Italians’ consumption of fruits, veggies at lowest since beginning of century

The amount of fruits and vegetables being consumed by Italians in the first half of 2022 reached the lowest level since the beginning of the century, the country’s main agriculture union said.

This has put some 300,000 small farmers at risk, leading to long-term health consequences for consumers, reports Xinhua news agency.

Sales of 2.6 billion kilos of fruit and vegetables in the first half of 2022 marked an 11-per cent decrease compared to the same period a year ago, said agriculture union Coldiretti in a study it carried out with two other trade associations.

According to the study, purchases were down across the board, with sales of zucchini down by 16 per cent, tomatoes by 12 per cent, potatoes by 9 per cent, oranges by 8 per cent, and carrots by 7 per cent.

Sales were affected not only by higher prices sparked by rising fuel costs, but also by a drop in production caused by an unusually hot and dry summer, and a reduction in household incomes due to economic factors.

The livelihoods of more than 300,000 small farms are now at risk from the impact of higher energy costs and lower sales, the study said.

The fruit and vegetable sector creates around 440,000 jobs in Italy, representing 40 per cent of agricultural employment in the country.

Even before the recent decrease in sales of fruit and vegetables, Italians were already eating less than the daily amount recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report says that the average Italian consumes 273 grams per day, while the WHO recommends 400 grams daily.

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