U .S. Exports Have Grown!

Do you know by how much?

Published in the November 2011 Issue Published online: Nov 07, 2011 John Toaspern
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Total U.S. potato and product exports reached a record $1,350,213,480 and 1,366,649 metric tons for the July 2010-June 2011 fiscal year. This is a 15 percent increase in value and 11 percent increase in volume. On a fresh weight equivalent basis, this represents over 59 million cwt of fresh potatoes exported, or about 16 percent of U.S. production.

Frozen potato products were still the largest category, accounting for 60 percent of the total at $808 million. Dehydrated potato exports, while third in value, are the second largest export by fresh weight equivalent volume at 16 million cwt. The value of dehy exports rose 11 percent in FY11 to $173 million.

Exports of fresh potatoes (table-stock and chip-stock) increased 34 percent in value to $186 million and 14 percent by volume to 399,023 metric tons. Seed potato exports increased 24 percent to 23,428 metric tons, valued at $12 million. Potato chip exports, mainly fabricated chips made from dehy increased 25 percent to $171 million.

The USPB International Marketing Program promotes frozen potatoes in Japan, China, Mexico, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Central America. Exports to these markets grew 13 percent in FY11, and U.S. market share increased from 68 to 71 percent.

U.S. exports to the more established markets of Japan and Korea benefitted greatly from the program's focus on the introduction of new products, entry into new channels and development of new uses for frozen potato products. U.S. exports to China, now the third largest market, were aided by the focus on the introduction of frozen potato products into Chinese cuisine and positive potato nutrition messaging. U.S. exports to Mexico rebounded after the retaliatory tariff was lowered from 20 to 5 percent in August 2010. The Board's training and promotional support helped retain U.S. customers prior to the reduction. The U.S. gained significant market share in the highly competitive markets of SE Asia thanks to the training and promotional support provided by the USPB.

The International Marketing Program for dehydrated potatoes operates in the same markets in Asia and Mexico. Despite a decline of 6 percent in exports from all countries to these targeted markets, U.S. exports increased 17 percent, and U.S. market share increased from 39 to 49 percent.

Unfortunately, the high price and short supply of U.S. dehy limited what could have been even greater gains. In all markets, trade leads for new business went unfilled and existing customers received less product than they needed.

U.S. exports of fresh potatoes were also limited by short supplies and high prices. The volume of U.S. exports to the target markets of Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Central America increased 5 percent, while exports from all suppliers to these markets grew by 7 percent. The program's focus on the utilization of Best Practices at retail, and intensive work with local chefs resulted in increases in U.S. exports of 88 percent to Malaysia and 16 percent to Singapore. Improved market access to Japan led to a 203 percent increase in chipping potato exports to this market.

For more information on U.S. potato exports and markets, go to the Global Database on www.uspotatoes.com. To learn more about the International Marketing Program, view the 2011 Annual Meeting Highlights, also at www.uspotatoes.com.