The trade of Strawberries
The export of strawberries on the international fruit and vegetable market is increasing (data from 2011): in fact, the total value of exported strawberries is just over 43 million euros, with an increase of 13%. About 80% of the production of strawberries is directed to Eu countries, with particular reference to Germany (over 50%) and Austria (more than 14%).
As regard the Italian import of strawberries, the presence of foreign products is steadily increasing. Strawberries consumed in Italy, are mainly from Spain, 63%, and from France, 28%,. Imports of strawberries from extra EU areas and from countries of North Africa, are being recorded, even though they are not yet significant, even representing booming countries with relevant prospectives.
The main destination of strawberries from Spain, world's second larger producer of strawberries and EU first exporter of strawberries, with 228,584 tons of strawberries exported in 2011, are the European countries, in particular France and Germany, which absorb 63% of the total volume exported. Exportations in 2009 increased significantly compared to the preceding year.
In value terms, exports in 2011 totalled 437 million euros, 11% more than 2010. The French exports during the same period, instead, totalled 15,155 tons, while the Italian exports were of 14,857 tons. A more and more increasing portion of the Spanish production of strawberries is represented by indigenous varieties developed by the same Spanish producers from the Huelva region, who have begun to replace the varieties from the United States.
In France, instead, a strong growth of soiless cultivation of strawberries, has been recorded, representing 40% of the production resulting from producers organizations (OP).
More generally, there has been an increase in the production in other European countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, and in non-EU countries, such as Marocco and Egypt.
Also with regard to the consumption of strawberries an increase of 14% since 2000 has been recorded. From 2000 to 2004, consumption increased from 61,000 tons to 73,000 tons with an increase of 21% and in 2005 there has been a contraction, plotting the values around 67,000 tons.
In many countries, the quality of the production of strawberries was considered as a secondary element at the expense of other characteristics, such as production capacity and appearance: however, changing need and necessities, especially related to consumer tastes and to the fruit and vegetable market the quality of strawberries now represents an element of great importance, more and more central in genetic improvement programs. Sweetness, acidity and flavour are, indeed, the major components of the taste of the fruit and their balance influences the appreciation of the consumer.