The 2013 value of fresh fruit and fresh vegetable imports increased at respective rates of 11% and 15%. In contrast, the value of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable exports rose at corresponding rates of 3% and 11%, according to the USDA.
Total U.S. fresh vegetable imports totaled $6.75 billion in 2013, more than double exports of $2.39 billion. U.S. fruit imports topped $9.2 billion in 2013, compared with $5.05 billion in exports.
Bananas/plantains, with $2.15 billion in import value in 2013, accounted for 23% of all U.S. fresh fruit imports. Value of banana imports was up 3% and volume was 5% higher compared with 2012, according to the USDA.
At 30% of total U.S. fresh vegetable imports, tomatoes accounted for $1.97 billion in U.S. import value in 2013, up 6% compared with 2012. Volume was unchanged.
Imported commodities with better than double-digit growth in value in 2013 included grapes (14%), avocados (27%), citrus (26%), cucumbers (24%), asparagus (34%) and mangoes (25%).
U.S. exports of fresh fruit rose 3% in value and 1% in volume in 2013, while U.S. fresh vegetable exports rose 11% in value and 2% in volume.
Top U.S. fresh produce exports with better than 10% gains in value included grapes (14%), onions/shallots (17%), and lemons/limes (37%).
The top U.S. fresh fruits exported by value in 2013 were apples, followed by grapes, berries and oranges/tangerines.
Fresh apples, with $1.11 billion in export sales in 2013, accounted for 22% of total U.S. fresh fruit exports of $5.05 billion. For the year, the USDA said apple exports were up 3% in value and 2% in volume.
Fresh grapes showed strong growth in 2013, with $912 million in export value up 14% compared with 2012. Volume of U.S. grape exports was up 16% in 2013, and grapes represented 18% of total U.S. fresh exports.
Exports of U.S. berries gained 5% in both volume and value in 2013, at $754 million — 15% of all fresh fruit exports.