The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has released a report on Taiwanese stonefruit imports maintaining the nation’s importance as an export market.
In 2012, Taiwan ranked as the third-largest exports market for US peaches and nectarines, importing 16,629 metric tonnes worth US$41m.
That year, it also ranked fourth for US cherries, importing 9,718 metric tonnes worth US$53m.
These figures made the US Taiwan’s largest stonefruit supplier in both categories, providing 76 per cent of the country’s peach and nectarine imports and 65 per cent of its cherry imports.
Indeed, the US is Taiwan’s dominant fresh produce supplier across the board, supplying 30 per cent of the country’s total consumption.
However, the report recognises an overall declining trend in Taiwan’s peach and nectarine imports, with shipments of these products from the US dropping 18 per cent in volume. Total imports for this category were down by 14 per cent for the 2012 season.
Cherries are on a different trajectory, with total imports increasing by 24 per cent. The US reaped the greatest benefit from this growth, with its shipments growing by 40 per cent.
The report also acknowledges that not all of this produce is intended for the Taiwanese market, as many fruit importers there also have branch offices in China where produce is sent after entering Taiwan.
This aspect of the import trade is remaining stable, with imports to China via Taiwan virtually unchanged from last year.
Among Taiwanese consumers, traditional wet markets comprise the bulk of fresh produce purchases, taking 50-60 per cent of the market share.
However, modern retail formats are growing in popularity, with 20-25 per cent of fresh fruit purchased there. Hypermarkets are considered to be the most popular store format of these.
Fresh produce continues to form a central component of the Taiwanese diet, with shoppers seeking out premium quality produce for both their own consumption and to give as gifts.