With the value of fruit and vegetables increasing by 300 percent from the field to the table, Europeans are paying careful attention that the exceptionally bad weather this winter doesn’t become an excuse for speculation in a moment that is economically difficult for both businesses and consumers.
Coldiretti, an Italian agricultural association maintains that high price increases of fruits and vegetables are not justifiable due to lower temperatures – especially products that were harvested some time ago such as applies, pears, kiwi fruit and oranges. The organization has noted price rises of between five and ten percent recently in Milan and Rome, despite the fact that problems to allow the restocking of markets in big cities have been overcome.
Coldiretti has produced a guide for purchasing fruit and vegetables which advises the verification of the national origin of the produce in order to be sure of the seasonality; to choose local produce which has not been subject to long transportation and guarantees increased freshness; and to favor buying directly from farmers, and from markets and specialized selling points within larger distribution systems.
However, the obligatory signs that identify not only the price, but also the origin, variety and level of quality of products are disappearing from fruit and vegetables retail outlets across Italy, thus reducing consumers ability to make comparisons.
Coldiretti argues that the situation must be more tightly controlled as without these labels, consumers cannot identify the origin of a product and their ability to make an aware choice and to understand which products are in season locally is significantly reduced.