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Six States account for about half of all U.S. pumpkin production

Monday, October 24, 2016

All U.S. States produce some pumpkins but about one-half of the total are grown in 6 States. In 2015, U.S. farmers in those States produced 753.8 million pounds of pumpkins. Production dropped over 40 percent from 2014 with a notable drop in acreage planted in Illinois. In June 2015 there were heavy rains in Illinois that significantly reduced pumpkin harvests. Despite this decline, Illinois remained the leading producer of pumpkins by acreage and output, with almost 80 percent of acres typically devoted to production for pie filling or other processing uses. Supplies from the remaining top five States are targeted toward the seasonal fresh market for ornamental uses and for home processing. In addition to traditional jack-o'-lantern types, demand for specialty pumpkins continues to expand as consumers look for new and interesting varieties such as Big Mack, Blue, Cinderella, Fairytale, White Howden, Knuckle Head, and heirloom varieties. This chart uses data from the ERS Vegetable and Pulses Yearbook dataset.

Record harvested area drives surge in 2016 dry edible pea and lentil production

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dry pea and lentil harvested area for 2016 is estimated by the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service at slightly more than 2 million acres, a near 34 percent increase from the previous year, setting a new record. This surge is representative of the recent trend in expanded harvested area for both crops. Since 2011/12, harvested area has increased by an average of nearly 24 percent in each marketing year. Rising harvested area has supported growth in dry edible pea and lentil production, projected at more than 3.4 billion pounds for the 2016/17 marketing year. The number of acres planted to dry peas and lentils, and subsequently harvested, is correlated with decreases in prices for other commodities such as wheat, corn, and barley. Since 2013/2014, Wheat prices have fallen more than $3 per bushel, while corn and barley prices have fallen about $1.30 and $1.10 per bushel, respectively. In the same period, dry pea and lentil prices have generally increased, providing incentive for farmers to switch some acreage to dry peas and lentils. This chart is drawn from data reported in the ERS Vegetables and Pulses Outlook Newsletter released August 30, 2016.

Potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet corn remain most popular vegetables among U.S. consumers

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

According to ERS’s food availability data, an average of 385.4 pounds of fresh and processed vegetables per person were available for U.S. consumers to eat in 2014, up from 334.1 pounds in 1974, but down from peak per capita vegetable availability of 424.3 pounds in 1996. Potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet corn were the three most popular vegetables in 1974 and remained the most popular in 2014. While per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) of potatoes and sweet corn has declined over the last four decades, per capita tomato availability grew from 73.2 pounds in 1974 to 87.8 pounds in 2014. Fresh tomato availability increased by 74 percent and canned tomatoes by 10 percent. Onion availability also grew from 12.7 to 19.7 pounds per person over 1974-2014. In 2014, cucumbers and romaine and leaf lettuce at 11.3 and 10.8 pounds per capita, respectively, replaced cabbage and carrots in the top 7 rankings. Head lettuce was the fourth most popular vegetable in 1974, but dropped to fifth in 2014, perhaps related to the growing popularity of romaine and leaf lettuce. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series, part of ERS’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, updated August 3, 2016.

Declining potato consumption driving Americans' falling vegetable consumption

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Americans’ consumption of vegetables has not increased, despite advice to the contrary from the health and nutrition community. A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with intake surveys reveals that total vegetable consumption fell across four U.S. age and gender groups between 1994-98 and 2007-08, though the decline for women was small. Much of the vegetable decline was driven by reduced consumption of potatoes. Boys had the largest drop; their potato consumption fell from 63.7 pounds (fresh-weight equivalent) per person per year in 1994-98 to 45.2 pounds in 2007-08. Intake of tomatoes—the second most consumed vegetable—held fairly steady for all age groups. When consumption of potatoes and tomatoes is subtracted from the mix, consumption of other vegetables by girls, boys, and men fell, too, but not as sharply as that of potatoes. For women, annual consumption of nonpotato and nontomato vegetables increased by 2.2 pounds per person. This chart appears in “A Closer Look at Declining Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Using Linked Data Sources” in the July 2016 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.

U.S. per-capita availability of romaine and leaf lettuce has almost doubled over the last 16 years

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In 2013, 29.6 pounds per person of lettuce and fresh greens were available for domestic consumption, according to ERS’s Food Availability Data. Per-capita availability of lettuce and fresh greens declined by 22 percent from its high of 37.9 pounds per person in 2004. Much of the decrease is due to declining consumption of head lettuce. Head lettuce (iceberg) availability, at 14.1 pounds per person in 2013, has fallen by 41 percent from 24 pounds in 1997. At the same time, romaine and leaf lettuce availability has almost doubled, rising from 6.6 pounds per person in 1997 to 11.4 pounds in 2013. The growing popularity of prepackaged, ready-to-eat salad greens contributed to the rise in availability of romaine and leaf lettuce. Availability of other fresh greens (collard greens, escarole and endive, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens) came in at 2.5 pounds per person in 2013, while fresh spinach availability was 1.6 pounds per person. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

U.S. pumpkin production and use are growing

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Over the past 15 years, U.S. production of pumpkins for all uses (jack-o-lanterns, fresh and processed food, seed, and other) rose 31 percent, from 1.46 billion pounds in 2000 to 1.91 billion pounds in 2014. The popularity of urban pumpkin patches, fall festivals, ornamental use of pumpkins, and seasonal cuisine have contributed to growing demand for pumpkins in the last two decades. On a per-capita basis, pumpkin use—for both food and ornamental uses—increased 17 percent during this period (adjusted for feed use, shrinkage, and marketing loss) from 4.6 pounds in 2000 to 5.39 pounds in 2014. The ornamental jack-o-lantern has long been the most popular use of pumpkins, but pumpkins are also found in a wide array of food items and beverages, including pumpkin pie, bread, muffins, soup, spice-flavored treats, and seasonal beers. This chart is based on information provided in 2015 Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook.

Potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce make up close to 60 percent of U.S. vegetable and legume availability

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When consumers are advised in the produce aisle that “More Matters,” they are not just being encouraged to eat a greater quantity of fruits and vegetables, but more variety as well. Restricting one’s diet to a limited set of vegetables precludes the desired variety that would supply more diverse, healthful nutrients. According to ERS’s Food Availability data, just three vegetables—white potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce—accounted for 59 percent of the vegetables and legumes that were available for consumption in 2013. White potatoes accounted for 30 percent of the 384.4 pounds per person of vegetables and legumes available in 2013. Tomatoes had a 22-percent share, with 20.2 pounds per person of fresh tomatoes and 65.9 pounds per person of processed tomatoes. Fresh lettuce (head lettuce, romaine, and leaf lettuce) rounded out the top 3 vegetables at 25.5 pounds per person—7 percent of 2013’s total vegetable and legume availability. This chart appears in “Potatoes and Tomatoes Account for Over Half of U.S. Vegetable Availability” in the September 2015 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.

Vegetable costs range from 18 cents to $2.58 per cup equivalent

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

When it comes to vegetable consumption, “More Matters.” Eating a variety and sufficient quantity of vegetables is important for good health, but how much would it cost to add some baby carrots, romaine lettuce, or fresh asparagus to your diet? ERS estimated average prices paid in 2013 for 93 fresh and processed vegetables (including beans and peas), measured in cup equivalents. A cup equivalent is the edible portion that will generally fit in a 1-cup measuring cup; 2 cups for lettuce and other raw leafy greens. ERS researchers found that fresh iceberg lettuce, fresh whole carrots, dried pinto beans, and 13 other products cost less than 40 cents per cup equivalent, while 58 vegetables, including fresh romaine lettuce, baby carrots, and canned tomatoes, cost between 40 and 79 cents per cup equivalent. Fresh asparagus, at $2.58 per cup equivalent, is the priciest of these 93 vegetables. The data in this chart are from ERS's Fruit and Vegetable Prices data product.

Imports make up a growing share of U.S. fresh vegetable supplies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

U.S. production of fresh vegetables has grown over the past several decades, but domestic consumption has grown even faster, reflecting an expanding population and higher per capita use. The United States has been a net importer of fresh vegetables since 1969 (with the exception of 1981), and the rate of increase of the share of imports grew notably after 1990. Since 2010, approximately 25 percent of the fresh vegetable supply utilized in the United States has been imported each year. The value of fresh vegetable imports exceeded exports by almost $4.3 billion in 2014. The share of imports in domestic use continues to grow in response to multiple factors, including supply gaps, increased awareness of vegetables as a part of healthy diets, desire for year-round variety of fresh vegetables, and increased demand for new products. Exports have remained a relatively small share of U.S. fresh vegetable production. Average volume exported as a share of production peaked in the 1990s and the share exported to all countries fell approximately 3 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year. Onions and lettuce continue to dominate fresh vegetable exports. This chart is based on the Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: May 2015.

U.S. production of sweet potatoes continues to grow

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

U.S. sweet potato production reached a record high 29 million hundredweight (cwt) in 2014, extending production gains that have continued for more than 15 years. Since 1971, North Carolina has been the top sweet potato producer in the United States, and in 2014 it produced 53 percent of all sweet potatoes grown in the country. North Carolina’s production of sweet potatoes in 2000 was 5.6 million cwt, and by 2014 it had had expanded to 15.8 million cwt. The 185-percent increase in North Carolina’s production has led the growth of the U.S. sweet potato industry, but production has expanded in many other states, including California (where production has doubled since 2000) and Mississippi (where production is up by 155 percent). This chart is from the Vegetables and Pulses Outlook: May 2015.

California drought continues, but produce inflation expected to be near historical average

Monday, April 20, 2015

The California drought continues into 2015—as of March, 42 percent of the State is classified under the exceptional drought rating. Despite these conditions, U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable price inflation is expected to be close to its historical average in 2015. ERS predicts fresh fruit prices will increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent and fresh vegetable prices 2.0 to 3.0 percent. While California does grow a large percentage of many U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables, portions of the produce purchased in grocery stores are imported from various foreign markets. Currently, the strong U.S. dollar is making foreign produce relatively less expensive, putting downward pressure on U.S. retail produce prices. Commodities that are grown almost entirely in California and whose supplies are not largely supplemented by imports could begin to experience higher price increases in 2015. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the California Drought: Farm and Food Impacts page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product.

Americans are eating fewer potatoes and less cabbage than previous generations

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Many consumers will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by preparing a traditional Irish-themed meal of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. While cabbage and potatoes remain seasonally popular, annual per capita consumption is trending lower. Beginning in the1970s and through the 1990s, consumption of fresh cabbage averaged about 8.5 pounds per capita, peaking at 9.3 pounds in 1993 with the growing availability of prepared, fresh-cut products such as slaws and salad mixes. Consumption has been trending lower since 2000, reaching as low as 6.3 pounds in 2012 before rebounding somewhat the past two years to 7.0 pounds in 2014. Consumption of fresh potatoes has been declining over a longer period, falling by about 20% during the 1970’s, before stabilizing during the 1980s and 1990s and trending lower again since 2000. The long-term decline reflects changes in the market as well as dietary shifts, including greater availability of processed potatoes (especially frozen) that supplant consumption of fresh potatoes, and growing interest in low-carbohydrate diets during the past decade that reduced consumption of all starches. This chart is based on data found in the Vegetable and Pulses Yearbook and the Food Availability Per Capita Data System.

Editor's Pick 2014:<br>California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014. Originally published Thursday October 30, 2014.

Editor's Pick 2014: <br>California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014. Originally published Thursday October 30, 2014.

Consumption of fresh fall vegetables has fallen 21 percent since 1970

Friday, November 28, 2014

With colder weather approaching, many cooks turn to traditional fall vegetables for their made-from-scratch dishes. According to ERS’s Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, Americans consumed 49.7 pounds per person of traditional fall vegetables in their fresh form in 2012. Despite many of these traditional fall vegetables now being grown year-round in parts of the United States and eaten throughout the year, consumption has fallen 13.1 pounds per person since 1970. Much of this decline is due to consumption of fresh potatoes falling from 46.6 pounds per person in 1970 to 26.8 pounds in 2012. Per person consumption of potatoes in all forms (fresh, frozen, canned, dehydrated, etc.) has also fallen—by 10.8 pounds over the last 40 years. However, consumption of most of the other traditional fall vegetables in their fresh form has grown, including fresh onions, which were the second most consumed fresh fall vegetable at 8 pounds per person. Consumption of fresh pumpkins and sweet potatoes combined was 1.5 pounds per person in 2012. The data for this chart come from ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

U.S. pumpkin production is dispersed among several States

Friday, October 31, 2014

In 2013, the top 6 U.S. pumpkin producing states supplied over 1.13 billion pounds of pumpkins. Pumpkin production is widely dispersed, with crop conditions varying greatly by region. Illinois remains the leading producer of pumpkins, with a majority of the state’s production processed into pie filling and other uses. Supplies from the remaining top five pumpkin producing states are targeted primarily towards the seasonal fresh market for ornamental uses, as well as home processing. Demand for specialty pumpkins continues to expand as consumers look for new and interesting variations. In addition to the traditional jack-o-lantern market, there is an increase in pumpkins available in alternative colors (white, blue, striped), shapes (oblong, upright), skin (deep veins, warts) and sizes. This chart is based on information provided in Pumpkins: Background & Statistics.

California droughts are but one factor in higher retail produce prices

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The severity and duration of the ongoing drought in California has raised concerns over its role in rising food prices at the grocery store, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, California produced nearly 50 percent (by value) of the nation’s vegetables and non-citrus fruit. Droughts in California are generally associated with higher retail prices for produce, but price increases are lagged due to the time it takes for weather conditions and planting decisions to alter crop production, which then influence retail prices. In 2005, following five years of drought, retail fruit prices rose 3.7 percent and retail vegetable prices increased 4 percent. Prices continued to rise in 2006, one year after drought conditions began to improve. However, other factors such as energy prices and consumer demand also affect retail produce prices. For example, prices for fresh produce fell in 2009 despite drought conditions, as the 2007-09 recession reduced foreign and domestic demand for many retail foods. As of October 2014, ERS analysts are forecasting fresh fruit prices to increase 4.5 to 5.5 percent in 2014 and vegetable prices to be 2 to 3 percent higher. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Consumers section of the 2014 California Drought page on the ERS website. Information on ERS’s food price forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated October 24, 2014.

U.S. imports of many fruits and vegetables dominated by few source countries

Friday, July 25, 2014

Imported fruits and vegetables account for a growing share of U.S. consumption and in most cases, U.S. imports are sourced from just a few supplying countries. Since 1990, U.S. per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has held steady, while the share of imports in U.S. fresh fruit consumption has risen from 12 to 34 percent and the import share for vegetables has risen from 10 to 25 percent. Trade has played a role in changing U.S. consumer diets by making produce available outside the traditional U.S. growing season, as well as providing access to a greater variety of produce. Despite the diversity of products available to U.S. consumers, the national sources of these products tend to be relatively concentrated among a few countries, with some variation across commodities. For strawberries, peaches, corn, artichokes, grapes, tomatoes, and cherries, more than 80 percent of imports come from a single country and nearly 100 percent come from just 3 suppliers. Overall, of the 29 imported goods studied by ERS, 18 had a single country supplying more than 80 percent of U.S. imports. Recent ERS research finds that source-country concentration does not appear to be related to U.S. phytosanitary regulations governing fresh fruit and vegetable imports, and may instead arise from market forces such as comparative advantage and specialization. Find more analysis in The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, released July 2014.

Drought affects California agriculture, irrigation water deliveries a growing concern

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The driest year on record for California, following several prior years of drought, is likely to have an impact on the State’s agricultural production in 2014. On January 17, 2014, the Governor of California declared a drought emergency and as of March 4, over 94 percent of California’s nearly $45 billion agricultural sector was experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. The livestock sector is more directly exposed to exceptional drought (about 62 percent) than the crop sector (just over 50 percent). Given that much of California’s agricultural production takes place on irrigated land, effects of the drought depend on the cost and availability of water from irrigation in addition to local rainfall. Shortages of irrigation water sourced from snowfall are already evident, and the extent to which growers will be able to offset these reduced surface water supplies by pumping groundwater is uncertain. Find the table underlying this chart and additional analysis in California Drought 2014: Farm and Food Impacts.

Farm share of U.S. households' fresh vegetable expenditures averaged 25 percent in the last decade

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ERS compares retail food prices with prices received by farmers for various agricultural commodities. Over the past decade, the farm share—the ratio of grocery store prices (retail value) to prices received by farmers (farm value)—for a basket of 16 commonly-consumed fresh vegetables has fluctuated between 23 and 27 percent. In 2012, the retail value of the basket fell by 5 percent, but the farm value fell more, causing the farm share to decrease from 25 to 23 percent. The 15-percent decrease in the basket’s farm value was driven by lower prices at the farm gate for potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce due in part to large harvests in 2012. These vegetables (along with onions) are given greater weight in the basket to reflect the large quantities that American households purchase. The statistics in this chart are based on the Price Spreads from Farm to Consumer data product on the ERS website, updated November 2013.

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