In 2021-22, France was the largest market in Europe for fresh Florida Grapefruit, with exports topping 5,186 MT valued at $7.15 million. This represented a decrease of 12.4% in value and 21.2% in volume compared to the 2020-21 program year. This decreased value of Florida Grapefruit exports was in line with changes to the total value of grapefruit imports to the French market, which declined 8.7% in value during the same time. Since consumer demand for fresh grapefruit has remained well above French domestic production, the market is dependent on imports to satisfy demand. The decrease in overall import value points to waning demand for grapefruit among French consumers.
Positively for Florida Grapefruit, a series of retaliatory tariffs (related to the Boeing-Airbus trade dispute) imposed on U.S. agricultural products by the EU in late 2020 were suspended at the beginning of 2021-22. U.S. fresh grapefruit was a commodity directly targeted during the dispute. The resolution between the U.S. and EU included an agreement to cease all tariffs related to the dispute for a period of 5 years. The tariffs’ removal will allow U.S. grapefruit exports to continue without an undue or unexpected competitive disadvantage over the next few years.
Due to the continued economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the purchasing power of French consumers has decreased to historic levels. Resultingly, these changes have made Florida Grapefruit an increasingly expensive product. While the reputation of Florida Grapefruit remains strong, which has mitigated a more drastic decline in exports, FDOC’s in-market representative reports that consumers who buy Florida Grapefruit tend to be existing consumers.
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