Consumption of fresh fruit across the European Union has plummeted by almost 10% in the past five years, industry data shows.

Per capita fresh fruit consumption in 2010 within the EU’s 27 member states was down 7.8% from 2009 levels and down 9.4% on five years ago, according to Freshfel, the European Fresh Produce Association.

Fresh vegetable consumption saw a similar fall, of 7.4% on 2009 figures and by 10.3% compared to the past five years’ data.

Although the data for 2011 was not yet available, the 2010 trend was likely to continue because of the impact of the economic crisis and the consequences of the last year’s E. coli outbreak, Freshfel said.

“Urgent actions at all levels are needed to stop the downward trend and bring consumption levels back to satisfactory levels,” the body warned.