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Tom Joyce



Price drop can’t halt decline

In France, falling prices of fruit and vegetables this summer have failed to arrest the continuing slide in consumption

Price drop can’t halt decline

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This summer, a kilogram of conventional fruit cost an average of €3.76 on the French market, according to a study from consumer association Familles Rurales, while a kilo of vegetables cost €2.14.

These prices represent a drop of around 8 per cent. However, according to a study from Credoc, the French Research Centre for the Study and Monitoring of Living Standards, the proportion of adults consuming the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day has actually fallen.

A number of products drifted far from this average price, including strawberries, which fetched their highest prices for 10 years, and apricots and melons, which saw prices fall by 26 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, tomato prices rose by 8 per cent, as courgette prices fell by 20 per cent.

Familles Rurales also noted that for the first time in 10 years, the gap between conventional and organic products failed to increase, with organics remaining nearly twice as expensive as their conventional counterparts.

“The amount of money a family spends on fruit and vegetables, and food in general, is considerable, especially in relation to the minimum wage,” said Dominique Marmier, president of Familles Rurales. “However, these health recommendations can be met on a reduced budget by choosing the least expensive fruit and vegetables, which are often the seasonal ones.”

Nevertheless, Credoc’s research revealed that consumption had been steadily falling among French consumers for the last few years.

“Between 2007 and 2010, we noted that the proportion of adults meeting their recommended intake increased from 27 per cent to 31 per cent,” said Aurée Francou, responsible for the study. “Since then, however, this percentage has fallen back to 25 per cent.”

The study found that the lowest consumption was from younger consumers, who spend the least amount of time preparing food and seek practicality in their food purchases.

Bruno Dupont, president of interprofessional organisation Interfel, believes that early action is required to address such trends.
"We see that younger generations are turning away from fresh fruits and vegetables," he said. “That is why it is necessary to raise awareness in school. It is disappointing because we have partnered with US public schools, including in Chicago and New York, to intervene in the fight against obesity. But we do not have the right to do so in France."

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