Avocado Unseats Banana As America's Top Fruit Import

Last year, avocados accounted for 15% of the United States' total fruit imports by value.

Some avocado wholes and halves.

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Some avocado wholes and halves.

Photo by: eugenef ©eugenef

eugenef, eugenef

Pity the humble banana. The trendy-on-toast avocado has unseated it as the United State’s most-valuable fruit import. Because of course it has.

Last year, avocados accounted for 15 percent of total fruit-import sales, which were a record $18.1 billion, the global produce site FreshFruitPortal.com reports. That means that, in 2017, supermarket buyers across the U.S. snapped up $2.72 billion worth of imported avocados — the vast majority of them grown in Mexico. That’s $200 million more than the amount they spent on bananas in 2017 and $800 million more than the amount they spent on avocados in 2016, according to ExtraCrispy.

On the bright side for bananas, the yellow fruit is still the leading fruit import in terms of volume, if not value, rising 54 percent in 2017 — after a decline in 2016 — to 4.8 million metric tons, according to statistics published by ITC Trade Map.

In fact, volume-wise, avocados, while they rose 10 percent in 2017, to 900,186 metric tons, are only in third place. Pineapples sneaked in right behind bananas; the U.S. saw 1.15 million metric tons of pineapples imported in 2017.

The third most valuable fruit import in the U.S. for 2017, just after the avocado and the banana, is grapes, which rose 3 percent to $1.7 billion.

And while imports of raspberries and blackberries, pineapples, mangoes, strawberries, lemons and limes, and mandarins all rose in 2017, FreshFruitPortal.com reports, blueberries and melons were down.

So maybe forget the banana, and pity the poor blueberries and melons instead.

Photo: iStock

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