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U.S. apple production to exceed 10.5 billion pounds

Chris Gerlach
Chris Gerlach

Consumers will have a plentiful supply of apples in 2023, as the U.S. apple industry continues to perform well, according to a new report released by the U.S. Apple Association at the organization’s 128th annual Outlook Conference in Chicago.

USApple’s Industry Outlook 2023 provides the most up-to-date data and analysis on U.S. and global apple production, utilization and trade. Authored by USApple Director of Industry Analytics Chris Gerlach, the report takes an in-depth look at the trends and forces — from political headwinds to weather events — that shape the U.S. apple industry.

Overall Production
According to USApple’s analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, total U.S. apple production for the 2023-24 crop year will be 250 million bushels. This represents a 1.5 percent increase compared to last year’s production figure.

These figures are more comprehensive than USDA data, which only look at the top seven apple-producing states. USApple analyzes the production from states outside of the top seven and adds that back into USDA’s figure.

“With considerable increases and decreases from top apple producing states, we’re pleased to net out with national apple production that will not only meet last year’s figure but exceed it slightly — there will certainly be plenty of high-quality U.S. apples available to consumers,” said Gerlach.

Varieties
At the varietal level, Gala is expected to retain the top spot with more than 45 million bushels produced, accounting for around 18 percent of the U.S. apple market. Included in the top five this year are Other Varieties. After Gala, rounding out the top five are Red Delicious (31 million bushels), Honeycrisp (28 million bushels), Other Varieties (25 million bushels) and Fuji (25 million bushels). Granny Smith just missed number five with 24.6 million bushels.

Seeing Other Varieties climb and make it into the top five produced varieties is an illustration of consumers’ growing appetite for all different types of apples.

“We learned today during an Outlook 2023 presentation that 48 percent of consumers say they generally buy the same variety of apple every time they shop,” said Gerlach. “That means 52 percent of shoppers might be willing to make an apple purchase based on different attributes, like flavor, appearance, and store promos. With an almost 50-50 split, there are opportunities for growers to harness consumers’ love of a familiar favorite or to sell them something new.”

Though Red Delicious remains the second-most-produced apple, its production has declined steeply over five years. Red Delicious decreased by 42 percent or 23 million bushels compared to 2018-19 production volumes. Conversely, Honeycrisp production has increased by 46 percent or almost 9 million bushels during the same period.

Trade
Fresh apple exports totaled 36.2 million bushels in 2022 — a 7 percent decline over 2021 levels. At the same time, fresh apple imports also decreased by nearly 13 percent to 5.3 million bushels.

While the U.S. still maintains a healthy net positive balance of trade, there is much work needed to get back to the high-water mark set in 2018. In that year, total exports were 48.5 million bushels and the trade balance was 41.6 million bushels.

“With the recent news that India has lifted its 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. apples, we’re hoping to see that export number start to increase as we build back that critical market,” said Gerlach.

State Production
At the state level, Washington will remain the nation’s top producer with an estimated crop of 160 million bushels valued at more than $2 billion. This production level represents a 9 percent increase from the 2022-23 crop year. Following their largest ever recorded crop last year, Michigan is projected to decrease production by more than 15 percent to 27.4 million bushels. It is expected, however, that they will hold on to the number two spot ahead of New York as that state was hit with a late-spring frost causing production to fall by almost 19 percent to 26.2 million bushels.

Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and Oregon round out the top producing apple states respectively.

Newton
Launched at last year’s Outlook, USApple’s Newton Database & Dashboard is a one-stop-shop for apple-related statistics. Newton consolidates data from USApple and multiple USDA sources in to one place giving users up-to-date information on apple production, utilization, trade, prices, storages, movement, economic impacts and more. This unique USApple member benefit gives users the ability to view preset reports or create custom queries for download.

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