Report Highlights: 

German total cherry production for CY 2014 is estimated at 51,900 MT of which sweet cherries comprise 36,300 MT and tart/sour cherries 15,600 MT. This is a 38 percent increase compared to the below average production in CY 2013. The favorable weather conditions (mild and dry conditions during flowering) are the main factor behind the rebound in production.

General Information:

Production: 

German total cherry production for CY 2014 is estimated at 51,900 MT of which sweet cherries comprise 36,300 MT and tart/sour cherries 15,600 MT. This is a 38 percent increase compared to the below average production in CY 2013. The favorable weather conditions (mild and dry conditions during flowering) are the main factor behind the rebound in production. 

Area 

While the German sweet cherry area remained stagnant at 5,200 ha in 2013, the area for tart cherries was further reduced to 2,212 ha. However, the decline in tart cherry area was not as severe as in the previous years. The decline in area is a result of strong competition from other EU member states. According to German industry sources, other member states such as Hungary and Poland have lower production costs and are more competitive than German producers. For sweet cherries Germany is more competitive as most of the production is for fresh consumption and consumers are willing to pay a premium for locally produced cherries.

Consumption: 

In Germany, cherries are considered a seasonal product and stocked in supermarkets mainly during the German marketing season (July/August). Peaches in contrast, which are hardly grown in Germany, are stocked year round. This explains the lower per capita consumption of cherries (2 kg) compared to peaches (3.6 kg). Nonetheless, consumption of cherries is twice as high as for plums (1.1 kg). The use of tart cherries for processing is relatively stable and roughly amounts to 75-90 percent of the German domestic production. The majority of tart cherries are used for canning (over 80 percent), while the remainder finds its way into juice production. The percentage of sweet cherries used for processing fluctuates between 20 and 50 percent depending on the weather during harvest. The better the weather, the lower the processing share, while rain damage increases the percentage that goes into canning and distillation into spirits. 

Trade: 

German imports vary between 45,000 and 70,000 MT of cherries annually. The majority originates from other EU member states, mainly Austria, Italy and Spain for sweet cherries and Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic for tart cherries. The largest non-EU suppliers are Turkey for sweet cherries and Serbia for tart cherries. For 2014, imports are forecast to decline partly due to the good domestic harvest. In addition, the industry reportedly holds large stocks of processed cherry products which are expected to result in a reduction of processing and in turn a reduction of tart cherry imports. 

Germany exports less than 10 percent of its total cherry supply: 5,000 to 9,000 MT in recent years. Main destinations are other EU member states such as Austria, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom. Largest destination outside of the EU is Switzerland