In just over a week, families across the U.S. will be sitting down for a Thanksgiving meal that features turkey, mashed potatoes and a variety of other American staples. I know my family will be enjoying an apple pie made by my father, so I felt inspired to take a look into the current situation in the apple industry.
At the end of August, I took a quick look at projected apple numbers around the globe. In August, the U.S. Apple Association projected a 248.3 million 42-lb. carton crop for the 2017-2018 harvest season. The numbers represented an 8% drop from the year-ago period, but in the early going, holdings are up.
The association noted that for the fresh market, a total of 143.3 million cartons were held in storage as of Nov. 1, up 6% from a year ago and 15% more than the five-year average. Washington state made up about 88% of the total fresh supply, with about 125.6 million bushels. New York and Michigan accounted for about 5% and 4% of the total with about 6.9 million and 5.4 million bushels, respectively.
Broken down by variety:
Total processing holdings totaled 51.1 million bushels as of Nov. 1. The total was a 12% increase when compared to the same date in 2016. Additionally, it was a 17% increase from the five-year average for the date.
For what it's worth, apple sales only accounted for about 5.9% of total U.S. produce sales in September, according to Stemilt analysis of Nielsen Fresh Facts data. The total is down from the 6.5% reported in September 2016, reported The Packer (Nov. 7).
However, international sales are on the rise. Volume sales of Washington state apples on China-based Tmall grew more than 100% every year since 2013, according to the Washington Apple Commission. About two million cartons of apples are shipped to China each year, accounting for about 6% of the apples produced in the state, reported China Daily (Nov. 11).
To the north, Canadian apple production is expected to drop 8% to about 355,000 metric tons in the 2017-2018 harvest season, according to USDA. The U.S. is expected to continue accounting for 80% of Canada's fresh apple imports.
Chris is a business writer and market analyst that focuses on the Markets, Legal and Washington sections of the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He invites you to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about anything food-related.
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