What Food Is In Season? This New European Map Shows You
The non-profit, EUFIC, have launched an interactive seasonal fruits and vegetables map to help you make healthier and more sustainable food choices. Here's why.
Thu 25 Mar 2021
We all know that eating a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential for our health.
And that plant-based diets are much better for the environment than meat or dairy.
The problem is not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. It all comes down to seasonality.
Why local food is good for you
Local produce is fresher and more nutritious because fewer vitamins and minerals have been lost by the time it gets to the supermarket or farmer’s market (most produce loses 30% of nutrients three days after harvest).
Local food is also better for the planet as it has much lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) linked to the supply chain. In other words, it has a shorter distance to travel.
Even then, seasonality plays a vital role in the quality and sustainability of the produce.
Even if it’s locally sourced, eating produce that was grown in energy-heavy greenhouses over the winter still has higher GHG than fruits and vegetables grown outside in their natural season.
What food is in season?
It can be tricky to get to grips with knowing exactly food is in season and what’s not, without spending a lot of time reading labels every time you do a food shop.
The map combines data from established national sources and features over
- 200 seasonal fruit and vegetables
- 24 countries
- 6 European climate regions.
You can simply filter by country, season and month to identify local seasonal food options around Europe, and most importantly, near you.
A recent survey carried out by the European Consumers Organization (BEUC) discovered that two-thirds of consumers are open to changing how they eat for the sake of the environment.
According to the consumer-orientated non-profit, the aim of the map is to give users the tools to make better, healthier and more sustainable food choices.
Many are eager to waste less food, eat more plant-based diets and buy more seasonal fruits and vegetables.
The big issue holding them back (until now) was the lack of information helping them make that leap.
Now, with the interactive map, consumers are invited to reconnect with local and seasonal produce, try fruits and vegetables they might not have had before and get creative in the kitchen with sustainable, plant-based recipes.
Laura Fernández Celemín, EUFIC’s Director General explains: "In Europe, we are used to having a very large selection of foods at our disposal all along the year, often detaching us from the origins of the produce.
We are proud to launch this innovative map, helping people have a diversified, balanced, healthy and sustainable diet."
EUFIC’s interactive map ties into the wider international commitment set out by the United Nations to improve the quality of sustainable food production.
Known as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021, the movement raises awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetable for health, nutrition and food security and tackles the problem of food loss and waste across the globe.
Find out more about the interactive fruits and vegetables seasonality map here.