(Article source: FreshFruitPortal.com)
In this ‘in charts’ series of mini-articles, Colin Fain of data visualization tool Agronometrics illustrates how the U.S. market is evolving. In each series, he will look at a different fruit commodity, focusing on a different origin or topic in each installment to see what factors are driving change.
Of the 23 commodities we track in Agronometrics, lemons have seen the second-highest percentage growth, sending 80% more fruit in 2017 than in 2010.
By this measure, lemons outgrew all the berries, avocados, kiwis, cherries and the list goes on, the only other commodity that grew more, as a percentage of 2010, were guavas, which only offered U.S. consumers 24 million pounds in 2017, about 10% of the volume moved the same year by lemons.
Lemon movements in pounds
When you look at growth on the scale that we are seeing with lemons, the first question that should come up is how did the prices react? Surprisingly, it looks like U.S. consumers can’t get enough of this yellow citrus. Where in 2010 the average yearly price hovered right around US$22.00, in 2017 the average was close to US$35.00.
Lemon shipping point prices, 7/10 bushel cartons, in USD
The seasonality of the industry is well-defined, consistently demanding more fruit in the summer and fall which is mostly supplied by Chile and Mexico.
U.S. lemon monthly movements in pounds – comparing the last four years
Correspondingly, the largest supplier to the U.S. market is Mexico, which in 2017 supplied 45% of the market. However, the greatest growth with 180% since 2010 has come from Chile, who came in a close second with 37% of the market.
US lemon movements in pounds, 2017 – comparing origins
As prices over the last three years have been highest in June and July – when Chile is most prevalent – I would expect that we can continue to see more growth from the Southern Hemisphere. Argentina, which has just recently been given permission to enter the market, may play a big roll in the future. So far this year they have sent volumes right in late May and early June – a great space that they can capitalize on in seasons to come.
Lemon monthly shipping point prices, 7/10 bushel cartons, in USD – comparing the last four years