Posted on

Canada’s apple imports to dip 2%

For MY 2016/17, the USDA post forecasts an 11% increase in Canadian apple production, following an average growing season. Canada’s fresh apple imports are set to slip 2% to about 225,000 tons but the US should retain its 80% share of the total Canadian import volume.

Canada’s imports of fresh apples in the 2016/17 marketing year are set to slip 2% on the previous year to about 225,000 tons.

A recent GAIN report also says that based on forecasts from a USDA post in Canada, the US, Canada’s main supplier of fresh apples, will retain a stable market share of about 80% of those imports.

Canada’s fresh apple production for the 2016/17 marketing year (July to June) is expected to rise 11% to 375,000 tons.

“As the planted area remained unchanged from the previous year, this production increase is attributable to an overall good growing season in Ontario and British Columbia, two of the major apple producing provinces in Canada. However, a dry summer and blight have negatively impacted the production in Eastern Canada, particularly in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“Over the past fifteen years, fresh apple production in Canada has slowly declined, consistent with reduced planted areas and reduced profitability of apple cultivation. However, data for the recent years seem to indicate that the sector has now stabilized, as growers have learned what production level is most economical and profitable,” the report says.

Canada’s apple industry was forced to downsize due to more affordable imports from the US, Chile and other low cost countries, as well as its high production costs and a strong Canadian dollar.

“Many apple growers responded to the evolving market situation by converting orchards over to new plantings of vinifera grapes (especially in British Columbia and Ontario) and other fruits, as well as by turning land over for new housing development projects,” the report says.

Growers planning to stay in the industry are turning to newer, more popular varieties such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp and new, modern intensive planting systems.

Meanwhile, Canadian apple consumers are trending away from some of the more traditional varieties, such as the McIntosh, which was once the most popular apple variety there.

According to the Ontario Apple Growers Association, these days one in every three apples eaten in Ontario is a Gala, most likely grown in Washington state or Chile.

Canada’s fresh apple exports are expected to inch up 2% to 35,000 tons in 2016/17.

“In general, the export volumes of the past several years represent about one-third of what Canada used to export over a decade ago. Canadian exports of fresh apples have steadily declined over the last 10-15 years, reflecting the overall decline in production and reduced profitability and competitiveness in export markets.”

Source: Canada Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual 2016, GAIN Report CA16051, 11/1/2016

 

Posted on

Canada moves to new, more profitable apple varieties

Many Canadian apple growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal,

An interesting shift in consumer preferences in apples in Canada is outlined in a recent report by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

For decades and for generations of Canadians, McIntosh was the most popular variety of apples, according to GAIN’s 2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada. But in the last decade in Ontario, which accounts for nearly 40% of all Canadians, Gala apples have cornered a 33% market share of the province’s apple growing industry and the McIntosh stands at just 12%. The Ontario Apple Growers Association reports that “one in every three apples eaten in Ontario is a Gala, most likely grown in Washington state or Chile.”

Many Canadian growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal, GAIN says, citing a newspaper report that “Honeycrisp apples sell at a 50% premium.”

In Ontario, Empire now makes up about 20% of production, followed by Spy at about 15%, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and Gala at 8-10% of production and Idared and Golden Delicious at about 5% each.

In Quebec, Cortland and Spartan account for about 8-10% each of the provincial production, followed by Empire and Paula Red at about 5%.

In Nova Scotia, Cortland comes first after McIntosh, at about 20% of production, followed by Spy and Idared at under 15% each, and Honeycrisp at about 8% of production.

And in British Columbia it is Gala, with over 40% of production, which has moved way ahead of Red Delicious (8%) and McIntosh (10%) as the most popular variety. According to the Canadian Horticulture Council, the introduction of new varieties has been particularly important in British Columbia, where growers have been planting new varieties like Spartan, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Jonagold, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia.

New plantings of Ambrosia, which apparently commands the highest premium among all apple varieties in British Columbia, have nearly doubled every year in the past five years, and the variety has been so well received by the market that producers cannot keep up with demand.

Apple imports climb, production declines in Canada

GAIN forecasts a 20% increase in Canadian imports of fresh apples, estimated at 260,000 tons for marketing year (MY) 2015/16 up from 217,000 tons during MY 2014/15. The US remains Canada’s largest supplier of fresh apples, with a stable market share of about 80%.

Canada’s fresh apple production, meanwhile, is forecast to decline by 23% in MY 2015/16, down to 290,000 tons from 374,000 tons during MY 2014/15.

“This decline is attributable to a host of weather related developments such as: a late spring frost followed by a cool and wet summer season in Ontario, a dry and hot growing season in British Columbia, and heavy winter snow and a late spring in Nova Scotia. Production in Quebec is anticipated to exceed last year’s level, supported by a very good growing season,” GAIN says.

“Over the long term, the decline in fresh apple production in Canada is consistent with reduced planted areas which, in turn, reflected the declining profitability of apple cultivation over the past decade. Data for the recent years seem to indicate that the sector has now stabilized, as growers have learned what production level is most economical and profitable.”

“Growers that intend to remain in the industry are turning to newer, more popular varieties such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp and new, modern intensive planting systems in an attempt to remain competitive with imports. Through talks with apple growers in Eastern Canada Post learned about a new trend among some producers to diversify into brewing hard cider as a way to increase profitability, a practice that has met success to date. To assist producers facing industry pressures and changing markets, Canada’s federal and provincial authorities offered replant programs between 2008 and 2010.”

source: GAIN report –2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada