U.S. fruit and vegetable import value outpaces volume growth

U.S. fruit and vegetable import value outpaces volume growth

In fiscal year (FY) 2021, the value of U.S. fruit and vegetable imports rose to a record level. That record is projected to rise another 9 percent in FY 2022 (October–September) to $42.6 billion. Import volumes are also expected to grow 3 percent in FY 2022 to 29.4 million metric tons. This would further extend the trend seen from FY 2000 to FY 2021, during which the volume of U.S. fruit and vegetable imports increased 124 percent while the inflation-adjusted value of those imports increased 208 percent. This shift indicates that, on a per volume basis, imported fruits and vegetable products are priced higher than they were 20 years ago as growth in the value of these imports has exceeded growth in volume. Steadily increasing unit prices for imported fresh fruits and vegetables, up from $753 per metric ton in FY 2000 to $1,192 in FY 2021, have contributed significantly to the observed trend. In contrast, prices for imports of processed fruits and vegetables have been relatively stable. In FY 2021, fruits and vegetables accounted for 24 percent (almost $39 billion) of the total value of U.S. agricultural imports. Fresh fruit imports comprised the largest individual share by value at $15.5 billion, followed by fresh vegetables at $10.5 billion and processed vegetables and processed fruits, which were each about $6.5 billion. Some of the main fresh products were berries, tomatoes, avocados, and bananas, while the chief processed products included fruit juices and frozen vegetables. This chart was drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, published May 2022.


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