US sales of organic fresh produce up by 11%
Chilean cherry shipments to China surge
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution
Chilean fruit exports were up by 1% in volume and 4% in value during the first 4 months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, with China the main market for the goods. Total fruit shipments reached 1.45 million tons and were worth just over US$3.5 billion FOB, according to data published by the Chilean Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (PASO). Three products (cherry, grapes and blueberries) accounted for 83% of the total value of fresh fruit exports.
Rise in fruit sales in US
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution
April 2021 retail sales of fresh fruit in the US were up from last year’s already high level, but vegetable sales dropped. Fruit sales in the four weeks up to April 25th were up 1.5% Y-O-Y, despite, while vegetable sales slumped by 8.8%. The value of sales in the fresh produce department overall slipped by 3.6%. Nevertheless, compared to the 2019 pre-pandemic level, fresh produce sales at retail were up 10.3%, according to IRI data cited in a joint report by IRI, 210 Analytics and the PMA.
Spanish fruit imports climb
Spain’s fresh produce imports grew by 6% YoY in February, with the volume reaching 289,444 tons, according to FEPEX data. In value terms, imports rose by 5% to €273m. Fruit imports were the key drivers reaching 147,000 tons, for a value of €198.4m (+11% and 15% respectively). The strongest growth was recorded for kiwi imports (+107% in volume; +110% in value) and pineapples (+10% in volume).
Japan’s fruit imports hit by container shortfall
© Réussir Fruits et Légumes
Japanese imports of fresh fruit dropped 8% y-o-y to 112,100 tons during February 2021. The reason for the fall is attributed to the global reefer container shortage. US imports were the worst affected, with lemon shipments down 56%, oranges and tangerines down 50%, kiwis down 38% and grapefruits down 32%. However, avocado imports (mainly from Mexico) in January and February 2021 were up 8% y-o-y to 11,900 tons.
Amazon India designs machine-learning grading solution for fresh produce
Rajeev Rastogi, vice president, machine learning, Amazon India © Amazon
Amazon is developing a computer vision-based grading solution for fruits and vegetables in India. According to Business Standard, the machine learning-based approach analyses produce images to detect defects such as cuts, cracks and pressure damage. It can perform millions of assessments per day at a cost far below any other method, said an Amazon representative.
Promising research on bioplastic from fruit waste
Photo: Cristián Valdés Biochemist in charge of the project - FIA
Chilean researchers are working to create packaging containers for fruits for export to Europe and Asia using apple, pear, grape, peach and tomato waste. The initiative is promoted by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA) and executed by the Universidad Católica del Maule, with support from the Foundation for Fruit Development (FDF) and San Jorge Packaging.