Vegetables and Melons Outlook, Apr. 2010

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Comprehensive outlook of the vegetable and melon industry in the U.S. Includes: Industry overview, Fresh-Market Vegetables, Processing Vegetables, Potatoes, Dry Edible Beans, and Dry Peas & Lentils.

All vegetables and melons: In 2009, per capita disappearance (also known as net domestic use, a proxy for consumption) of all vegetables, melons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pulse crops, and mushrooms increased 1 percent to 422 pounds. Increased domestic disappearance of canned products (particularly pickles and tomato products) accounted for most of the gain. With the economy beginning to show signs of improvement, another small gain in vegetable and melon use is anticipated during 2010.

Fresh vegetables: On a per person basis, net domestic use of fresh-market vegetables (excluding melons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pulses, and mushrooms) fell 2 percent to about 141 pounds. While fresh use rose for such crops as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, squash, and asparagus, use declined for pumpkins, garlic, snap (green) beans, onions, carrots, and cabbage. In 2010, fresh-vegetable use is expected to rise slightly as the economy begins to recover.

Melons: Estimated disappearance of all melons totaled 8.3 billion pounds in 2009—the second-highest on record. On a per capita basis, domestic disappearance of the top 3 melon crops increased 1 percent from a year earlier to 26.3 pounds, as a 5-percent gain in cantaloup use offset reduced use of watermelon and honeydew.

Processing vegetables: Per capita disappearance of processing vegetables (excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms) increased 5 percent to 121 pounds in 2009 led by rising use of onions for dehydrating, tomatoes for canning, and cucumbers for pickles. The outlook for 2010 indicates a small gain in the use of processing vegetables, led by increased use of canning tomatoes and vegetables for frozen products.

Gary Lucier
Lewrene Glaser
USDA Economic Research Service