Posted on

$161 billion of food wasted each year

$161 billion of food wasted each year

A report published by the USDA estimates the annual wastage of food to be at over $161 billion at the retail and consumer stage of the supply chain, with 30% of losses in fruits and vegetables occurring in the earlier stages of the chain. One factor impacting food loss is price volatility. When prices fall below production costs, it becomes unprofitable for growers to advance produce through the supply chain. When prices go up, growers may be incentivised to send products of lower cosmetic quality to market, which can then lead to increased loss further down the supply chain. Other influencing factors include labour costs, the availability of cold-chain infrastructure, aesthetic standards, consumer preferences, contract requirements, and policies related to the harvest and marketing of fresh produce.

Posted on

USDA Opens Registration for 2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum

USDA Opens Registration for 2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum


Registration is now open for the 96th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), the largest annual meeting and premiere event of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The two-day Forum will take place on Feb. 20-21, 2020, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

The 2020 Forum, themed “The Innovation Imperative: Shaping the Future of Agriculture”, will feature more than 30 sessions covering topics such as innovations in agriculture, global trade trends, food loss and waste, frontiers in conservation, and the science of food safety. In addition, USDA Chief Economist will unveil the Department’s outlook for U.S. commodity markets and trade in 2020 and discuss the U.S. farm income situation.

An exhibit hall will showcase resources from USDA agencies and private organisations. The 2020 Forum’s programme will be announced at the beginning of November.

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum began in 1923 to distribute and interpret national forecasts to farmers in the field. The goal was to provide the information developed through economic forecasting to farmers so they had the tools to read market signals and avoid producing beyond demand. Since then, the Forum has developed into a unique platform where key stakeholders from the agricultural sector in the United States and around the world come together every year to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector. On average, 1,600 people attend the Forum each year.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum, organised by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist together with other USDA agencies, is independent of commercial interests and aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that leads to well-functioning open markets.


Posted on

Recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake costs around $2.50 in US

Recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake costs around $2.50 in US

A USDA food consumption survey found that US citizens are consuming only 0.9 cups of fruit and 1.4 cups of vegetables per day. This is well below the recommendation to include 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables in their daily diets. The main cause of this deficiency is thought to be cost, with low-income households particularly affected.

It was found that 8 out of 62 fresh and processed fruits cost less than 40 cents per cup in 2016, while another 21 fruits cost less than 80 cents per cup. The cheapest fruits per cup were fresh whole watermelon (20 cents) and processed apple juice (26 cents), while the most expensive were found to be fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and canned cherries.

Vegetables tended to be more affordable than fruits, with 77% of vegetables and only 47% of fruits costing less than 80 cents per cup. The cheapest fresh and processed vegetables were heads of Romaine lettuce, fresh whole carrots, canned green beans and dried pinto beans, which all cost less than 40 cents per cup in 2016 – in fact, dried pinto beans cost 17 cents per cup. The most expensive vegetable was found to be fresh asparagus, at $2.47 per cup, at $0.17 per cup equivalent.

The study found that 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables could be obtained in 2016 for about $2.10 to $2.60 as part of a 2,000-calorie diet.

Posted on

Morocco’s orange exports continue their ascent

Morocco’s orange exports are expected to reach around 120,500 tons in the 2016/17 marketing year – up 29% from 92,246 tons in 2015/16 – as increased availability allows it to meet growing demand from Russia and the EU, according to a new GAIN report.

Morocco’s orange exports are expected to reach around 120,500 tons in the 2016/17 marketing year – up 29% from 92,246 tons in 2015/16 – as increased availability allows it to meet growing demand from Russia and the EU, according to a new GAIN report.

The report says the country will likely also benefit from an expected decline in citrus exports from Spain due to quality issues caused by overabundant, late rainfall there.

In 2015/16, the EU and Russia bought 73% of Morocco’s orange exports, which were mainly (66%) Maroc Late oranges.

Morocco’s orange production should increase by 4% over the previous year to 962,250 tons, according to estimates by a USDA post in the country.

Much of that rise in production will be due to increases in the area harvested, as younger trees begin to bear fruit, the GAIN report says.

Source: Gain report 1617, Dec 14, 2016, 2016 Morocco Citrus Annual Report
Orange image: Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain licence

Posted on

Russia’s 2015/16 apple imports fell 9% to 741,000 tons

The world’s largest apple importer, Russia, imported 741,357 tons of apples valued at $379.5 million in 2015/16, a 9% decrease in volume on MY2014/15, according to a new USDA Gain report.

The world’s largest apple importer, Russia, imported 741,357 tons of apples valued at $379.5 million in 2015/16, a 9% decrease in volume on MY2014/15, according to a new USDA Gain report.

And in the 2016/17 marketing year, Russian apple imports are expected to decline by 3% to 720,000 tons, it says.

Russia’s main apple suppliers in MY 2015/16 were Belarus (221,908 tons), Serbia (198,892 tons) and China (113,923 tons). Moldova became its fourth largest supplier, doubling its exports to 57,206 tons.

Officially, Russian importers are importing apples from suppliers that are not subject to its counter sanctions affecting agricultural products originating from the US, Canada, the EU, Australia and Norway.

“However, the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has repeatedly detected shipments of fresh produce from various banned origins.

“Since August 2014, Rosselkhoznadzor has detected more than 1,085 illegal shipments. In many cases, these shipments transited through Belarus with counterfeit phytosanitary certificates from countries like Albania, Chile, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Egypt and the Republic of South Africa,” the report says.

In November 2015, President Vladimir Putin issued a decree also banning imports of Turkish apples, grapes, pears and other agricultural products.

“Tighter border controls will increase the cost of imported apples, and with more locally produced fruit available on the market, budget conscious consumers are expected to curb spending on imported fruit, the report says.

Source: GAIN Report RF1666, 11/1/2016 Russian Federation: Continuing Countersanctions Propel Growth in Domestic Production (Annual Fresh Deciduous Fruit Report)

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

Dried berries driving growth in US cranberry exports

America’s cranberry farmers are in the homestretch of the harvest in what looks to be another banner year for US cranberry production, reports the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

America’s cranberry farmers are in the homestretch of the harvest in what looks to be another banner year for US cranberry production, reports the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

A bountiful crop of 8.59 million barrels or 390,000 tons is forecast for 2016 and just over a third of it will be exported to long-established markets in Europe and Canada, and also newer markets in Mexico, South Korea and China, it said in the report Cranberries: No Longer Just an American Tradition.

But it is dried rather than fresh cranberries that are driving growth in US cranberry exports.

“Demand growth for cranberries is tied to the popularization of sweetened, dried cranberries with strongest demand growth from markets with increasing populations and per capita income,” the report says.

EU tariff concerns

Cranberries are native to North America. The US is the world’s top cranberry producer and top supplier of cranberries to the EU, which is its biggest market for this product.

Processed cranberry exports surged in 2011 when the EU waived a 17.6% import duty on dried cranberries.

“The duty suspension for processed cranberries is up for review by the EU in 2017, but the trading landscape has changed. On October 30, 2016, Canada and the EU signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will eliminate and reduce tariffs between the EU and Canada. Canada is the second largest producer and exporter of cranberries, and through CETA, Canada has secured permanent duty-free access for processed cranberry exports to the EU.

“Also, Chile—the third largest producer of cranberries globally— signed a trade agreement with the EU and has had permanent duty free access since 2012.”

However, the US does not have such a free trade agreement in place with Europe.

“If the EU does not renew the duty suspension on US cranberries, US producers and exporters will have a more difficult time competing with Canada and Chile to service the largest market for processed cranberries,” the report says.

Source: Cranberries: No Longer Just an American Tradition, November 22, 2016 International Agricultural Trade Reports
Cranberry harvest image: USDA Agricultural Research Service


Posted on

Taiwan’s apple imports to decline slightly, says USDA

apples ed flrck

Taiwan’s apple imports for the 2016/17 marketing year are forecast to total 160,000 tons, down 5% on last year’s record 169,000 tons, reports the USDA.

“A decline in price competitiveness of imported apples, compared with other imported fruit, and weak economic growth, are reasons for the lower import estimate,” it says.

Furthermore, a “strong harvest in the state of Washington will help the United States to remain Taiwan’s leading apple supplier according to industry sources.”

Taiwan’s domestic apple production continues to decline and currently meets less than 1% of domestic demand.

Apples are Taiwan’s leading imported fruit, and the US is the leading supplier with about 31%  of the import market share.

Fuji remains the most popular variety accounting for nearly 90 percent of imports.

source: Taiwan’s Apple Imports Forecast to Decline Slightly


Posted on

Key role for greengrocers in Bulgaria’s retail market

Bulgaria’s retail market is seeing an emerging wave of small specialised stores for fruit and vegetables.

Bulgaria’s retail market is seeing an emerging wave of small specialised stores for fruit and vegetables.

Along with those for dairy and meat products, these stores focus on consumer convenience and the need for fresh, local, and organic food of high quality – something which so far has not been the strongpoint of the country’s modern retailers.

A USDA Gain report also says fresh produce grocery retailers seem to be the only category which was not heavily harmed by the economic crisis, thanks to the fact groceries are a necessity which can’t be cut from the family budget.

The report notes that the outlook in Bulgaria is for traditional retail to underperform compared to modern trade as large retailers plan to move towards densely populated town centers by opening convenient stores and smaller supermarkets. But it says one exception will be the small specialised stores for fruit, vegetables, and dairy and meat products, which focus on convenience and fresh produce.

Meanwhile, hypermarkets and discounters are forecast to keep growing fast in Bulgaria in 2016/17, with Kaufland and Lidl expected to hold leading positions and increase their market shares this year. Convenience stores are expected to be the third fastest growing channel for grocery retailers.

The retail sector’s leader is the German discounter Kaufland, which in 2015 held a market share estimated at 13.2%, followed by Metro with 7.1%, Lidl with 6.3%, and Billa with 5.5%. The only local player among the lead retailers is Fantastico, which currently operates 38 outlets situated only in the capital city Sofia.

A new player, the largest Macedonian food retail chain KAM, recently announced an ambitious plan to enter the Bulgarian market by opening 20-25 outlets by the end of 2016 and as many as 80 outlets by 2018. It will apply a ‘hard discount’ model. KAM’s current outlets import from Greece, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and other European countries. “KAM self-defines as the Macedonian version of Aldi and also aims to take as much of the share freed up after Penny’s withdrawal,” the report says.

Price consciousness dominates

Bulgarian consumers are known as traditionally price sensitive. The report says this is not surprising given Bulgaria is the EU country with the lowest GDP/capita. In recent years, retailers have thus striven to lower prices while maintaining quality in order to increase sales.

Consumer price consciousness is expected to dominate in the next few years due to projections for no significant improvement in job creation in medium term as well as negative predictions about the demographic situation and expectations for up to 3% decline of population, the report says. (The country’s population last year was around 7.2 million, according to

Value of Bulgaria’s retail market

The report says Bulgaria has been on the path to recovery since 2014 and reached annual growth of 3% in 2015. In 2015 GDP was U.S. $51 billion with a GDP per capita of $6,960. Real GDP growth is forecast to slightly decelerate to 2.1% in 2016 before picking up to 2.5% in 2017.

According to Euromonitor data and local sources, in 2015 the retail market was estimated at nearly 10 billion leva (U.S. $5.7 billion).

At the time of the Gain report’s preparation, the number of modern grocery outlets in Bulgaria stood at 4,225, which accounted for just over a tenth of all grocery retail outlets.

Last year, the sales in modern grocery retail reached almost BGN 5.4 billion (U.S. $3.05 billion) and held a combined market share of 55%, which is likely to slightly increase to 56% in 2016, and 57% in 2017.

The remaining 45% or almost BGN 4.4 billion (U.S. $2.5 billion) was held by almost 35,900 traditional grocery outlets throughout the country.

Source: GAIN Report Number: BU1624, dated 7/14/2016, Bulgaria Retail Market Update
Main image: The Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, by Klearchos Kapoutsis from Santorini, Greece (Plovdiv) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



Posted on

The EU’s fresh lemon imports rose 5% last year

While EU lemon trade with Russia suffered an important decline due to the Russian ban, recently, EU-28 citrus exports to new strategic markets such as North America and Asia are increasing to compensate the loss of the Russian market.

Lemon and lime imports into the EU – a net importer of lemons – reached 399,040 tons in the 2014/15 marketing year (November-October), a 5% rise on the previous year.

Argentina is by far the main source of these imports, alone accounting for a third of the total volume, says the USDA Gain report ‘EU-28 Citrus Semi-annual’.

After Argentina, the top suppliers to the European market are Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

However, the report highlights that intra-EU trade is critical to the sector, taking into account the volume of lemons produced in the Mediterranean EU states and the demand in EU States which are not lemon producers.

EU lemon exports

The EU exported 105,617 tons of fresh lemons and limes in 2014/15 – 5% more than the year before – with Switzerland (18%) and Belarus (16.5%) the main extra-EU destinations.

During the same marketing year, EU lemon exports to Russia suffered an important decline – 92% – due to the Russian ban. However, EU citrus exports to new strategic markets, such as North America, North Africa and Asia, have been increasing significantly recently, helping offset the loss of the Russian market.

The EU’s main lemon producer, Spain, exported 673,921 tons in 2014/15, of which 90% went to other EU countries.

Fresh lemon production in the EU

Figures for EU fresh lemon production have been revised down 1.9% from previous estimations and the EU lemon crop is now expected to reach 1.26 million tons in 2015/16, down 21% on the previous year due to a drop in Spanish lemon production.

The decline in Spain’s lemon production follows unfavorable weather in spring 2015, namely warm temperatures and lack of rain which affected the flowering and fruit set. Spain’s lemon crop is therefore expected to come in at about 744,800 tons, down 31.6% on the previous year but returning to more normal production parameters and with good quality. There will be a big reduction in the volume of lemons available for Spain’s processing industry.

Little change on last year is expected for the volume from the EU’s number two fresh lemon producer, Italy, whose crop is expected to total about 430,000 tons, but with better quality. “Moreover, no insect problems and the abundant rainfall made the lemons even juicier,” the report says.

The 2015/16 lemon production of the EU’s 3rd biggest grower, Greece, is expected to be up 7.7% on the previous year, while that of Portugal, which comes next, is projected at the same level as last year, with normal calibers and quality.

Most common lemon varieties in the EU

Fino is the dominant lemon variety in Spain, representing 70% of total production and favoured by processors. Verna, a tender and juicy variety with few seeds, currently represents the remaining 30% but because it offers higher profitability and less competition with Turkey, there is interest in replacing Fino with Verna so that the latter, at least in the short term, accounts for 40% of total production.

Femminello Commune (F. Zagara Bianca, F.Siracusano, F. S.Teresa), Monachello, and Interdonato are the main lemon varieties grown in Italy, while in Greece the main lemon variety is Maglini, which produces strongly aromatic fruit, with a quite sour juice, but the early variety Interdonato, and the varieties Verna and Eureka are also grown there.

Source: USDA Gain report SP1611 ‘EU-28 Citrus Semi-annual’, 6/15/2016
Lemon image: By André Karwath aka Aka – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,