I recently put together some coverage of the 2013 fresh produce trade trends. It may be worth while to explore specific highlights from import and export figures in this space.

 In general, I found in my coverage that the increase in imports has exceeded that of U.S. export growth of fresh produce.

 Check out the spreadsheet for imports here

Imported commodities with better than double-digit growth in value in 2013 included grapes (14%), avocados (27%), citrus (26%), cucumbers (24%), asparagus (34%) and mangoes (25%).

 Taking a closer look at grapes, the USDA spreadsheet on grapes show country specific import trends by month. 

For example, grape imports from Chile totaled 391,268 metric tons in 2013, which is up from 351,199 metric tons in 2012 but down from 400,272 metric tons in 2011.

 On the other hand, grape imports from Peru were 28,735 metric tons, up from 27,346 metric tons in 2012 but down from 29,986 metric tons.

 Fresh grape imports from Brazil were 2,679 metric tons in 2013, down from 8,760 metric tons in 2012 and way off from 16,371 metric tons.

 The spreadsheet for U.S. exports is available at this link.

 op U.S. fresh produce exports with better than 10% gains in value included grapes (14%), onions/shallots (17%), and lemons/limes (37%).



















Imports exceed export gains


By Tom Karst

National Editor


U.S. imports of fresh produce increased at a faster pace than U.S. fresh produce exports in 2013, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The 2013 value of fresh fruit and fresh vegetable imports increased at respective rates of 11% and 15%. In contrast, the value of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable exports rose at corresponding rates of 3% and 11%, according to the USDA.

Total U.S. fresh vegetable imports totaled $6.75 billion in 2013, more than double exports of $2.39 billion. U.S. fruit imports topped $9.2 billion in 2013, compared with $5.05 billion in exports.

Bananas/plantains, with $2.15 billion in import value in 2013, accounted for 23% of all U.S. fresh fruit imports. Value of banana imports was up 3% and volume was 5% higher compared with 2012, according to the USDA.

At 30% of total U.S. fresh vegetable imports, tomatoes accounted for $1.97 billion in U.S. import value in 2013, up 6% compared with 2012. Volume was unchanged.

Great grapes

U.S. exports of fresh fruit rose 3% in value and 1% in volume in 2013, while U.S. fresh vegetable exports rose 11% in value and 2% in volume.

Top U.S. fresh produce exports with better than 10% gains in value included grapes (14%), onions/shallots (17%), and lemons/limes (37%).

The top U.S. fresh fruits exported by value in 2013 were apples, followed by grapes, berries and oranges/tangerines.

Fresh apples, with $1.11 billion in export sales in 2013, accounted for 22% of total U.S. fresh fruit exports of $5.05 billion. For the year, the USDA said apple exports were up 3% in value and 2% in volume.

Fresh grapes showed strong growth in 2013, with $912 million in export value up 14% compared with 2012. Volume of U.S. grape exports was up 16% in 2013, and grapes represented 18% of total U.S. fresh exports.

Exports of U.S. berries gained 5% in both volume and value in 2013, at $754 million — 15% of all fresh fruit exports.