U.S. imports of berries, peppers spike in 2012
February 28, 2013

Berries, peppers and cucumbers were among the fastest-rising U.S. fresh produce imports by value for 2012.

U.S. imports of peppers and cucumbers rose sharply, but the value of tomato imports dropped double digits percentage-wise in 2012, according to U.S. trade data.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade statistics showed tomato imports totaled $1.86 billion in 2012, down 13% from $2.14 billion in 2011. Total U.S. imports of fresh vegetables tallied $5.87 billion, nearly unchanged from 2011.

Mexico provided the lion’s share of U.S. fresh vegetable imports, accounting for $4.1 billion of U.S. fresh vegetable imports in 2012, or about 69% of all imports. Mexico’s share of U.S. tomato imports was 85%.

U.S. imports of peppers rose 15% in 2012, totaling $1.07 billion, compared with $933 million in 2011. The value of U.S. cucumber imports also rose strongly, accounting for $492 million in 2012, up 27% from 2011. Asparagus imports, at $440 million in 2012, were about 1% higher than 2011. Mexico supplied 72% of both U.S. fresh pepper and cucumber imports, and 49% of asparagus imports in 2012.

Imports of berries (excluding strawberries) totaled $1.76 billion in 2012, up 15% from 2011. Within the fresh berry category, imports of cultivated blueberries were up 11%, with raspberries up 36%.

Strawberry imports (combined fresh and frozen) totaled $497 million, 36% higher than 2011 imports.

U.S. imports of bananas/plantains tallied $2.08 billion in 2012, up 5% from 2011.

Top ten U.S. fresh fruit imports ($millions)                                            2011      2012       Change
Bananas/plantains    1,983     2,084      +5% Berries (ex straw)       1,022      1,176     +15% Grapes                           1,034      1,044     +1% Avocados                     912            860         -6% Pineapples                   494         536         +9% Citrus                            515         502          -3% Strawberries                365         497         +36% Melons                         474         470        -1% Mangoes                      343         376       +10% Apples                          133         168      +23%
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