Italian fruit and vegetable industry eyes opportunity in German market

In Germany, market demand is structurally met through imports: securing an edge over competitors will hinge crucially on innovation share in the near future

Germany increasingly emerges as a strategic hub for Italy’s fruit and vegetable exports. Each day, 71% of Germans contemplate adding fruits or vegetables to their traditional meals or snack options, as per data from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL, 2023).

Nomisma research firm underscores that Germany’s climatic constraints inherently limit local produce, compelling a structural reliance on imports to meet market demand. Consequently, the German market remains an indispensable target for Italian operators, boasting substantial shares of domestically sourced fruits and vegetables.

However, the trajectory in the early months of 2024 paints a different picture. Retail prices for fruits and vegetables in Germany have sustained a notable surge, stymying consumer purchases and stalling overall demand. This trend is unmistakably reflected in the wholesale market, particularly affecting staple Italian varieties such as Golden Delicious apples, Abate Fetel pears, and green-fleshed kiwis.

Fabio Lunati, Project Manager at Nomisma, elucidates on the evolving landscape: “In Germany’s mature and fiercely competitive market, import pricing dynamics are shifting. The emphasis now lies less on promotional strategies and more on innovation—specifically, the ability to offer fruits and vegetables tailored to evolving consumer preferences.”

Looking forward, Lunati stresses the imperative of varietal rejuvenation in enhancing the appeal of Italy’s fruit and vegetable repertoire among German consumers. While strides have been made in strawberries and small fruit categories, a concerted effort across various produce segments is essential to sustain Italy’s market foothold.

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