Berries drive increase in U.S. fruit imports in February

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Berries drive increase in U.S. fruit imports in February

Total U.S. fruit imports rose by 9 percent year-on-year in February and were largely driven by fresh berries, USDA data shows.

The growth in fruit imports - which includes fresh, frozen, processed and juice - to $2 billion came amid strong increases in fresh strawberries and blueberries and was partially offset by a big drop in avocado imports.

Strawberries rose by 23 percent to $208 million, with Mexico supplying almost all the volumes.

Imports of conventional blueberries saw an increase of 63 percent to $140 million, with the U.S.'s three main supplying countries all showing big increases. Imports from Chile rose by 33 percent to $75 million, and from Mexico and Peru they slightly more than doubled to $52 million and $13 million respectively.

Organic blueberry imports also showed significant growth, rising by 69 percent to 61 million.

The two other berry categories also performed well. Raspberry imports grew by 30 percent to 90 million, while blackberry imports rose by 9 percent to 44 million. In both cases, Mexico was virtually the sole supplier.

Other double-digit increases came in mango and pineapple imports, which rose by 21 and 19 percent respectively to total $48 million each. Limes also rose by 73 percent to $45 million.

There was a significant drop in avocado imports, which fell by 22 percent to 174 million, with almost all supplies coming from Mexico. Table grape imports saw a small drop of 4 percent to $288 million, with the decrease driven by Chile and partially offset by growth from Peru.

Outside of the fresh fruit category, total U.S. fruit imports were also spurred on by a 29 percent increase in fruit juices to $182 million and a 31 percent rise in frozen fruit to $94 million.

The fruit import rise in February follows a slower month in January when imports saw a slight dip of percent, USDA data shows.

In 2020, U.S. fruit import growth ground to a halt.

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