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Opportunities for fresh produce exports to France

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly tropical and exotic – are among the best high value prospects for American companies looking to export to France, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Titled the France Exporter Guide, the report says prime opportunities for U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers are in off-season and extended season sales, as well as during years of short French fruit crops.

“France is the leading European market for U.S. grapefruit and number three in the world after Japan and Canada with 17.5 tons imported in calendar year 2013, valued at $20 million. The U.S. market share for citrus fruits represents 21 percent of total French imports in volume and 25 percent in value. The US was France’s first supplier in volume and value for grapefruit for the first time in 2014, followed by South Africa, Israel and Spain,” it says.

During short-crop years, France imports apples and pears from the US. There is also a niche market for berries, medjool dates, dried prunes, frozen fruits and nuts, fresh cherries, cashew nuts, apples, and other fresh citrus.

“Imports of fresh and dried cranberries from the US have been very successful during the last fifteen years and were valued at more than $1 million in 2014. Transshipments from other EU member states (who do not produce cranberries) were valued at more than $2.2 million the same year.”

Root vegetables among few opportunities for US fresh vegetables

Very few opportunities exist for US fresh vegetables, the report says. “Trends and increased consumption indicate a growing demand for dried and prepared vegetables (washed and cut) and many supermarkets have a special section for these types of products.”

However it advises there may also be demand for organic vegetables, “as the new US/EU organic agreement should open doors for U.S. suppliers.”

And import statistics show US exports of fresh and chilled edible root vegetables to France have increased since 2011. “These exports were valued at $2.4 million versus $626,000 in 2010. FAS Paris initiated contact with French buyers and the American Sweet Potatoes Commission actively promotes this product among the food service industry.”

Move from frozen to fresh prepared foods in food service

The report provides a guide to France’s economic situation and market structure, as well as exporter tips. On the subject of food trends in France it says French consumers desire innovative and more convenient foods offering a quality image, better taste, and increased health benefits

It also mentions that the French food service industry is moving towards fresh consumer-ready products at the expense of frozen foods.

Under this category, dried nuts are the majority of U.S. exports, the report says.


source: France Exporter Guide, GAIN report FR9175
image of the Eiffel tower as seen from the Champ de Mars: by Edisonblus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Snapshot of the apple market in Taiwan

Taiwan’s love story with fruit remains undiminished

A new report by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network provides valuable insights into the apple market in Taiwan.

Here are some of the repoort’s highlights:

Apples and Taiwan

Apples are the most heavily consumed imported fruit in Taiwan, which has one of the world’s highest per capita consumption rates.
But apples are losing ground to other imported fruits such as cherries, grapes, peaches and berries.
Fuji is the overwhelmingly favourite apple variety, accounting for 90% of total retail.
Red & Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, Ambrosia and Aurora make up the remaining 10th of retail apple sales.
Washington apples are extremely popular. (Taiwan one of the top 5 export markets for Washington apples.)
Though eaten year round, significantly more apples are bought in Taiwan in autumn and winter – the prime production months for northern hemisphere growers. (During the summer months, local tropical fruits, such as mangos, papaya, and lychees, dominate.)
Reasons for this include that the apple is perceived as a ‘cool weather‘ fruit and also it is incorporated in several festivals held over this period.

Taiwan’s apple imports

With just 1,506 tons in 2014/15, Taiwan’s declining apple production meets less than 1% of domestic demand so it is reliant on imports but is a relatively mature market for fresh apples.
In 2013/14, it imported a record high 160,756 tons of apples (valued at nearly US $240 million) but in 2014/15 apple imports fell to 156,007 tons (valued at nearly $239 million), with importers expecting 160,000 tons for 2015/16.
Taiwan currently applies a 20% tariff on all apple imports.

Market share of Taiwan’s leading apple suppliers in 2014/15:

  • US: 41.2% (64,264 tons)
  • Chile 29.8% (46,522 tons)
  • Japan 14.9% (23,260 tons)
  • New Zealand 10.7% (16,673 tons)

United States

The US share of the Taiwan import market for apples began a long-term downward trend in 2000 but despite this decline, the US is expected to remain the dominant supplier of apples to Taiwan over the next few years.
In 2014/15, US apple exports to Taiwan increased nearly 29% from the previous year, to 64,264 tons ($79.1 million).
Thanks to an expected record harvest in Washington, which typically accounts for 90-95% of total US apple exports to Taiwan, the US is forecast to hold its position as the leading supplier of apples to Taiwan in 2015/16 with exports of 65,000 tons.
GAIN says importers prefer US apples for the high-quality and consistent supply.
‘New’ rivals for the US are Japan, New Zealand and Korea.


Japanese apples, accounting for about 15% of the total apple import market in Taiwan, grew 40% in 2014/15 to 23,260 tons thanks to depreciation of the Japanese yen and Taiwan consumers’ decreased concern about potential radiation leaks from nuclear power plants in food products from Japan.
While the US,Chile and New Zealand are still focused on supplying Taiwan market with traditional varieties, Japan is having great success introducing less common varieties in order to maintain the ‘premiumimage and justify higher prices.
It is not uncommon to find Japanese fruit in the market priced at 10-20% higher than other competitors.
Despite Japan being ranked third in terms of import volume, when comparing import value, Japan’s share increased to 28.4% last year and it enjoyed an export value of $2,910 per ton – 137% higher than that of the US at $1,230 per ton.
“This higher margin clearly indicates that Japanese apples continue to dominate the high value gift giving market in Taiwan due to their premium quality and excellent reputation in the perceptions of both traders and consumers,” the report says.


China remains prohibited from exporting fresh apples to Taiwan due to phytosanitary concerns.

General fruit consumption in Taiwan

The vast majority of people in Taiwan view fruit as an important part of their daily diet.
Fruit is often consumed as a snack or dessert.
It is the most common food served to visitors at home or in the office.
Unless bought solely for personal consumption, the colour, size, and general appearance of fruit are typically the buying decision factors to traders and customers in Taiwan.
The “best-looking” fruit, typically sold in gift packaging, fetches the highest prices.

Fruit as a gift in Taiwan

People send food products in gift packages to their friends and relatives during 3 major lunar-year festivals:

  • Chinese New Year (usually in February)
  • the Dragon Boat Festival (usually in June)
  • the Moon Festival (usually in September).

Fuji apples replaced Red Delicious many years ago as one of the most popular gift items during the lunar New Year holiday in Taiwan. Thanks to their colourful appearance and relatively larger size, Japanese apples are the most popular gift item during this season.

Source: Taiwan: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual November 4, 2015 Attaché Reports (GAIN)

1. Taipei at night, with dreamy sky by Chris:
2.  Taiwan-taipei vista de noche ciudad by n23club:

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Major growth, solid profits in New Zealand’s deciduous fruit sector

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits. The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ one billion by 2022.

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits, according to a new USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ 1 billion by 2022, up from its best so far of NZ$ 620 million for the year-to-date 2014/2015, it says. And the country’s planted deciduous tree area is estimated to be up 8% for 2015/16 at 9,750 ha and harveste area is estimated at 9,500 ha, a 6% rise on 2014/2015.

New high color varieties, primarily targeting Asian tastes, are being planted.

A cold dry winter in the Hawkes Bay region followed by a rapid increase in temperatures in October 2015 set the trees up for a compressed high volume flower blossoming in October, which augers well for the harvest in March/April 2016, GAIN said.

“Total deciduous fruit production for 2015/2016 is forecast to increase two percent, reaching a level of 565,350 metric tons (MT). With a greater volume of domestically produced apples in abundance during 2014/2015 it is estimated that domestic consumption of apples and pears will be 80,500MT, a seven percent upward shift from the previous year. Again for the 2015/2016 year there will be plenty of domestic fruit in the market and consumption is expected to remain at 80,000MT.

“The greater volume of the apple crop which has made export grade in 2014/2015 means processing volumes are unlikely to have increased as much as was expected back in April 2015. It is now estimated total deciduous fruit processing volumes will be 147,350MT which is still a 28% increase over the 2013/2014 year.”

“For the current year 2014/2015 total deciduous fruit exports are now expected to reach 331,000MT which amounts to a three percent increase from previous estimates. More of the total crop was export grade than had been expected after the hail and storm damage, which has now facilitated the export tonnage increase. For 2015/2016 it is forecast the volume will rise to 342,000MT, a gain of three percent.

Extraordinary growth in the Asian markets has translated into large export volumes for New Zealand. In fact, in 2014/2015 about 40% of the New Zealand apple export volume has gone to Asian destinations, up from 31% just two years ago. In contrast New Zealand apple exports to Europe and the UK, for so long the key region for export volume demand and overall export returns, have diminished from taking 41% of the export volume in 2012/2013 to this year, 2014/2015, 38%.

“A key element in the relative success enjoyed by New Zealand deciduous fruit exporters in Asian markets has been the negotiation of market access protocols containing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) conditions that growers in New Zealand can comply with,” GAIN said.

Source: New Zealand: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual, November 5, 2015, Attaché Reports (GAIN)

Image of Tukituki River and Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand by Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Good year for apples and pears in Turkey

Turkey is the second biggest producer of apples in Europe behind Poland. Turkey’s diverse geographic regions allow for production of 460 varieties of apples, but only 10 of these are marketed commercially.

Turkey is set for a good year (July 2015-June 2016) for apples and pears as production recovers – up 21% and 37% respectively – after a substantial drop the last year, says a recent USDA GAIN report. Apple production is expected to be 2.54 million tons and pear production 395,000 million tons.

Table grape production, however, is expected to be down 16% to 1.88 million tons due to frost damage in the Aegean region in the spring of 2015.

Middle Eastern countries (namely Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt), Bulgaria and Russia are the top export destination for Turkish deciduous fruits. Turkey’s exports of all such fruits increased to Russia in MY 2014 due to Russia’s import ban on European products and the increase was especially substantial in apples (from 319 to 11,848 tons) even though there was an overall decrease in apple exports as a result of decreased production, the report says.

Turkey’s exports of apples and pears are predicted to increase this marketing year due to increased production figures and the eventual decrease in prices, but its grape exports are expected to drop more than 20% and imports are expected to increase accordingly.

Image: the Turkish pear variety Deveci
Source: Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on Turkey “Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual”