Producers Address Fruit and Vegetable Issues in Brussels
PROFEL, the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors, and Freshfel Europe, the European Fresh Produce Association, joined forces in Brussels at a conference held on June 20. Central to the summit was the need for strengthened cooperation between policy makers and the fruit and vegetable industry, which together hold the answers to Europe’s challenge of efficiently providing consumers with sustainably produced, healthy foods.
Recent decades have seen the consumption of fruit and vegetables decrease across the continent, while at the same time diet-related health concerns such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease have risen. Despite the growing recognition that fruit- and vegetable-rich diets can play a major role in positively addressing these problems, there appears to be little joined-up discussion between government departments focusing on the issues, and even less cooperation between policy makers and the processed fruit and vegetable industry.
Recognizing the need for initiating novel ways to introduce fruit and vegetables into everyday diet regimens, the processed fruit and vegetable sector – representing producers of frozen, canned and dehydrated vegetables and jams, fruit preserves, compotes, canned and frozen fruit – is both ready and well equipped to cover consumer needs. However, the sector will rely heavily on policymakers to facilitate and support its activities.
The numerous benefits of regular consumption of fruits and vegetables were highlighted throughout the PROFEL-Freshfel Europe conference, with several speakers emphasizing the marketing potential of such products and the opportunities for the industry to capitalize on trends such as veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism.
The event concluded with a mutual declaration and industry commitment to reinforce the role of fruit and vegetables and to promote the key messages of the sector: health, nutrition and sustainability, and the need for increased cooperation with policy makers.