Posts Tagged “vegetable volume”

Per Capita Use of Fresh Vegetables in U.S. Shows a Decline

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DSCN3922New USDA estimates say U.S. per capita use of fresh vegetables dipped 5 percent in 2013 and imports claimed a record share of the total supply.

Preliminary numbers show per-capita use of fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes and melons) in the U.S. totaled 138.8 pounds in 2013, down 5 percent from 145.5 pounds in 2012 and off 5 percent from 146.8 pounds in 2000, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.  That preliminary number is the lowest per-capita use of fresh vegetables since 1998’s tally of 136.1 pounds.

Imports accounted for a record 27.3 percent of fresh vegetable use in the U.S. in 2013, up from 25.1 percent in 2012 and double the import share of 13.2 percent in 2000. U.S. vegetable exports accounted for 7.1 percent of the domestic supply, up from 7 percent in 2012, but down from 7.8 percent in 2000.

The report reflects a decline in most of the major fresh vegetables tracked in 2013 compared with the previous year, including tomatoes (-3 percent to 19.6 pounds), head lettuce (-12 percent to 12.5 pounds), carrots (-4 percent to 7.6 pounds), bell peppers (-10 percent to 10.3 pounds) and sweet corn (-4 percent to 7.4 pounds). Other less consumed vegetables also showed declines, including asparagus (-5 percent to 1.6 pounds) and snap/green beans (-5 percent to 1.7 pounds).

Fresh vegetables that showed stable per-capita use included cabbage (7.1 pounds) and cauliflower (1.2 pounds).

Fresh potato and broccoli per-capita use was higher in 2013, according to the USDA.

Broccoli rose 8 percent from 6.3 pounds in 2012 to 6.8 pounds in 2013, while potato per-capita use in 2013 rose 5 percent to 36.1 pounds.

The change in per-capita use doesn’t mean that much for a single year, said Desmond O’Rourke, president of Belrose Inc., Pullman, Wash.  Weather events and yield differences can create swings, he said. O’Rourke said USDA Agricultural Marketing Service shipment data shows 2013 vegetable volume was flat compared with 2012, though the USDA includes pumpkins in their total volume numbers for vegetables.

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