Bananas -excluding plantains- avocados and grapes, are the US’ three most popular imported fruits. Collectively they represent 44.6% of the value of all fresh or dried fruits imported into the United States during 2018.
Overall US demand totaled US$15.2 billion worth of non-frozen fruits imported during 2018. That dollar amount equals a 32.4% increase from the value of America’s imported fruits during 2014 and a 3.7% year-over-year uptick from 2017 to 2018.
In contrast, exported fruits from the US were valued at $6.6 billion–less than half of America’s total spent on fruits imported from 115 countries or territories around the globe. Thus the US incurred a formidable -$8.6 billion trade deficit in the international trade of fruits for 2018.
America’s most popular imported fruits
The following list showcases the top 15 imported fresh or dried fruits most in demand by Americans. Combined, these 15 fruit categories represent 87.4% of the overall value of US-imported fruits.
- Bananas: US$2.6 billion (17% of US-imported fruits)
- Avocados: $2.4 billion (16.1%)
- Fresh grapes: $1.7 billion (11.5%)
- Fresh cranberries, bilberries: $1.2 billion (8.2%)
- Fresh raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, loganberries: $1138.5 million (7.5%)
- Pineapples: $726 million (4.8%)
- Lemons, limes: $651.6 million (4.3%)
- Guavas, mangoes: $637.3 million (4.2%)
- Fresh strawberries: $609.5 million (4%)
- Melons not watermelons: $402.9 million (2.6%)
- Watermelons: $359.1 million (2.4%)
- Mandarins including tangerines: $309.6 million (2%)
- Oranges: $244.1 million (1.6%)
- Plantains: $235 million (1.5%)
- Apples: $226 million (1.5%)
Fastest-growing among the top 15 categories from 2014 to 2018 were fresh cranberries and bilberries (up 84.7%), fresh raspberries, blackberries and similar berries (up 83.7%), lemons and limes (up 65.1%), oranges (up 60.1%), fresh strawberries (up 56.3%) then avocados (up 52.7%).
On the other hand, the value of fresh apples imported into the United States fell by -20.3% over the five-year period.
Top Suppliers by continent and country
Latin America including Mexico plus the Caribbean furnished over four-fifths (81.3%) of the imported fruits that Americans consume. Asia placed a distant second accounting for 11.3% of US imported fruits.
Smaller percentages were sourced from Africa (2.8%), Europe (1.3%) and Oceania (1.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia. Closer to home, North American trade partner Canada (2.1%) also helped satisfy Americans’ hunger for fresh or dried imported fruits.
Listed below in descending order are the top 10 countries that supplied 87.4% of total fruits imported by America in 2018.
- Mexico: US$5.9 billion (38.7% of US-imported fruits)
- Chile: $2 billion (13%)
- Guatemala: $1.2 billion (7.8%)
- Vietnam: $1 billion (6.9%)
- Peru: $977 million (6.4%)
- Costa Rica: $928.9 million (6.1%)
- Ecuador: $420.9 million (2.8%)
- Honduras: $353.6 million (2.3%)
- Canada: $325.2 million (2.1%)
- Colombia: $195.3 million (1.3%)
Leading US imported fruits from Mexico are avocados and strawberries. Grapes and blueberries are the most valuable fruits shipped to America from Chile and Peru. Bananas top the list of fruits imported from Guatemala, Ecuador and Honduras.
American imports of fresh tamarinds, lychees and passion fruit top the list of fruits imported from Vietnam. Pineapples and bananas represent the most lucrative fruits for suppliers in Costa Rica.