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California almond production forecast to reach record levels

Monday, October 17, 2016

Almond production in California is projected to reach a record high 2.05 billion pounds in the 2016/17 crop year. This would be an 8 percent increase from a year earlier and slightly higher than the previous record of 2.03 billion pounds in 2011/12. While many areas are still under drought, trees have shown signs of recovery from multiple years of water deprivation. The increase in production may put negative pressure on prices received by growers. After a strong year of production, for example, grower prices fell from $4.00 per pound in 2014/15 to $2.84 per pound in 2015/16. This resulted in a steep decline in production value for the year, falling from a record high of $7.39 billion dollars in 2014/15 to $5.33 billion dollars in 2015/16. Even with the sharp drop in value, this remained the third-highest crop value on record. With prices high relative to long-term averages, almond producers still have an incentive to increase production. This chart appears in the ERS Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report in September 2016.

Non-Hispanic Blacks were the only racial/ethnic group to increase whole fruit and total fruit consumption between 1994-98 and 2007-08

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with food intake surveys from 1994-2008 revealed that Non-Hispanic Blacks were the only group of the racial/ethnic groups examined that had higher whole fruit and total fruit consumption in 2007-08 compared with 1994-98. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that at least half of a person’s recommended fruit consumption be whole fruit. Non-Hispanic Blacks increased their whole fruit consumption to 71.4 pounds per person in 2007-08—an amount still below that of Hispanics and the "other" racial/ethnic group. All four racial/ethnic groups consumed smaller quantities of orange juice and larger quantities of apple juice in 2007-08. Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics had the largest increases in apple juice consumption. 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.

Imports supply about a third of U.S. watermelon consumption

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The majority of watermelons consumed in the United States are produced domestically, but imports have grown rapidly in recent years. Watermelon acreage in the United States has declined by about 50 percent since the early 1990’s, but increases in productivity from a greater use of irrigation and improved varieties helped keep annual production levels above 3.5 billion pounds through most of the past 20 years. Watermelons can be grown in most parts of the United States but do best in the South due to long growing season and consistently warm temperatures. Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and South Carolina account for over 70 percent of U.S. production. While domestic production has trended lower over the past five years, the U.S. appetite for watermelons has not. From 2010-15, watermelon domestic use has grown to an average 4.9 billion pounds annually, aided in part by four consecutive years of record-high imports, reaching 1.5 billion pounds in 2015. Watermelon imports continue to grow, and accounted for a third of domestic use in 2015, up from 11 percent in 2000 and 7 percent in 1990. Most watermelons imported to the United States come from Mexico, followed by Guatemala and Honduras. This chart is based on data found in the ERS’s report Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: March 2016.

U.S. orange juice production continues to decline

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

U.S. orange juice production peaked during the 1997/98 season at 1,555 million gallons (single-strength equivalent; sse), but has trended lower since then to only 533 million sse gallons expected for the 2015/16 season. The production decline reflects many factors, including the increased prevalence of diseases such as citrus canker and citrus greening, as well as pressures from urbanization in parts of Florida that have reduced the area devoted to citrus production. The United States has been a net importer of orange juice for the entire period of analysis (1986/87 to 2015/16). Exports of orange juice have remained fairly constant over time, whereas imports have increased in recent years, but not by enough to compensate for the decline in U.S. production. As a result, orange juice availability per capita (a proxy for consumption) has trended lower as well, falling from a peak of 6.27 gallons in the 1997/98 season to a forecast low of 2.74 gallons in 2015/16. The decline in orange juice consumption over the past decade is consistent with trends that have also been observed for other types of fruit juice and caloric soft drinks in the United States. This chart is based on data found in ERS’s June 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

Growth in U.S. fresh apple exports reflects changes in supply and demand

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Most apples produced in the United States are consumed in the domestic market, but exports have been growing steadily over the past few decades. Export volume rose from an average of 607 million pounds in the 1980s to a record 2.3 billion pounds in the 2014/15 marketing year (August-July), and the export share of production climbed from 14 percent to more than 28 percent over the same period. The growth in exports reflects changes in both supply and demand. Domestic demand for apples faces growing competition from counter-seasonal imports of fruits such as grapes, berries, and stone fruits, which are increasingly available in the winter months when fresh apples were once one of the few types of fruit readily available to most consumers. On the supply side, production continues to grow faster than domestic demand, and producers have focused on many new varieties such as Fuji and Gala that are popular in key export markets. Today, Mexico, Canada, and India account for more than half of U.S. fresh-apple exports, with Mexico alone receiving more than 25 percent of the total U.S. export volume. This chart is from the July 2016 Amber Waves article, “A Bigger Piece of the Pie: Exports Rising in Share of U.S. Apple Production.”

U.S. production of fresh-market sweet cherries expected to be down this year

Friday, July 22, 2016

Warm weather prompted an early start to the harvest season for sweet cherries in the northwestern United States. Despite the early harvest, U.S. production is expected to be down 6 percent from last year and 11 percent below the 5-average, mostly reflecting smaller crops in the two largest producing states, Washington and California. In California, heavy rains in May reduced the quality and size of the crop, while in Washington a shortened bloom period limited pollination and untimely rains prior to harvest undermined the size of the crop. About 90 percent of sweet cherry production is sold in the fresh market, and most of the crop is consumed domestically. Between one-quarter and one-third of U.S. production is exported, and major markets include Canada, South Korea and Japan. The United States imports sweet cherries during the off-season (when domestic supplies are unavailable), but imports tend to account for less than 10 percent of domestic availability. Chile is the primary source for sweet cherry imports, with smaller volumes also supplied by Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. This chart is from the Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report, released June 30, 2016.

Avocado imports grow to meet increasing U.S. demand

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

U.S. consumption of avocados has doubled in the past 10 years and is now nearly four times higher than in the mid-1990s. All of the growth in per-capita availability is from imports: U.S. net production (production minus imports) accounted for more than 80 percent of domestic sales during the 1990s, but has averaged less than 20 percent over the past 4 years. California accounts for more than 85 percent of U.S. avocado production. U.S. avocado imports come primarily from Mexico, and the United States is its largest market, accounting for more than 75 percent of Mexico’s annual export volume. Increased planted acreage in and outside Michoacan, Mexico’s major avocado-producing State, suggests production will continue to expand in the coming years as the country attempts to meet the growing demand for avocados in the U.S. market and globally. This chart is from the March 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

U.S. consumption of fresh blueberries is growing

Monday, April 18, 2016

Demand for fresh blueberries in the United States has shown strong growth over the past decade, with consumption per capita more than tripling since 2005, to exceed 1.5 pounds per person. This demand has been met with supplies from both domestic and imported sources, with net U.S. production (production minus export) up by 223 percent and imports up by nearly 370 percent since the average from 2003 to 2005. Most blueberry imports are off-season supplies from the Southern Hemisphere that do not compete directly with U.S. production. Imports from Chile typically start in the fall and peak during January and February. Imports from Argentina, Uruguay and Peru follow a similar pattern but with much smaller volumes. Domestic supplies from Florida typically begin to come onto the market in March, with production moving northward and peaking during the summer months. Imports from Canada coincide with the summer U.S. harvest. This year, cold weather is delaying the harvest in both Florida and Georgia, causing tight early-season supplies. This chart is from the March 2016 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook report.

Peanut and tree nut consumption rises with income

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with intake surveys from 1994-2008 reveals that consumers with incomes above 185 percent of the Federal poverty ($21,200 for a family of four in 2008) consistently consumed greater quantities of nuts than consumers with lower incomes, and the gap was higher in more recent years. Nut allergies and consumers’ perceptions about the cost of peanuts and tree nuts may play a role in consumption patterns. In 2007-08, higher income Americans ate 6.7 pounds of peanuts per person per year and 3.7 pounds of tree nuts, compared with the 4.5 pounds of peanuts and 1.4 pounds of tree nuts consumed by lower income consumers. Children consumed more peanuts per person than adults during 1994-98, but since then, adults have consumed more peanuts than children. Adults ate more tree nuts than children did in all survey years, and non-Hispanic Whites consumed more peanuts and tree nuts than non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics. This chart and similar information on 60 other food commodities can be found in the ERS report, U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008, released on March 30, 2016.

China dominates world apple production

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Apples are produced commercially in more than 90 countries worldwide, with annual combined global production of about 80 million metric tons. China is the world’s largest producer, accounting for nearly half of the global output and producing nearly 10 times the volume of the United States, which produces the world’s second largest apple crop. China’s large production volume is supported by the country’s vast production area. However, U.S. yields are nearly double the average achieved in China. Area expansion in China has slowed over the past decade but per-hectare yields have improved, aiding the country’s production to continue to climb. This chart is from the Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook, March 2016.

Over 80 percent of U.S. oranges available for domestic consumption are used in juice

Thursday, February 11, 2016

According to the ERS Food Availability data, 66.3 pounds of oranges per person were available for domestic consumption in 2013. Fresh oranges made up 16 percent of the available oranges (10.4 pounds per person), while 84 percent was in the form of juice (55.9 pounds per person, fresh-weight equivalent). Per capita availability of orange juice, which accounts for over half of U.S. fruit juice availability, has declined by 42 percent from its high of 97.1 pounds per person in 1977. In addition to a long-term decline in demand, reduced production has played a role in lower orange juice availability. Diseases, primarily citrus canker and citrus greening, continue to plague the citrus industry, especially in Florida, the main supplier of U.S.-grown oranges for juice. Eradication efforts have resulted in reduced U.S. citrus acreage and declining production since the late 1990s, and steady orange juice imports have not offset reduced U.S. production. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Georgia is the leading U.S. producer of pecans

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pecan trees, a species of hickory, are the source of the only commercially produced tree nut native to the United States. The United States is the world’s leading producer of pecans, and Georgia is historically the leading pecan-producing State, typically accounting for about 33 percent of U.S. production. In 2015, Georgia’s pecan crop is forecast at 100 million pounds (in-shell), an increase of 32 percent over the 2014/15 harvest. New Mexico has the second highest production, with the 2015 harvest expected to reach 72 million pounds (in-shell), accounting for 26 percent of the U.S. harvest. Texas rounds out the top three pecan-producing States, with 2015 production forecast at 37 million pounds. Texas producers have more acreage planted in native and seedling pecans as opposed to improved varieties and production in that State tends to be more variable year to year than in New Mexico or Georgia, as illustrated by the nearly 40-percent drop in 2015 production compared to the 2014 harvest of 61 million pounds. This chart is based on the September 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook.

Almost half of U.S. apples available for domestic consumption are used in juices

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Apples are a fall and winter staple, showing up in lunch boxes, pies, cobblers, crisps, and cider. Second to oranges as the most popular fruit in the United States, 45.8 pounds of apples per person were available for domestic consumption in 2013, according to ERS’s Food Availability data. Forty-seven percent of the available apples for U.S. domestic use (21.4 pounds per person) was in the form of juice and cider, and 38 percent (17.4 pounds per person) was fresh apples. Canned, frozen, dried, and other forms made up the remaining 15 percent of apple availability in 2013. Per-person apple availability peaked at 51.2 pounds in 2006. Much of the decrease since 2006 is due to declining availability of apple juice and cider. In 2006, 26.6 pounds of apples per person were used in juices and cider, while fresh-apple availability in 2006 was 17.9 pounds per person. The data for this chart come from the Food Availability data series in ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Not all California's crops have seen declines in acreage during drought

Monday, December 14, 2015

Long-term trends in California agriculture reflect shifting production, which may have implications for water use during droughts. Annually harvested crops such as cotton, corn, and wheat are on a downward trend and have seen a 31-percent reduction in planted acreage in California since 2012. Similarly, rice acreage has dropped 27 percent during the past 2 years (2013-15) of the drought. California’s hay and vegetable acreage has been more stable. In contrast, almonds, grapes, and walnuts acreage is on a strong upward trend that does not appear to have slowed during the drought. Orchards and vineyards require larger capital investments than annual crops, and because of the potential loss of that investment, orchard/vineyard owners are generally less willing to reduce water usage during droughts. However, orchards and vineyards are also more dependent upon ground-water than volatile surface-water supplies. California orchard/vineyard farmers are also more likely to have invested in more-efficient irrigation systems, such as low-pressure sprinkler and micro-irrigation systems that reduce water lost to evaporation, runoff, and deep percolation, thereby increasing the share of applied water that is beneficially used by the crop. This chart is found in the November 2015 Amber Waves statistic, “Long-Term Response to Water Scarcity in California.”

The value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production continues to grow

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The increase i The increase in value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook. n value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s. The production values of citrus, noncitrus, and tree nut crops have all increased, but the largest gains have been in the value of tree nut production. Increased production and higher grower prices in response to strong domestic and international demand drove the grower value of U.S. tree nut production past $10 billion in 2013 and 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. The value of almond production, which typically accounts for close to 70 percent of U.S. tree nut production, reached $6.4 billion in 2013, an all-time high. The tree nut share of the value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production rose to 31 percent on average from 2010-2014, up from 20 percent during 2000-2009 and 15 percent during the 1990s. This chart is based on the?October 2015 Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook.

For berries, the price and quantity purchased is highly seasonal

Monday, November 9, 2015

The U.S. retail supply of fresh produce differs from that of manufactured foods, which are available year-round with stable prices. For many produce items, the seasonality of domestic production limits the quantity available in winter to a small fraction of that available during spring or summer, leading to higher retail prices in the off-season. For example, retail strawberry prices in late December can often be more than twice as high as prices in May. Until the early 2000s, berries were not available to most consumers outside the short domestic production seasons. Advances in trade and technology have changed that, and imports—particularly during the fall and winter months, when the supply of domestic berries is at its lowest—are leading to more consistent year-round availability and lower off-season prices. Consumers benefit through the potential for lower food expenditures and greater variety in their diets. This chart is from the ERS report, Measuring the Impacts of Off-Season Berry Imports.

Smaller supply of California peaches available in 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer has arrived and California’s 2015 peach harvest is underway. California currently accounts for just over 70 percent of U.S. peach production, making it the nation’s leading producer of peaches, but its production has been trending lower for nearly a decade. The 2015 crop, forecast at 566,000 tons, continues the trend with a decline of 8 percent from the previous year. A warm, dry winter prompted early crop maturity, but also potentially limited the amount of chill hours that fruit trees normally require to produce a full crop. Statewide production of both freestone (mainly for fresh use) and clingstone (entirely for processing) peaches is forecast lower for 2015. Despite the smaller California crop, prices thus far in 2015 are similar to 2014 levels due to supply increases from South Carolina and Georgia, and ample supplies of off-season Chilean imports during the winter. Through the summer, national supplies will continue to grow as production from other States coincides with California’s peak harvest. In the processing market, declining demand for canned peaches (especially with fresh peaches now commonly available most of the year) as well as increased imports have pushed acreage lower, with tree removals over the past year alone reducing California’s 2015 clingstone bearing acreage about 10 percent. This chart is based on the June 2015 Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook.

Fresh fruit accounted for 52 percent of U.S. fruit availability in 2010-12

Thursday, May 28, 2015

According to ERS’s Food Availability data, per capita supplies of fruit available for consumption in the United States have fallen over the last decade after rising since the early 1970s. In 2010-12, per capita fruit availability was 251 pounds per person (fresh-weight equivalent), down from 281 pounds per person in 2000-02. Increased U.S. production and greater imports of some types of fruit have not compensated for decreased U.S. citrus production. Fresh fruit accounted for 52 percent of fruit availability in 2010-12, up from a 42-percent share in 1970-72. Bananas, apples, and oranges were the most popular fresh fruits in 2010-12, accounting for 40 percent of fresh fruit availability. Processed fruit availability (canned, juice, frozen, and dried forms) has steadily fallen since reaching a peak of 171 pounds per person (fresh-weight equivalent) in 1977 to a low of 114 pounds in 2012. The bulk of the decline came from juice, especially orange juice. Availability of orange juice fell from 97 pounds per person in 1977 to 44 pounds in 2012. This chart appears in “Fresh Fruit Makes Up a Growing Share of U.S. Fruit Availability” in the May 2015 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.

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.

Over 30 retail fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Food intake surveys find Americans consuming about half the amount of recommended fruits per day. One reason may be that some consumers perceive fruit to be expensive. ERS calculated average prices paid in 2013 for 63 fresh and processed fruits measured in cup equivalents. A cup equivalent is the edible portion that will generally fit in a 1-cup measuring cup; 1/2 cup for raisins and other dried fruits. The amount of fruit a person should eat per day depends on age, gender, and level of activity. For a 2,000-calorie diet, 2 cup equivalents of fruits per day is recommended. Fresh watermelon at 21 cents per cup equivalent and apple juice (made from concentrate) at 27 cents were the lowest priced fruits, while fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and canned cherries were the priciest. Thirty-five fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup equivalent. The data in this chart are from ERS's Fruit and Vegetable Prices data product on the ERS website, updated March 19, 2015.

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