Avocados have overtaken bananas as the most valuable fruit import in the United States, accounting for 15% of the total last year which itself hit a new high of US$18.1 billion.
This represents almost a US$6 billion rise since 2013, largely driven by imports from Mexico which have more than doubled in the same timeframe and also increased 37% last year to reach US$7.2 billion.
According to recently published statistics by ITC Trade Map for 2017, bananas still remained the leading fruit import commodity in terms of volume with a 54% uptick to 4.8 million metric tons (MT), but this was a rebound to fairly normal levels after a a sharp decline in 2016.
Second in volume were pineapples which also saw a similar percentage rebound to 1.15 million MT, while avocados were third with a 10% rise to 900,186MT.
Imports of fresh table grapes rose 3% to US$1.7 billion, making it the third-largest commodity by value, while other categories that saw upticks included raspberries and blackberries (+14%; US$994 million), pineapples (+4%; US$750 million), mangoes (+13%; US$656 million), strawberries (+15%; US$643 million), lemons and limes (+10%; US$550 million) and mandarins (+22%; US$462 million).
Blueberries saw their first decline over the five-year period, albeit by just 1% down to US$970 million, while fresh melons also fell off what had been an upward trajectory, dropping 7% to US$439 million.
It should be noted that the Trade Map list also includes cashew nuts, which were the fourth-largest commodity in value with a 28% rise to US$1.6 billion. This explains much of Vietnam's phenomenal rise to become the country's fourth-largest supplier.
Chile retained its position in second place by a long shot despite a 9% drop to US$2.3 billion, followed by Guatemala (+9%; US$1.5 billion), Vietnam (+29%; US$1.2 billion), Costa Rica (+8%; US$1.2 billion), Peru (+25%; US$915 million), Ecuador (-25%; US$461 million), Honduras (+1%; US$452 million), Canada (-7%; US$361 million) and India (+50%; US$231 million).