Mexico exported more strawberries than any other country in 2020, knocking Spain off its perch.
Strawberry exports raised over US $851 million last year, an increase of 12.4% on 2019.
Spain had held top spot for more than two decades, but saw only $646 million in international sales in 2020. The United States was in third place with $477 million.
The Mexican strawberry industry is dependent on U.S. demand: of all its strawberry exports last year, 99.3% went to the United States, which is the world’s biggest importer.
Spain largely exports to other European countries.
The Mexican market overcame obstacles caused by the Covid-19 pandemic such as the availability of manpower and the near disappearance of the food service industry, to which 15% of the fruit is normally sold.
Demand remained robust amid producer fears that wider unemployment would make strawberries less attainable for consumers, because they are considered an impulse buy.
In fact, the pandemic contributed to a rise in purchases of foods that are perceived as healthy, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. U.S. government contributions to unemployment checks and the one-time payment to taxpayers also helped support demand.
Mexico’s strawberry market eclipsed the Belgian market in 2012, the Dutch in 2016, and the U.S. market in 2019.
Source: El Economista (sp)