U.S. canned fruit industry loses domestic market share
A U.S. International Trade Commission report found that the country's canned fruit industry has lost competitiveness within the domestic market due to imports.
The industry's share of the U.S. market for canned peaches fell from 88 percent to 82 percent from 2002 to 2006, the period covered by the report, and its share of the U.S. market for canned pears fell from 94 percent to 84 percent. The industry's share of the U.S. market for canned mixed fruit fell from 98 percent to 93 percent, the ITC report said.
The ITC conducted the report at the request of the House Ways and Means Committee, which wanted to examine the conditions of competition in the U.S. market affecting the industries in the United States, European Union (namely Greece and Spain), China and Thailand.
The ITC report found several factors related to the decline in domestic share for U.S. canned fruit companies, including:
*U.S. industry's failure to sufficiently increase its production to meet rising demand for newer forms of packaging, such as plastic cups and jars.
*Increased market power by wholesale and retail buyers, owing to private label packs based increasingly on imports.
*Foreign suppliers' use of facilities that produce a variety of canned food products, which spreads fixed costs across more products and lengthens production cycles, thus lowering unit costs.
*Lower input costs, mainly for raw fruit and labor, both in established and in emerging competitor supplier countries which have lowered prices.
The report, Canned Peaches, Pears, and Fruit Mixtures: Conditions of Competition between U.S. and Principal Foreign Supplier Industries (Investigation No. 332-485, USITC Publication 3972) will be available on the commission's Web site at http://hotdocs.usitc.gov/docs/pubs/332/pub3972.pdf.