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Tensions ease as China and US sign ‘phase-one’ trade deal

Tensions ease as China and US sign ‘phase-one’ trade deal


The US and China have announced the signing of a “phase-one” trade deal, an agreement which will involve China buying an extra US$40-50 billion of US agricultural products over the next two years. This signals there may finally be an end in sight to the series of retaliatory tariffs that the two countries have been placing on various imports from one another’s country over the past two years, with US agricultural products targeted and the balance of many of the world’s markets shifting. New sources have been found to fuel China’s growing demand for foreign fruits, meaning US apple, citrus and cherry producers in particular lost out. The California citrus industry has been hit by an additional 50% in tariffs since the dispute began.

All parties are remaining cautious for now while the terms of a new agreement remain uncertain and it is unclear exactly how China is going to purchase an extra US$40-50 billion of US products.


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US dependent on Mexican citrus

Consumption of fresh citrus on the US market totalled 3.9 million tons in 2018. Oranges only account for 47% of total citrus consumption and soft citrus represents only 19%. Instead, market share is higher than in the EU for lime (13%), lemon (13%) and grapefruit (8%). In 2017, US imports of citrus totalled 944,000 tons, having climbed steadily from 580,000 in 2008. Around 43% of imported citrus to the US is sourced from neighbouring Mexico, with the next largest supplier being Chile (29%), followed by South Africa (7.7%), Peru (6%) and Morocco (5.4%). As the US has its own large orange and soft citrus production in Florida and California, lemon and lime represent the largest category of imported citrus (44%).

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PMA summit sets new attendance record

PMA summit sets new attendance record


This year’s PMA Fresh Summit, held in Anaheim, California, saw a record number of attendees, with 24,000 professionals from the sector. Attendance may have been boosted by having the expo on a Friday and Saturday, as opposed to on a Saturday and Sunday, as was previously the case before last year’s switch. 

The exhibition was divided into Produce Marketplace, Complementary Items Marketplace, Solutions Marketplace, and Floral Marketplace. Underlining the international dimension of the event, there were retailers and importers from across the world. There was a strong focus on sustainable solutions for throughout the supply chain, as well as smart solutions using artificial intelligence.

Next year’s PMA Fresh Summit will be held from October 15-17 in Dallas, Texas.

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US targets China’s neighbours

US targets China’s neighbours


In light of the ongoing trade war with China, the US is exploring openings in other Asian markets. As part of this strategy, the US Department of Agriculture sent delegates from fresh produce organisations to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) from 15 to 18 October to meet counterparts from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. Delegates include representative of the Almond Board of California, California Blueberry Commission, Oregon Berry Packing and Coconut King Miami Beach.

Ted McKinney, under-secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said, “The size of this trade mission delegation speaks to the phenomenal potential that exists for US exporters in Vietnam and surrounding countries. Since the United States normalised relations with Vietnam in 1995, our agricultural exports have grown exponentially, reaching a record US$4bn last year. Sales of US food and farm products to Thailand and Myanmar also set records in 2018, topping US$2.1bn and US$126m, respectively.”

TAGS: US, Vietnam, Asia, trade delegation

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US-China trade war rumbles on with increased additional tariffs on US goods


The US-China trade war shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Over 1,000 US agricultural and related products have become subjected to higher tariffs since April 2018. The tit-for-tat measures continued when, on August 23rd, 2019, the China’s Ministry of Finance, State Council Tariff Commission announced new tariffs on certain US goods, worth US$75 billion USD. The announcement includes two lists: List 1 to be implemented on September 1, 2019 and List 2 to be implemented on December 15, 2019. Additional tariffs of 10% or 5% are applied to the harmonised schedule tariff lines on each list. Many of these items were already subject to earlier tariff increases by China. The increased tariffs will be calculated in aggregate with earlier additional tariffs.  

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US organics – too expensive?

US organics – too expensive?


The US organic sector is at a turning point. The segment has now become mainstream, with organic products found in nearly every kitchen across the country. The success of natural foods supermarkets has pushed all forms of retail to get in on the act, with plenty of margin for value added in this category. Nearly 75% of conventional grocery stores in the US stock organic products and there are around 20,000 natural foods stores. Kroger’s Simple Truth organic products brand had the highest sales in 2018, at US$2 billion.

However, according to USDA data, organic foods only account for between 4%-5% of total US grocery sales. This is perhaps because organic products are so pricey. For this percentage to rise, it may require a change to the three-tier distribution system whereby organic products go through distributors who take a margin, thus adding to the retail price.


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ZUMEX® celebrates its 25th anniversary in the USA with the launch of its new Multifruit commercial juicer

ZUMEX® celebrates its 25th anniversary in the USA with the launch of its new Multifruit commercial juicer

The multinational will be in attendance at the centennial of the NRA, the largest retail and HORECA channel trade exhibition in the United States, showcasing its new, more powerful and robust Multifruit to the food service industry’s most demanding professionals

The company’s latest developments feature the new version of the iconic Multifruit commercial juicer, which include the new extremely hard-wearing titanium shredding disc.

• This new tool offers a premium user experience by increasing performance, resistance and durability, thus responding to the demands of professional big-time juicers.

• ZUMEX®’s juicers are celebrating a quarter of a century in the US market. The pioneering nature of the firm and its win-win solutions for leading companies such as Starbucks, Subway, Jamba Juice and Juice, and major retailers such as Whole Foods, HEB and Wegmans, have consolidated it as the strategic partner of reference for juice businesses .

The first ZUMEX® Group juicers arrived in the United States in 1994, just over 25 years ago. Since then, the company, a strategic partner in the development of the juice business, has grown its market share in the United States and Canada year after year. The company was the first one to introduce the concept of freshly squeezed juice into major supermarket chains such as Whole Foods, HEB, and Wegmans, thus bringing a fresh, natural and healthy product to thousands of American homes.

This long history has consolidated the company’s commitment to these markets and, in 2019, ZUMEX® is taking advantage of the centennial of the NRA Show in Chicago to present its new Multifruit, a commercial juicer in great demand in this market. Thus, ZUMEX® returns once again to the benchmark US trade fair for the hotel and catering industry, which brings together over 2,000 exhibitors and trade professionals from more than 100 countries.

On this special occasion, the highlight of the show is the new premium version of the Multifruit commercial juicer, which is ideal for optimising non-stop juice service performance in hotels, restaurants, cafés and juice bars. However, it is not the only new development: the company is also presenting innovations in its Versatile Pro range, the smallest self-service juicer on the market and ideal for convenience contexts, such as those of major American firms like Starbucks, Subway, Jamba Juice and Jugo Juice.

Through these developments, ZUMEX® aims to boost market penetration in the different American states and continue to lead innovation in the juice business. According to the firm, this is the best way to safeguard its partnership with large companies in the HORECA and retail channels.

New Multifruit, a heart of TITANIUMTM that can handle everything you put in it.

The new generation of Multifruit juicers stands out for its new, extremely hard-wearing TITANIUMTM shredding disc (combined with its powerful brushless motor) ensures incredible performance in helping foodservice professionals to prepare multi-fruit juices with ease. The new, extremely durable material of the disc quickly shreds the hardest fruits and vegetables, from carrots, apples and pineapples through to celery and ginger.

In addition, the increased strength of the blades and a new crosshead, coupled with the robustness of the titanium disc, improves cutting and increases resistance to wear and tear, thus ensuring a longer lifespan.

Another of the new innovations in the design of this commercial juicer is the new easier to use, more efficient tap, whose new Easy Grip finish improves handling and provides optimal juice flow to serve juice directly to the customer. In addition, the new tap turns 180º to ensure excellent hygiene conditions in cafés, restaurants, cocktail bars and juice bars everywhere.

The new Multifruit, which continues to feature unique components such as the extra-large opening to insert fruit and vegetables, stands out for its efficiency and robustness, as well as for its new finishes that make the Multifruit name stand out and give it an even bigger personality by including its logo right above the speed dial. The most advanced commercial juicer on the market is still available in five colours (Black, Cherry, Graphite, Silver and White) to match the style of your business. Video:

ZUMEX® Group is a strategic partner and has been a world leader and innovator in the juice business in the design and manufacture of innovative solutions for fruit and vegetable juicing for more than three decades. It is present in more than 100 countries through an extensive network of distributors and its five subsidiaries (USA, Mexico, UK, France and Germany), which work closely with its headquarters located in Spain (Moncada-Valencia).

The company is well known for the development of patented technologies and exclusive systems and has three major business lines: food service & retail, food engineering and vending.


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ZUMEX® strengthens its position in the USA and develops a customised industrial juicing line for the leading New York company LiDestri

ZUMEX® strengthens its position in the USA and develops a customised industrial juicing line for the leading New York company LiDestri

The project, developed by ZUMEX’s® Food Engineering division, has enabled the US company to create LiDestri Beverage, which will specialise in the development of products such as freshly squeezed orange and other citrus fruit juices

  • With a capacity of 2,500 litres of freshly squeezed juice per hour, this new line reinforces the company’s ability to serve the growing demands of its customers.
  • LiDestri’s new customised industrial line for orange, lemon and grapefruit juicing features ZUMEX’s® powerful Z450 heads.
  • The firm has been involved in important projects with its Z450 juicer for American companies and companies from countries such as Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Niger.

Though the ZUMEX® Group has been operating in the USA for more than 25 years, it continues to reap success in the country as a strategic partner for the development of juice businesses and as a world leader in the development and manufacture of innovative systems for juicing fruit and vegetables. The company has had its own subsidiary in the USA since 2007 and the market penetration and outreach of its machines in the North American HORECA and Retail channels continue to grow strongly. Its Food Engineering division, which specialises in providing solutions for the juice industry, is also successful thanks to a solid track record over the years. Its most recent project is its partnership with the leading New York-based company LiDestri Food & Drink.

On this occasion, ZUMEX’s® Food Engineering’s R&D department has worked closely with the American firm’s experts to create the LiDestri Beverage division, which will produce a wide range of products such as orange and other citrus juices, thanks to the design of a turnkey engineering project for the American firm.

ZUMEX® Z450, the latest technology in industrial juicing systems

With a capacity of up to 2,500 litres of freshly squeezed juice per hour, this line reinforces the company’s ability to cater for the growing demands of its customers for orange, lemon and grapefruit juice, thanks to the powerful ZUMEX® Z450 juice extractors. In addition to these heads, the newly launched LiDestri production line includes an automatic pallet tipper, a roller sorting table, fruit washing equipment, as well as a fruit calibration and feeding line. In short, the latest technology in industrial juicing systems, which has been installed with a view to expanding the installation as demand increases.

This new ZUMEX® Food Engineering project is another move forward in the Spanish company’s objective to transform the world’s eating habits and improving nutritional well-being through its innovative juicing systems. These systems are already present on all five continents.

The ZUMEX® Z450 is a highly popular industrial juicing machine which has been successfully implemented in companies in almost thirty countries, such as the USA, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Niger.

In addition to serving the juice industry, the Food Engineering division of ZUMEX® also works for catering companies, fruit marketers, citrus and fresh-cut vegetable producers, as well as cold press juice manufacturers through its JuiceTech Solutions line, a modular system made up of a wide range of equipment for processing fruits and vegetables for small and medium demands of citrus, fruit and vegetable juices.

ZUMEX® Group is a strategic partner and has been a world leader and innovator in the juice business in the design and manufacture of innovative solutions for fruit and vegetable juicing for more than three decades. It is present in more than 100 countries through an extensive network of distributors and its five subsidiaries (USA, Mexico, UK, France and Germany), which work closely with its headquarters located in Spain (Moncada-Valencia).

The company is well known for the development of patented technologies and exclusive systems and has three major business lines: food service & retail, food engineering and vending.

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US sweet potato exports poised for further growth

Europe – which imported about 80,000 tons in 2013 – is the main sweet potato export destination for the US, which already has a 50% share of the market, followed distantly by Israel.

Survey finds Europeans yet to discover sweet potato’s nutritional benefits


Sweet potato sales have already exploded 300% in Europe in the last decade but consumer research suggests the potential market is much bigger.

And it shows taste is currently by far the biggest reason for purchase, meaning highlighting the sweet potato’s nutritional strengths offers great scope to further grow demand.

Commissioned by the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute (ASPMI), the online survey of more than a 1,000 Europeans will now guide the institute in its mission to promote American sweet potatoes in northwestern Europe.

Europe – which imported about 80,000 tons in 2013 – is the main sweet potato export destination for the US, which already has a 50% share of the market, followed distantly by Israel.

Campaign to educate consumers

Netherlands–based Phaff Export Marketing is coordinating ASPMI’s export marketing for northwestern Europe and focusing its promotion on teaching consumers how and why to use sweet potatoes.

Its two–prong campaign covers both fresh sweet potatoes and sweet potato products, such as French fries, a segment that has already taken off in the US.

According to Phaff, all major retailers in northwestern Europe now carry sweet potatoes in their assortment. The consumer research, conducted in December, shows it is in such grocery stores where two thirds of sweet potato eaters buy their sweet potatoes.

Questionnaire finds both interest and ignorance

The survey, which covered Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, found familiarity with sweet potatoes is highest in France and lowest in the Netherlands.

It also found that while in Germany men seem to consume sweet potatoes more than women, in France it tends to be the opposite.

Among other findings:

  • two in five respondents already buy sweet potatoes,
  • nearly three-quarters of those already buying sweet potatoes do so because they like the taste,
  • only 13% of buyers do so because of nutrition,
  • half all respondent are very unfamiliar with sweet potatoes and specifically those of US origin,
  • nearly 40% of respondents in France, 33% in Germany, 25% in Luxembourg, 21% in Belgium and 19% in the Netherlands buy or eat sweet potatoes at least once a month.

Benefits likely from promoting nutrition, origin
Overall, it was concluded that gains can be made in introducing sweet potatoes to those who currently never eat them, as well as increasing consumption frequency for those who do.

Other recommendations include:

  • given the survey suggests only about one in 8 of sweet potato consumers in Europe are motivated by health reasons, more effort should be made to promote the product’s unique nutritional values;
  • as familiarity with sweet potatoes increases with age, raising product awareness among younger consumers should provide a beneficial spillover into older age groups;
  • origin is a purchasing consideration for just one in ten respondents so communicating the differentiating traits of US sweet potatoes would be worthwhile.

US sweet potatoes “poised to grow sharply”

Jerry Hingle, president and CEO of Louisiana–based International Trade Associates, serving as ASPMI’s Export Program Manager, said it was interesting that taste more than nutrition was cited as the reason for purchasing sweet potatoes.

“Although sweet potatoes certainly taste fabulous, we also have a compelling story to tell as to their nutritional value – low saturated fat, low glycemic index, high fibre, high in vitamins, etc. – and plan to weave this into our messaging over the coming year.

“As European consumers become more health conscious, we think demand for US sweet potatoes is poised to grow sharply if we help bring the nutritional message to them,” he said.

The majority of America’s sweet potatoes are grown in the south, with North Carolina one of the top growing states.

ASPMI started promoting US sweet potatoes in Europe last July with Canada and possibly Mexico to be part of the marketing campaign.




source: survey of European consumers conducted by World Perspectives, Inc. for American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute (ASPMI).

This report appeared on p146 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.

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Slight growth in US banana imports


Guatemala remains top US banana source

US banana imports inched up just under 1% last year to nearly 4.9 million tons, with Guatemala remaining the top supplier.
Figures from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) also show that compared to 2013, the biggest growth was in imports from Peru, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, while the totals from Panama, Colombia and Honduras fell.


2012 tons

2013 tons

2014 tons

% 14-13











Costa Rica








































El Salvador











Guatemala, which has a competitive edge thanks to its proximity to the US, was the source of nearly 36% of total US banana imports, followed by Ecuador with 18.5% and Costa Rica with 16.9%.

Banana imports 2014.png

US imports of agricultural products from Guatemala totaled US$1.8 billion in 2013 with leading categories including bananas and plantains ($729 million), coffee (unroasted) ($411 million), fresh fruit (excluding bananas) ($182 million), and processed fruit and vegetables ($108 million).

US banana production is very limited, with Hawaii by far its largest banana producer.