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27th National Peach Convention in Italy

Italy struggling, Spain becoming a fierce competitor in Europe

Italy is struggling and Spain is becoming a fierce competitor in Europe - this is what emerged from the first three presentations of the 27th National Peach Convention held in Ravenna, Italy.

The presentation of Hans Christopher Behr from Bonn's AMI.

Elisa Macchi, CSO director, Giancarlo Minguzzi, chairman of Fruitimprese Emilia Romagna and Hans Christoph Behr from AMI made speeches.

A general increase in the production of all the main European producers is expected - France +13%, Spain +12% and a true record for Greece, which might even reach +55%. Italy will only manage +1%. 

European 2014 expectations for peach and nectarine production (CSO processing of Europech data). Click here to enlarge.

Expectations for 2014 are the opposite of the general situation of the last few years, are European production is actually decreasing: between 2000 and 2013, Italy went from producing 1.6 million tons to 1.5; France went from 450,000 tons to 300,000 and the same goes for Greece. The only exception is Spain, which seems to have doubled its production.

The production trend of the main European producers in the last few years (CSO processing of Europech data). Click here to enlarge.

As regards consumption, Italy consumes the most, although Italians tend to choose peaches, whereas the rest of Europe prefers nectarines.

Peach and nectarine consumption is some European countries.(source: GfK, Kantar Worldpanel, AMI. Data refers to 2013, except for UK and the Netherlands, as data refers to 2012)

The main exporters

Production is dropping, and cultivated areas in the North and Centre are decreasing. 

Italy is the main peach and nectarine producer at a European level - 40% of the supply in Europe is grown in Italy. The production is of over €600 million. Together with the rest of the summer fruit, it provides jobs for 100,000 people, without even considering satellite activities. 

According to the data presented by Minguzzi, in the first semester of 2014 Italy exported 24% more peaches and nectarines than the same period in 2013.

Peach and nectarine production in Italy (source Istat 2013).

From a qualitative point of view, there was a considerable varietal renovation in favour of the sweeter varieties. 90% of the fruit produced is yellow.

The peach varieties cultivated by CSO partners (CSO data). Click here to enlarge.

The nectarine varieties cultivated by CSO partners (CSO data). Click here to enlarge.

When talking about the varieties cultivated, we must talk about supply coordination. 470 varieties are cultivated in Italy. "Varietal improvement is essential - we must make our supply more uniform with high-quality produce and, at the same time, we must make the different varieties more recognisable," explained Elisa Macchi. To do this, almost 500 varieties might indeed be too many. 

The other issue is the fragmentation of the sector: the CSO represents only 16% of the cultivated areas in Italy, less than half what it does for kiwis (36%) and pears (35%).

Spain boomed in the past few years, especially the Navarra and Catalonia regions, which went from growing 40% to 70% of the country's total peach and nectarine production. 

In addition, exports increased, +17% in 2013 (+21% if we only consider the EU). In particular, there was an increase in shipments towards France and Germany (+22% and +31% respectively).

Peach and nectarine Spanish exports in 2013 with respect to 2012 (source: Eurostat).

In Spain, people prefer buying peaches and nectarines from local shops (38%), followed by supermarkets (29%) and markets (17%).

Peach and nectarine purchases in Spain (source Kantar Wordpanel/Magrama, AMI. Year 2013).

Greece is a big exporter especially towards Eastern Europe, though quantities dropped in 2013 and the Russian ban is not helping.

"Russia is our main market and offers good prices, so we had to look elsewhere, such as for example the Arab countries, in order to find markets for our produce," explained Koukouryannis, a consultant for Greek POs.

Peach and nectarine Greek exports in 2013 with respect to 2012 (source Eurostat).

The main importers

Spain and Italy are the two countries competing for the German market. Together, the two countries supply 93% of the foreign peaches and nectarines that can be found in Germany, followed by France (3%), Netherlands (2%), Greece (1%) and other countries (1%).

German peach and nectarine import trend (source: Eurostat).

Quantities of peaches and nectarines bough in Germany and average purchase price (source Kantar Worldpanel, AMI).

Germans tend to buy the fruit from discounts, followed by supermarkets and hypermarkets.

Where Germans buy their peaches and nectarines (source Kantar Wordpanel/Magrama, AMI. Year 2013).

The country is actually one of the main European producers of peaches and nectarines, but the production is mostly sold on the domestic market. In order to meet domestic demand, a lot of fruit must also be imported from Spain.

In 2013, imports increased by 15% and imports from Italy also increased slightly.

French peach and nectarine imports in 2013 with respect to 2012 (source Eurostat).

France is quite interesting as prices are rather high - they have been above €2 for years and lately they have even reached €2.70/kg.

Quantities of peaches and nectarines bought in France and average purchase price (source Kantar Worldpanel, AMI).

32% of the peaches and nectarines bought by the French come from hypermarkets, followed by supermarkets (18%) and discount stores (13%).

Where the French buy their peaches and nectarines (source Kantar Wordpanel/Magrama, AMI. Year 2013).

United Kingdom
Exports towards the UK are increasing- 67% of imported peaches and nectarines comes from Spain, followed by Italy (12%), South Africa (7%), France (5%), Chile (2%) and other countries (7%).

Import trend in the UK (source Eurostat).

Another big importer and another main market for Spain. 60% of the imported fruit is Spanish, followed by Italy (16%), Germany (12%), Greece (4%), Netherlands (2%) and other (6%).

Italy is the main exporter here. 55% of imported peaches and nectarines are in fact Italian. 

Here are the links to the three presentations:
  • Elisa Macchi, CSO director: "Evolution of the peach and nectarine production in Europe" (download)
  • Giancarlo Minguzzi, chairman FruiImprese Emilia Romagna: "European commercial flows: future perspectives and problems" (download)
  • Hans-Christoph Behr, AMI (Germany): "Peach and nectarine consumption in Europe" (download)
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