Processors Face Shortage of Fruit Raw Material in Europe

The European fruit processing sector is expressing serious concern over shortages in this year’s fruit crop caused by extreme weather conditions over the past months, including high temperatures and frosts in several countries during the blooming period of months April and May.

The production of a number of crops is affected in France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Austria and Eastern European countries, with losses estimated at between 60% and 70% for sour cherries, 30% for strawberries (especially in Eastern Europe), 20% for raspberries, at least 65% for plums, over 70% for blueberries (85% in Poland; 75% in Ukraine), 50% for red currants and 55% for black currants.

The rhubarb harvest was also much lower than last year (estimated +/-50%, even worse for red rhubarb). Major shortages are also expected for apples, but reliable estimates will not be available for a number of weeks.

“The European fruit processing sector is under massive pressure. While it is too early to estimate the final impact on European supply – especially in Eastern Europe – and on crops like sour cherries, raspberries or red currants, it is clear that the situation is creating a supply side that is under pressure,” stated the Brussels-based European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processing Industries (PROFEL) in a press release issued on July 27.