Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

EU projects

CuteSolar : perception of the consumers on F&V

Half of European consumers appreciate the low environmental impact of solar greenhouses.

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According to the 2nd European Observatory on the Perception of Fruits and Vegetables carried out in the framework of the Cute Solar Programme, "Growing the Taste of Europe in Solar Greenhouses", half of European consumers value the low environmental impact of solar greenhouses.


A major European study on consumer perceptions of fruit and vegetables, carried out among a representative sample of 4,500 people in Belgium, Germany and Spain as part of the Cute Solar programme "Growing the Taste of Europe in Solar Greenhouses" came out with the following date :

  • More than 3 out of 4 Belgians prefer fruit and vegetables grown in Europe 
  • Food safety, taste and quality are the 3 main purchasing criteria.
  • 68% of Belgians eat at least one portion of fruit or vegetables every day, which is better than most Europeans (Spaniards 63% and Germans 41%).
  • When buying fruit and vegetables, consumers prioritise quality, taste and food safety over other factors such as variety and price. 71% consider the quality of fruit and vegetables grown in Europe to be high. This is the result of a major European survey, conducted as part of the European Cute Solar programme, on their perception of fruit and vegetables.
  •  Nearly 4 out of 10 consumers surveyed (37%) - and as many as 43% of Belgians - say they are confident in European growing methods.
  • 63% give a high score to the safety of food grown in solar greenhouses.
  • More than half of consumers prefer to grow food in solar greenhouses, which are considered safer, healthier (53%) and more environmentally friendly (50%).

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Eco-responsible cultivation in Europe

In the south of the Iberian Peninsula, the coastline of Granada and Almeria is able to provide healthy fruit and vegetables to 500 million European inhabitants for 9 months of the year. 96% of the energy used in the greenhouses comes directly from the sun, the water footprint of solar greenhouses is up to 20 times lower than the average for national agriculture as a whole and 95% of the plastic in solar greenhouses is recycled. Between 2020 and 2021, more young parents were found to value the energy efficiency and environmental impact of solar greenhouses (49% vs. 55% and 35% vs. 41% respectively).


One in two European consumers have a positive image of fruit and vegetables grown in solar greenhouses, 36% have no opinion and only 4% have a negative image. The energy efficiency of greenhouses is of great importance to 58% of consumers, as is the low environmental impact and good product quality, although to a lesser extent (36%). Three out of ten consumers are aware of the positive social impact of solar greenhouses in the region through job creation. Half of the population considers that fruit and vegetables from solar greenhouses are affordable by nature and just as nutritious as those grown in the open air.



What is a solar greenhouse?

A solar greenhouse is an enclosed structure covered with plastic sheeting that lets in the sunlight and light that plants need to maintain a temperature during the winter months that is conducive to their development, so that they can carry out photosynthesis. The plants extract nutrients from the CO2 they capture from the air and release huge amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere. Solar greenhouses differ considerably from the production methods used by other types of greenhouses, where heating and lighting systems are mainly powered by fossil fuels, which require up to 30% more energy and are much more polluting.


What is not a solar greenhouse?

A solar greenhouse is not a greenhouse covered with photovoltaic panels, which convert solar energy into electrical energy that is used to artificially heat or light the plantations.


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