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.