New data is shedding light on where increased U.S. per capita consumption is coming from with fruit. Also, organic produce continues to show increasing popularity
Apples, some citrus varieties, blueberries and tropical fruit, have given a boost to U.S. fresh fruit per capita use, which grew a strong 3 percent in 2016.
The USDA’s fruit yearbook report revealed that total fresh fruit per capita consumption in 2016 was rated at 116.05 pounds, up 3 percent from 112.5 pounds in 2015.
2016 fresh citrus per capita use rose 6 percent to 24.02 pounds, up from 22.73 pounds in 2016. Fresh non-citrus per capita use was pegged at 92.03 pounds, 2 percent higher than 89.81 pounds in 2015.
2016 per capita use of fresh fruit commodities, with percent changed compared with 2015:
- Lemons, 4.15 pounds (+15%);
- Limes, 3.48 pounds (+15%);
- Mangoes, 2.96 (+14%);
- Blueberries, 1.77 pounds (+10%);
- Papayas, 1.43 pounds (+8%);
- Apples, 18.55 pounds (+7%);
- Oranges, 9.17 pounds (+6%);
- Pineapples, 7.28 pounds (+4%);
- Strawberries, 8.03 pounds (+4%);
- Pears, 2.76 (+4%);
- Grapes, 8.08 pounds (+3%);
- Tangerines, 5.28 pounds (+1%);
- Avocados, 7.08 pounds (-2%);
- Bananas, 27.55 pounds (-2%);
- Peaches, 2.86 (-5%); and
- Grapefruit, 1.94 pounds (-13%)
Study Shows Growth of Organics
A Nielsen Co. study shows organic produce grew 9 percent in dollars year-over-year and represented a 10 percent share of total produce as of last summer.
Consumers are said to be buying larger packages of organic berries, instead of smaller containers such as pints. Increase they are buying more 18-ounce to 2-pound containers.
Prepackaged salads continue to lead organic sales, with 3 percent year-on-year growth in 2017.
Consumers continue to seek out healthy meal alternatives such as kale, colored carrots, green cabbage and broccoli, with a mix of flavors and textures. Lettuce and berries continue to dominate the organic sales, combining for nearly a 30 percent sales increase in the U.S.
Apples and spinach are the next largest organic categories, with 9 and 8 pecent of sales.
Overall, only 14 categories make up 80 percent of organic produce sales, compared to 20 categories within the conventional space.
Such commodities as limes, cherries, beets, avocados, beans and lemons had 20 to 30 percent growth over the previous year, even though those items account for only 4 pecent of organic produce sales.
Larger categories also are growing. Among those, organic berries grew 29 percent year over year. Blackberries and blueberries are growing at a quicker rate (46 and 35 percent, respectively) than strawberries (26 percent). Organic bananas and apples are also growing, at 18 and 12 percent, respectively.
In Washington state, there is projected to be 50 percent more organic apples over the next season, an increase another 100 percent over the next two years. Apples are considered one of the easier crops to grow organically.