U.S. fruit and vegetable imports on track for bumper year

U.S. fruit and vegetable imports on track for bumper year

U.S. fruit and vegetable imports on track for bumper year

Imports of fruits and vegetables into the U.S. are both on track for a record-setting year, newly released data from the USDA shows.

Both were running higher through May compared to the same period in 2021, a year that itself saw new records for the two categories.

Fruit imports from January to May this year were up by 21 percent from $10.5 billion to $12.6 billion, while vegetables were up 9 percent from $7.6 billion to $8.2 billion.

For the fruit category in particular, the growth over the last couple of years has been substantial. In 2021, imports hit $23 billion, smashing the previous record set the preceeding year of $19.9 billion.

If the growth rate achieved through May this year is maintained for the rest of 2022, that would mean imports approach the $28-billion-mark.

As is often the case, avocados have been one of the biggest growth drivers in the fruit category this year, rising by 34 percent through May to $1.5 billion. Table grapes also noted a big increase, rising 21 percent to $1.5 billion, while lime imports rose by 38 percent and mandarin imports tripled.

Outside of fresh, fruit juice imports rose by 44 percent to $1.3 billion, while the processed category grew by 24 percent to $992 million and the frozen category by 18 percent to $707 million.

For vegetables, the growth the category experienced through May this year puts it on track to most recent record that was set last year at $17.3 billion. The current growth rate would bring that figure closer to the $19-billion-mark.

Growth in the biggest category - fresh vegetables excluding potatoes - was modest at just 3 percent, brining the total through May to $4.9 billion.

The frozen segment was a much bigger growth driver, rising by 15 percent to $1.4 billion, while the prepared segment rose by 16 perent to $998 million.

Finally, the tree nut category rose by 14 percent from $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion. The growth was largely driven by cashews.

The last record for tree nut imports of $3.4 billion was set in 2018. The growth experienced through May this year would bring the total to a similar level.

 

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