South Korea has historically been a significant market for U.S. fresh grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and orange juice. In the year ending June 2021, the U.S. accounted for 70% of Korean fresh grapefruit imports, 14% of grapefruit juice imports, and 28% of orange juice imports. Specifically for Florida, overall exports of citrus have fallen due to a reduction in production. However, the appreciation that Korean customers show for quality citrus from the U.S. and Florida specifically will keep South Korea a key market for citrus products from Florida as production rebounds.
South Korea solely relies on imports for its supply of orange juice and fresh grapefruit. Orange juice is the leading juice product in the South Korean fruit juice market with 51% of the market share. Although consumption was on the decline in recent years, imports of orange juice increased in volume during the 2020-21 program year. As for Florida specifically, export volume of grapefruit shipped to Korea also decreased, and was down 14.5% from 2019-20—totaling 209,597 cartons in 2020-21. Meanwhile, the value of Florida Grapefruit exports decreased to a lesser extent and totaled $4.7 million in 2020-21. Broadly, the U.S. sold the most expensive fruit in the market, at $1.90/kg. Despite this, it maintained its approximately 70% market share by value.
Fortunately for the U.S. and Florida Citrus industry, South Koreans are willing to pay higher prices for quality fruit. And, as supply disruptions are remedied in global markets and Florida production returns, the U.S. should see a rebound in fresh grapefruit exports.
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