The rice crop is grown in around 27 countries of the European region in about 450,000 ha of land. The region produces around 70% of the total rice consumed and the average annual production stands at 3.1 million tons. Per capita, annual consumption is read at 3.5-5 kg in non-rice growing countries and 6-18 kg in Southern Europe. Italy and Spain are the major rice-growing countries, accounting for 80% of the total EU production. Other rice-growing areas are Greece, Portugal, France, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The region depends on imports for specialty long grain Indica rice such as basmati and jasmine from India and Pakistan. Europe imported around 0.66 million tons in 2015-16 from Cambodia (24%), India (23%), Thailand (18%), Guyana (11%), and Pakistan (10%). France, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom are the major rice trading countries in the region.
Key Market Trends
Strong Demand In North-western Europe
The majority of European imports of rice accounts for north-western Europe, with the United Kingdom, France, and Germany as the largest importers. France and the Netherlands are the largest importers of rice from developing countries. The Netherlands has a strong marine transportation system that forms an important entry point for rice into Europe from various developing countries. Important rice varieties imported by Europe are long-grain Indica rice and aromatic varieties (basmati, jasmine, etc.). The United Kingdom is the leading importer of basmati rice, which is largely sourced from India. India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Cambodia are some of the major exporters of rice in Europe.
Italy- The Largest Rice Consuming Country
The consumption of rice in Italy was valued at USD 937,893.7 thousand in 2018, witnessing a CAGR of 4.8%, during the forecast period. Risotto is one of the most representative and widely eaten Italian dishes, and its demand has been rising rapidly among Italian consumers. Italian consumers perceive rice and grains to be healthier than pasta. Owing to growing health consciousness among the Italian consumers, they are cutting back and limiting the amount of pasta in their diet, while shifting toward the consumption of healthier grains, including rice. Owing to the changing consumer preferences and changing lifestyles, local companies in the country are consistently involved in innovation that constantly adapts to the needs of the modern consumer. For instance, the Italian company, Riso Bello added new ready-to-eat risottos in its product range, to satisfy the market demand for high-quality, easy-to-cook products.
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