A Snapshot of the Canadian Fruit Industry, 2009

Alternative Formats

Prepared by:
Market Analysis and Information Section
Horticulture and Special Crops Division
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
December 2010

Important Note: "A Snapshot of the Canadian Fruit Industry 2009" has been revised June 2011.


Overview of the Fruit Sector in Canada

A wide range of fruits are grown commercially in Canada, including apples, tender fruits (peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, prunes and cherries), grapes, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. A number of these fruits are native to Canada such as cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, saskatoons and the labrusca grape. Canada's fruit industry has adapted well to our cold climate and short growing seasons, with Southern Ontario and Southwest British Columbia, which enjoy about 180 frost-free days every year, producing much of the fruit grown in the country, while regions of Quebec and the Maritimes also have significant fruit production, despite having only about 120 frost-free days per year.

Table 1 - Fruit Farm Cash Receipts by Province [1]
Value ($ Million)
 200020012002200320042005200620072008200909/08
[1] Exclude nuts and melons
Source: Statistics Canada (Publication no. 21-011-X)
Newfoundland and Labrador 0.9 0.9 1.1 0.8 0.9 0.7 0.9 1.3 1.3 0.8 -38%
Prince Edward Island 4.9 3.5 3.1 4.5 5.9 6.3 7.6 10.3 9.1 5.8 -36%
Nova Scotia 45.9 30.4 34.7 46.8 45.1 52.8 60.7 47.6 47.0 35.5 -24%
New Brunswick 14.8 12.3 13.0 19.6 21.1 27.5 34.4 29.1 30.0 17.0 -43%
Quebec 95.5 100.2 89.4 97.3 112.3 120.0 179.7 136.1 182.0 156.0 -14%
Ontario 217.7 223.7 194.3 169.3 193.2 162.0 205.5 235.0 233.0 220.0 -6%
Manitoba 2.2 2.9 2.3 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.9 1.8 1.5 1.8 20%
Saskatchewan 1.7 1.7 2.2 1.5 1.3 1.6 1.5 1.3 1.3 1.5 15%
Alberta 2.5 2.5 2.7 2.1 2.5 1.8 1.8 1.8 2.1 2.5 19%
British Columbia 160.6 154.0 166.7 198.7 230.1 223.0 230.0 252.3 240.0 246.0 3%
Canada 547.0 532.0 509.5 542.4 614.1 597.1 724.0 716.5 747.3 686.9 -8%

In 2009, the Canadian fruit sector represented $687 million in farm cash receipts (excluding receipts from risk management and disaster programs), with $262 million coming from tree fruits and $424 million coming from small fruits. With $246 million in fruit farm cash receipts (FCR), British Columbia ranks as the number one fruit producing province, followed by Ontario ($220 million), Quebec ($156 million), Nova Scotia ($36 million), New Brunswick ($17 million) and Prince Edward Island ($6 million).

Table 2 - Fruit Farm Cash Receipts by Sector [1]
Value ($ Million)
 200020012002200320042005200620072008200909/08
[1] Exclude nuts and melons
Source: Statistics Canada (Publication no. 21-011-X).
Apples  192.6 181.2 153.1 146.3 148.4 147.2 148.6 162.0 177.2 174.8 -1%
Other tree fruits 67.9 76.8 74.3 86.4 81.2 79.0 92.9 90.8 81.6 87.4 7%
Blueberries NA 84.2 86.3 116.6 151.3 168.9 224.9 189.9 163.3 112.0 -31%
Grapes NA 74.7 77.1 55.8 82.4 54.7 94.1 111.1 119.5 115.5 -3%
Strawberries 53.6 55.9 52.4 53.5 56.9 58.7 60.8 60.6 61.3 68.0 11%
Other small fruits NA 59.2 66.4 83.8 93.9 88.7 102.8 102.1 144.4 128.9 -11%
Total 547.0 532.0 509.5 542.4 614.1 597.1 724.0 716.5 747.3 686.6 -8%

Apples are the number one fruit both in terms of production volume and value, representing 25% of total fruit FCR, followed by grapes and blueberries. Due to a rapid expansion of the blueberry industry in the last ten years, blueberries had taken the top spot in 2004 and continued to be the fruit generating the highest FCR up to 2007. The significant increases in blueberry production area that have occurred not only in North America (for both high bush and low bush blueberries) but also in South America (high-bush blueberries) have put considerable pressure on prices which have fallen sharply since 2007. As a result, blueberry FCR have fallen by more than 50% since 2006, putting an end to the continuous upward trend that the sector had been enjoying. Grapes are the third most important fruit crop in terms of value, followed by cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. British Columbia grows the most high-bush blueberries, sweet cherries and raspberries, while Ontario is the largest producer of apples, grapes and tender fruits and Quebec has the highest production of low-bush blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.

Figure 1. 2008 and 2009 Canadian Total Fruit Production

The description follows the image.

Source: Statistics Canada (Publication no. 22-003-X)

Description - Figure 1

The Canadian total fruit productions for 2008 and 2009 are expressed in metric tons.

 20082009
Apples 428,535 446,724
Grapes 83,075 74,758
Apricots 1,084 927
Peaches 28,808 23,428
Nectarines 2,585 2,707
Plums and Prunes 2,486 2,745
Cherries 13,848 23,460
Pears 10,911 8,698
Blueberries 95,663 102,792
Raspberries 12,152 12,685
Strawberries 20,403 19,612
Cranberries 72,688 86,779
Saskatoon berries 553 652

In 2009 fruit crops accounted for 297,000 acres in planted acreage (an increase of 2.4% from 2008). Approximately 55% of the total acreage was devoted to blueberry production, followed by apples at 17%, grapes at 10%, cranberries at 4.5% and strawberries at 3.7%.

Total fruit production in 2009 reached 793,000 metric tonnes, representing a 3% increase from the previous year. The leading fruit crops, in terms of production volume were apples (432,306 MT or 55% of total), blueberries (103,110 MT or 13% of total), cranberries (86,779 MT or 11% of total), grapes (77,941 MT, or 10% of total), peaches (23,428 MT, or 3% of total), strawberries (19,294 MT, 2.4%), cherries (23,446 MT or 3%) and raspberries (12,620 MT, 1.6% of total). Footnote 1

Canada is the second largest producer of blueberries and cranberries after the United States and the world's largest producer of low-bush blueberries. Planted acreage for both blueberries and cranberries has increased considerably in the last 5 years due to increased demand for these fruits as a result of strong marketing campaigns and a body of scientific evidence revealing their health benefits which have contributed to growing consumer awareness and interest.

The success of Canadian wineries in the last few years has contributed to building Canada's reputation for producing some internationally recognized wines and has led to an increase in acreage devoted to grape production, which has increased by 33% in the last 5 years. In contrast to the blueberry, cranberry and grape sectors, areas devoted to apple and tender fruit production have both declined with the only exception being cherries, particularly sweet cherries which have benefited from the introduction of new cherry varieties that mature later, produce larger fruit and command higher prices in the market. The sweet cherry breeding program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's research station in Summerland, which is one of the oldest sweet cherry breeding programs in the world and started in 1936, has been instrumental in the success of the BC sweet cherry industry through the ongoing introduction of new varieties with the development of large, firm sweet cherry varieties covering a range of maturities. Late maturing cherry varieties have played a very important role in keeping the BC cherry industry competitive in the American and Japanese markets.

Table 3 - Consumption of Fresh Fruits in Canada [1]
kilograms per person
 1981198619911996200120052006200720082009
[1] Experimental, use with caution. The data have been adjusted for retail, household, cooking and plate loss.
Source: Statistics Canada (Publication 21-020-XIE)
Apples 8.26 6.93 7.66 7.74 7.39 7.09 7.34 7.06 7.23 7.82
Apricots 0.05 0.07 0.07 0.08 0.11 0.1 0.07 0.11 0.11 0.09
Avocados 0.15 0.12 0.11 0.18 0.2 0.28 0.34 0.36 0.38 0.43
Bananas 4.8 5.27 5.8 6.31 5.98 6.38 6.43 6.55 6.55 6.53
Berries other 0.01 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.15 0.18 0.26 0.36 0.47 0.5
Blueberries 0.2 0.15 0.25 0.16 0.26 0.53 0.51 0.64 0.79 0.78
Cherries 0.25 0.19 0.2 0.18 0.3 0.35 0.44 0.52 0.51 0.68
Other citrus na na 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02
Coconut 0.19 0.2 0.26 0.2 0.23 0.25 0.26 0.25 0.24 0.21
Cranberries 0.28 0.3 0.43 0.33 0.26 0.48 0.63 0.55 0.71 0.9
Dates 0.94 0.72 0.79 0.57 0.4 0.81 0.95 0.99 0.81 0.75
Figs 0.26 0.25 0.26 0.23 0.26 0.33 0.34 0.26 0.25 0.29
Grapefruits 1.11 1.02 0.97 0.83 0.59 0.48 0.5 0.57 0.53 0.48
Grapes 3.28 3.76 3.71 2.84 2.87 3.53 3.31 3.47 3.57 3.38
Guavas, mangoes na na 0.22 0.33 0.46 0.52 0.58 0.64 0.57 0.55
Kiwis na na 0.23 0.35 0.28 0.32 0.33 0.36 0.36 0.36
Lemons 0.31 0.36 0.33 0.35 0.43 0.45 0.46 0.44 0.43 0.43
Limes 0.06 0.08 0.11 0.13 0.21 0.25 0.27 0.3 0.31 0.29
Mandarins na na 1.06 1.28 1.27 1.57 1.62 1.75 1.74 1.75
Muskmelons, cantaloups 0.43 0.65 0.51 0.82 0.93 1.12 1.09 1.13 1.05 1.07
Other melons 0.06 0.06 0.05 0.12 0.1 0.15 0.19 0.16 0.19 0.14
Melons total 1.57 2.06 1.44 2.78 3.09 3.83 4 4.01 3.78 3.78
Nectarines 0.37 0.42 0.44 0.44 0.49 0.45 0.38 0.41 0.46 0.36
Oranges 6.06 5.48 3.8 4.75 4.47 5.1 4.9 4.43 4.88 4.58
Papayas na na 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.16 0.16 0.19 0.17 0.17
Peaches 0.81 0.73 0.75 0.67 0.59 0.54 0.57 0.67 0.62 0.51
Pears 1.24 1.25 1.34 1.4 1.59 1.44 1.57 1.61 1.44 1.42
Pineapples 0.16 0.18 0.21 0.21 0.55 0.9 1.11 1.08 1.08 0.98
Plums 0.79 0.71 0.7 0.64 0.64 0.6 0.53 0.54 0.55 0.49
Quinces na na 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Strawberries 0.96 1.1 1.3 1.34 1.33 1.8 1.97 2.02 2.02 2.18
Unspecified fresh fruits 0.22 0.54 0.23 0.28 0.36 0.27 0.29 0.36 0.32 0.38
Watermelons 0.88 1.03 0.56 1.39 1.31 1.93 2.07 2.1 2.01 2.03
Wintermelons 0.21 0.32 0.33 0.45 0.75 0.63 0.64 0.63 0.54 0.54
Total fresh fruits 32.33 31.92 31.73 33.49 33.6 37.49 38.54 38.77 39.15 39.34

Total fresh fruit intake, including citrus, reached a record 39.3 kg per person, up slightly from 2008. Total fresh apples available for consumption increased by 8.2% from 2008, as did strawberries (+7.9%), avocados (+13.2%), cranberries (+26.8%) and cherries (+33.3%).

Declines occurred for fresh grapes (-5.3%), peaches (-17.7%) and nectarines (-21.7%). Intake of blueberries, which had been steadily climbing during the past 10 years, fell 1.3% in 2009. Other berries, including raspberries, saskatoons, loganberries, mulberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries, rose by 6.4%.

Canadian Fruit Exports and Imports Footnote 2

The Canadian trade deficit in fresh and processed fruits reached $5.8 billion in 2009, following a decade of steady increase in both exports and imports (Table 4). Our trade deficit in fresh and processed fruits, which is primarily due to our short growing seasons and the fact that we do not grow many of the tropical fruits and nuts consumed in Canada, has been widening over the last ten years as a result of a faster growth of our imports compared to our exports.

In 1990, the fruit trade deficit (exports less imports) was only $1.9 billion. After the adoption of the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) in mid-1990s, additional market access was created in both Canadian imports and exports. Between 1990 and 2000, fruit exports grew by 221% (or $327 million), while imports grew by 66%. From 2000 to 2009, the gap between imports and exports widened, rising from over $3 billion to almost $6 billion, with imports increasing significantly from $3.5 billion to $6.5 billion (an increase of 86%), while exports grew from $475 million to $737 million (or an increase of 55%).

Table 4.1 - Canadian Fruit Trade Highlights, 1990-2009 - Imports
($ millions)
 19901999200020052006200720082009% change
1990-2009
Source: Statistics Canada (CATS Net, April 26, 2011)
Fresh, Dried, Frozen 1,386.4 2,089.8 2,129.8 2,806.0 2,921.4 3,161.5 3,454.1 3,594.5 159 %
Processed 731.6 1,371.2 1,379.9 2,231.1 2,511.8 2,719.4 2,937.9 2,942.6 341 %
Total 2,117.9 3,461.0 3,509.7 5,037.1 5,433.2 5,880.8 6,392.0 6,537.1 220 %


Table 4.2 - Canadian Fruit Trade Highlights, 1990-2009 - Exports
($ millions)
 19901999200020052006200720082009% change
1990-2009
Source: Statistics Canada (CATS Net, April 26, 2011)
Fresh, Dried, Frozen 119.7 253.4 269.6 400.5 473.9 476.2 479.8 406.9 240 %
Processed 28.3 162.7 205.8 275.2 262.9 296.0 336.1 329,9 1,121 %
Total 148.0 416.0 475.4 675.7 736.9 772.2 815.9 736.7 427 %


Table 4.3 - Canadian Fruit Trade Highlights, 1990-2009 - Net Trade (exports less imports)
($ millions)
 19901999200020052006200720082009% change
1990-2009
Source: Statistics Canada (CATS Net, April 26, 2011)
Fresh, Dried, Frozen (1,266.7) (1,836.4) (1,860.2) (2,405.5) (2,447.5) (2,685.3) (2,974.3) (3,187.7) -
Processed (703.3) (1,208.5) (1,174.1) (1,955.9) (2,248.8) (2,423.3) (2,601.8) (2,612.7) -
Total (1,970,0) (3,045.0) (3,034.3) (4,361.4) (4,696.3) (5,108.6) (5,576.1) (5,800.4) -

Exports

In 2009, Canadian fruit exports reached over 100 countries. Figure (2) shows the ten top fruit export destinations and their percentage share of our fruit exports based on value. The US is the number one export destination absorbing 75% of Canada's fruit exports, followed by Germany (4%), Japan (3%), Netherlands (3%), the United Kingdom (2%), China and Taiwan (each absorbing 2% of our exports), France, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong (each 1%).

Table 5 - Canada's top 10 Fruit Export Destinations [1]
($ millions)
 19902009Leading product exports
[1] Includes fresh, dried, frozen and processed
Source: Statistics Canada (CATS Net, April 26, 2011)
United States 87.5 555.1 Cranberries, Blueberries (frozen, fresh), Jams, fruit jellies, Peanut butter, Apples.
Germany 17.1 31.6 Blueberries (frozen, fresh).
Japan 4.9 22.8 Blueberries (frozen, fresh), Fruits and edible nuts.
Netherlands 7.0 19.6 Blueberries (frozen), Cherries (fresh), Fruits and edible nuts, Dried Fruits.
United Kingdom 10.5 17.8 Blueberries (frozen), Apples, Cherries, Fruits and edible nuts, Grape Juice.
China 0.0 14.3 Blueberries (frozen), Fruits and edible nuts, Ice wine, Grape wine, Grape juice.
Taiwan 1.3 11.8 Cherries (fresh), Fruits and edible nuts, Peanut butter, Ice wine.
France 4.1 10.1 Blueberries (frozen), Cranberries (fresh), Cherries (fresh), Fruits and edible nuts, Fruit juice.
Saudi Arabia 0.6 7.7 Peanut butter, Orange juice.
Hong Kong 2.1 6.2 Cherries (fresh), Peanut butter, Ice wine, Orange juice, Apples.

After the adoption of NAFTA in 1994, Canada's exports of fruits to the United States and Mexico have significantly increased. The value of Canadian fruits to the US has increased from $184 million in 1994 to $555 million in 2009. Similarly fruit exports to Mexico have also increased from $836,927 in 1994 to over $1 million in 2009.

Imports

Table 6 breaks down Canada's fruit imports from the top ten supplying countries. In descending order (by the share of total import value in 2009), these were the United States (44%), Chile (7%), France (7%), Italy (6%), Mexico (5%), Australia (4%), China (3%), Costa Rica, Argentina and Ecuador (each 2%).

Table 6 - Top 10 Suppliers of Canada's Fruit Imports [1]
($ millions)
 19902009Leading product imports
[1] Includes fresh, dried, frozen and processed
Source: Statistics Canada (CATS Net, April 26, 2011)
United States 1,038.7 2,743.7 Strawberries (fresh), Orange Juice, Grapes, Orange (fresh), Cherries, Almonds, Grape wine (red).
Chile 114.8 452.7 Grapes, Grape Wine (red), Blueberries (fresh), Raspberries (frozen), Grapes (organic), Apples (gala), Grape wine (white).
France 225.9 452.0 Grape Wine (red, white), Sparkling wine, Spirits.
Italy 62.5 376.6 Grape Wine (red, white), Sparkling wine, Kiwi.
Mexico 49.9 327.6 Avocados, Grapes, Raspberries and loganberries, Guavas, mangoes and mangosteens, Watermelon, Tequila, Strawberries, Limes.
Australia 54.3 268.0 Grape Wine (red, white).
China 17.9 198.8 Mandarins, clementines, Apple juice, Peaches, Pears, Nuts edible (shelled), Oranges, Citrus fruits.
Costa Rica 32.4 161.5 Pineapples, Bananas, Cantaloupes and muskmelons.
Argentina 25.9 156.6 Grape Wine (red), Pears, Grape Wine (white), Blueberries, Grape juice, Lemon juice.
Ecuador 110.9 155.2 Bananas (including plantain), Bananas (organic), Passion fruit juice, Guavas, mangoes and mangosteens.

After the adoption of NAFTA in 1994, the value of Canadian fruits imports from United States and Mexico have increased significantly. In terms of value, Canadian imports of fruits from the United States had increased by 118% (from $1,259 million in 1994 to almost $2,744 million in 2009), while Canadian imports from Mexico have also increased significantly by 358% (from $71.5 million to $327.6 million) in the same period.

Since the Canada-Chile FTA entered into force in 1997, imports of Chilean fruits have shown continued growth. In terms of value, import increased by 140% from 1997 to 2009 (from $188.6 million to $452.7 million).

Industry Challenges and Opportunities

The Canadian fruit industry, like many other sectors within the horticultural sector is faced with an increasingly competitive environment where it must continue to change and adapt in order to be sustainable. Over 80% of fruit consumption in Canada is in the fresh form. Although overall consumption of fresh and processed fruit has increased by 24% since 1991, an increasing share of the consumption is being supplied by imports. Major challenges facing the sector include increasing competition from low-cost producing countries, appreciation of the Canadian dollar, increasing production costs and greater retailer consolidation and expectations.

Many factors are shaping the current competitive market and trade conditions globally which impact Canadian agricultural trade. Some of those factors are listed below:

  1. Canadian consumers are expecting year round availability for many fruits and demanding an ever increasing variety of high quality fruit at very reasonable prices which provides opportunities for counter-seasonal supplies. Health conscious consumers are also increasing demand for organic fruits.
  2. A relatively open domestic import regime and lower average import tariffs in Canada, with products from most leading suppliers entering Canada duty free or at preferential duty rates.
  3. Increased competition from low cost producing countries.
  4. Non-tariff trade barriers such as imports inspection requirements for some countries, technical product standards and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.
  5. Higher global average import tariff for fruit and vegetables (in some countries tariff on imported fruit is 50% of the total import value).
  6. Impact of volatility of the Canadian dollar on traded commodities.
  7. Higher input costs such as fertilizer, labour and fuel.
  8. Agricultural and other policies implemented by other countries.

Figure 2: Canada's Top 12 Fruit Export Destinations

The description of the image follows.
Description - Figure 2

Figure 2 titled "Canada's Top 10 Export Destinations" shows Canada's top ten fruit Export Destinations as listed in Table 5. The figure shows the value of Canadian fruit exports in percentages with the United States being the major importer at 75% followed by Germany at 4%, Japan and Netherlands at 3%, the United Kingdom, China and Taiwan at 2% and France, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong importing 1% of Canadian fruit exports.

Figure 3: Top 12 Suppliers of Canada's Fruit Imports

The description of the image follows.
Description - Figure 3

Figure 3 titled "Top 10 Suppliers of Canada's Fruit Imports" shows Canada's top suppliers of fruits (Canadian fruit imports). The majority (44%) of fruit imports to Canada come from the United States 7% from Chile and France, 6% from Italy, 5% from Mexico and 4% from Australia, 3% from China and finally 2% from Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador.

Key Resources

Statstics Canada. Publication 21-011-X "Farm Cash Receipts"

Statistics Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Fall Survey (2009).

Statstics Canada. Publication 21-020-XIE

Statistics Canada CATS database. Canadian Export and Import Data (April 2011).

Import and export data is based on the following Harmonized System Codes (H.S. Codes):

Processed Fruit and Fruit-based Beverages: Processed: Includes fruit that are canned, and are pulp, pastes, purée, sauces, juices and alcohol. These processed fruit fall under the following H.S. Code headings for imports: 2001.90.90.10, 20060010, 20060020, 2007, 2008, 2009.11 to 2009.49, 2009.61 to 2009.80.19, 2009.90.10 to 2009.90.30, 2204, 2205, 2206.00.11 to 2206.00.49, 2208.20, 2208.90.41, 2208.90.49 and 2208.90.92. For exports, processed fruit fall under the following H.S. Code headings: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.11 to 2009.49, 2009.61 to 2009.79, 2009.80.40, 2009.90.00, 2204, 2205, 2206 and 2208.20

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Statistics Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Fall Survey (2009).

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Export and import data includes nuts.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

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