Strawberries are a valuable crop in the United States and Latin America, and growers are expanding production to meet increasing consumer demand.
California is the leading strawberry producer in the US, followed by Florida and North Carolina. Production thrives in these regions because the climate allows for year-round growing.
Mexico is the largest strawberry-producing country in Latin America, followed by Brazil, Peru and Colombia. These countries have an advantage in production costs due to low labor wages and the availability of cheap land.
Domestic strawberry production accounted for 78.0% of the total US market in 2022.
Despite this, the country imports large quantities of strawberries, primarily from Mexico. During the low season for US domestic production, which runs from April to June, Mexico meets consumer demand with an increase in its export volume, which is mainly concentrated from December to May.
In 2022, the US imported 232,130 metric tons of conventional strawberries, a decrease of 3.2% compared to the previous year. However, this was a massive increase compared to 2020, when only 129,059 metric tons were imported.
Strawberry prices have fluctuated over the last three years (2020-2022), peaking in November 2022 at $29.85.
Typically, prices are higher at the end of the year, but as the season progresses, prices decrease considerably, dropping below $10.00 per package.
In 2021, Mexico experienced a slight decrease of 2.5% in strawberry production, with a volume of 543,434 metric tons compared to 557,514 metric tons produced in 2020.
In 2021, Mexico exported 355,934 metric tons of strawberries or 65% of total production. Most of these exports were destined for the United States and represented a massive boost from 2019, when 286,915 tons (33% of total output) were exported.
In 2022, premium strawberries sold in Mexico raised their average annual price to 1.50 dollars per pound, representing growth of 8.3% over the previous year, when the average price was 1.38 dollars per pound.
However, the price of strawberries varied throughout the year, with the highest prices in December, reaching 1.67 dollars per pound, and the lowest in March, at 1.31 dollars per pound. The difference between both months was significant, with a product value variation of 0.91 dollars.
Strawberry production in Central and South America is concentrated in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Brazil is the region’s largest grower, producing 197,000 metric tons in 2021.
In the last three years, Brazil has lowered its share of regional production to 49%, while Colombia has decreased to 22%, and Peru has grown its share to 9%.
Other countries also contribute significantly to the total production volume, harvesting around 80,000 tons per year in recent years.
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Sources: USDA-AMS, FAO-FAOSTAT, SADER-SIAP, SE-SNIIM
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