About a third of all fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in the US now imported
Changing demographics and new food and health trends are fueling forecasts of increased demand for fresh fruit and vegetables in the giant US market after several years of negligible growth.
Fresh fruit and of fresh vegetable consumption have each crept up just 1% a year for the last three years. Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes and strawberries remained the top five most consumed fruits in the US. And tropical fruit – including pineapples, papayas, mangoes and avocados – saw greater demand thanks to the country’s expanding ethnic populations and more advertising.
As for fresh vegetables, the growth – though equally flat – was helped by consumer interest in fresh-cut produce and conveniently packaged vegetables. Prepared salads and bagged salads, broccoli florets and baby carrots were key drivers.
Why is there optimism about better growth in coming years? In the case of fresh fruit, retailers, producers, and the US government are making consumption easier for consumers, focusing on marketing fruit as the snack industry does, and promoting healthy eating programs. Convenient packaging and value-added and fresh cut options are also tipped to drive up sales.
Similarly, increased consumer awareness of the importance of healthy eating and government programs to increase the availability of vegetables and promote their consumption are also projected to bolster demand of this produce.
Other important trends are the aging US population – with baby-boomers in particular expected to eat more vegetables for health benefits – and consumption of fresh produce is on the up in the foodservice sector thanks to restaurant initiatives designed to increase their use of vegetables and also due to consumer interest in ethnic cuisines in which vegetables feature more as ingredients. America’s increasing Hispanic population, for example, is linked to greater demand for peppers and onions.
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PMA report on US Produce & Retail
USDA, Economic Research Service