural production and inputs;
  • the remuneration of factors of production;
  • relationships between prices and quantities of both inputs and outputs.

The output of agricultural activity includes output sold (including trade in agricultural goods and services between agricultural units), changes in stocks, output for own final use (own final consumption and own-account gross fixed capital formation), output produced for further processing by agricultural producers, as well as intra-unit consumption of livestock feed products. The output of the agricultural sector is made up of the sum of the output of agricultural products and of the goods and services produced in inseparable non-agricultural secondary activities; animal and crop output are the main product categories of agricultural output. Eurostat also collects annual agricultural prices (in principle net of VAT) to compare agricultural price levels between EU Member States and to study sales channels. Quarterly and annual price indices for agricultural products and the means of agricultural production, on the other hand, are used principally to analyse price developments and their effect on agricultural income. Selling prices are recorded at the first marketing stage (excluding transport). Agricultural price indices are obtained by a base-weighted Laspeyres calculation (2010 = 100), and are expressed in nominal terms or as deflated indices based on the use of an implicit consumer prices (HICP) deflator.

COMEXT database on EU trade

COMEXT is the Eurostat reference database for international trade. It provides access not only to both recent and historical data from the EU Member States but also to statistics of a significant number of third countries. International trade aggregated and detailed statistics disseminated from the Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process. Because COMEXT is updated on a daily basis, data published on the website may differ from data stored in COMEXT in case of recent revisions. EU data are compiled according to community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by Member States. Statistics on extra-EU trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the 28 Member States with countries outside the EU. In other words, the EU is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not within it. The importance of the EU’s internal market is underlined by the fact that the proportion of intra-EU trade in goods is higher than extra-EU trade in goods in most EU Member States with few exceptions. The variation in the proportion of total trade in goods accounted for by intra-EU trade reflects to some degree historical ties and geographical location.

PRODCOM, database on the production of manufactured goods

PRODCOM is the European Union (EU) survey providing statistics on the production of manufactured goods. The Prodcom survey covers the mining, quarrying and manufacturing sectors, in other words, NACE Rev. 2 Sections B and C. Prodcom statistics are based on a list of products called the Prodcom list which consists of more than 3 800 headings, and which is revised every year. In the list, products are detailed at an 8-digit level — only information at this detailed level can be found in the Prodcom database, as production data for different products cannot always be meaningfully aggregated. The purpose of Prodcom statistics is to report, for each product in the Prodcom list, how much production has been sold during the reference period. This means that Prodcom statistics relate to products (not to activities) and are therefore not strictly comparable with activity-based statistics such as structural business statistics. Sometimes the data for some products cannot be reported, for instance if an enterprise cannot report the volume in the required measurement unit. In these cases, either the national statistical office or Eurostat makes estimates so that complete EU totals can be published. In some cases the national statistical authority requests that the data for a particular product be kept confidential. This can happen, for instance, if there is only one producer in the country so that the published data refers directly to that producer. Eurostat is legally bound to respect such confidentiality, but may use the confidential amount in EU totals, as long as it is not revealed by doing so. If this is not possible, the EU total is rounded so that an approximate figure can be given without revealing the confidential data. The rounding base is also shown in order to indicate the range of possible true values of the total.

The European Health Interview Survey (EHIS)

The European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) aims at measuring on a harmonised basis and with a high degree of comparability among MS the health status (including disability), health determinants (including environment) and use and limitations in access to health care services of the EU citizens. The general coverage of the survey is the population aged 15 or over living in private households residing in the territory of the country. EHIS was developed between 2003 and 2006. It consists of four modules on health status, health determinants, health care, and background variables.

The first wave of EHIS (EHIS wave 1 or EHIS round 2008) was conducted between 2006 and 2009 in 17 EU Member States as well as Switzerland and Turkey. The second wave (EHIS wave 2 or EHIS round 2014) was conducted between 2013 and 2015 in all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. Some other countries conducted their national health interview surveys using the second wave of EHIS questionnaire such as Turkey or Serbia.

EHIS includes the following topics:

Health status This topic includes different dimensions of health status and health-related activity limitations.

Health care This topic covers the use of different types of medicines and formal and informal health and social care services, which are complemented by data on health-related expenditure, and limitations in access to and satisfaction with health care services

Health determinants This topic includes various individual and environmental health determinants, including the Consumption of fruits, vegetables and juice.

All indicators are expressed as percentages within the population and statistics are broken down by age and sex and one other dimension such as educational attainment level, income quintile group or labour status.


This article describes the fruit and vegetable sector in the European Union. The overall aim is to offer the readers a statistical overview on a single commodity, vertically linking all the steps from the field to market. The food chain approach is indeed one of the key issues within the EU Commission as for its socio-economic importance and for the extensive legislative EU framework, which is one of the most EU-level harmonised (e.g. General Food law Regulation (EC) No 178/2002). In addition, it is of great relevance also within international organisations such as, among others, OECD - see the OECD Meeting of Agricultural Ministers held in Paris on 7-8 April 2016 and FAO.

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  1. In this article as well as in all Eurostat agricultural statistics, the distinction between fruit and vegetables is based on an agronomical and farm management point of view. Thus, the term "fresh vegetables" refers to the horticultural crops: i.e. the species that are annual (or rarely biennial) and subsequently occupy the arable land for usually less than one production season. Conversely, the term "fruit" stands for the group composed of those crops that are perennial: i.e. the crops that are permanent in the field for more than two years and which are usually bushes or trees. This implies that the fresh vegetables group includes: brassica (cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbages), leafy and stalked vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, chicory, endives, asparagus, artichoke), root and bulb species (carrots, radish, onion, shallots and garlic), fresh pulses (peas, beans) and all the herbaceous crops cultivated for their fruits (such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, courgettes, cucumbers and gherkins). Following the above mentioned distinction, melons, water melons and strawberries are also included in the main aggregate of fresh vegetables. Melons, water melons and strawberries represent 3.5 %, 3.4 % and 4.9 % respectively of the overall fresh vegetables area. The fruit group includes: pome fruits (apples and pears), stone fruits (such as peaches, apricots, plums, cherries), citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit), nuts fruits (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios), table grapes, subtropical and tropical fruits (kiwi, figs, bananas, etc.). Berries (such as blueberries, redcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, etc.) are also included under fruit, with the exclusion of strawberries, as aforementioned.
  2. See footnote 1
  3. At EU level, the impact of subsidies on fresh vegetables and fruit production values at basic price was respectively equal to 0.09 % and to 0.42 %.
  4. Dessert apples, i.e. apples for fresh consumption. Thus, apples for processing are not included.
  5. Citrus fruits excluded.
  6. The HS nomenclature in use for trade statistics groups strawberries among berries and melon & water melon together with papayas. Both aggregates are then nested in the higher level aggregate "Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melon".
  7. Other vegetables, fresh or chilled (excl. potatoes, tomatoes, alliaceous vegetables (onions and garlic), edible brassicas, lettuce "Lactuca sativa" and chicory "Cichorium spp.", carrots, turnips, salad beetroot, salsify, celeriac, radishes and similar edible roots, cucumbers and gherkins, and leguminous vegetables). This means that, among others, the following crops are included: asparagus, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, spinach, etc.
  8. The relatively high share for the Netherlands might, at least in part, be explained by the considerable amount of goods that flow into and out of the EU through Rotterdam, which is the EU’s leading sea port (the so –called Rotterdam-effect, see also International trade statistics - background). The same applies to Belgium, due to Antwerpen sea port.
  9. Please refer to the previous note n. 7 for the Rotterdam effect.
  10. Please refer to note n. 6