Bananas, pineapples, guavas and mangoes are the top fruits exported from the Philippines by value. But it’s the top 10 fruits imported into the Philippines that tell a distinct story about the Filipino homeland’s tastes when choosing fresh, dried or frozen fruits.
Fresh apples represent almost half (roughly 48%) of the overall value of Filipino-imported fruits during 2017 valued around US$318 million. Imported fresh grapes may have been a distant second at 16.4%, but combined with apples, those two types of imported fruits account for almost two-thirds of the Philippines’ overall fruit purchases on international markets.
Seven of the Philippines’ top 10 imported fruit categories include fresh goods, and as such are perishable with limited shelf-lives.
China supplied 95.8% of apples imported into the Philippines during 2017, with 3.3% originating from faraway United States and less than 1% coming from New Zealand’s apple orchards. On the other hand, the United States provides almost three-quarters (71.9%) of fresh grapes imports. The latter percentage is light years ahead of the 13.5% for Australia, 12% for Chile and 1.3% for China.
Including fresh, dried or frozen products, the overall bill for all categories of Filipino imported fruits rose by 79% from 2013 to 2017.
Top 10 Imported Fruits Loved in the Philippines
Below are the 10 major types of fruits that the Philippines bought from international suppliers during 2017, sorted by dollar value in ascending order. Shown with parenthesis is the percentage change in value bench-marked against imported amounts five years earlier.
- Fresh apples: US$155.6 million (Up 73.3%) from 2013
- Fresh grapes: $52.1 (Up 226.2%)
- Fresh/dried mandarins, tangerines, clementines: $44 million (Up 6.9%)
- Fresh pears: $22.7 million (Up 146.5%)
- Fresh/dried oranges: $21.6 million (Up 84.6%)
- Dried grapes including raisins: $8 million (Up 40.2%)
- Fresh/dried lemons: $7 million (Up 1,018%)
- Fresh kiwifruit: $2.8 million (Up 263.1%)
- Dried peaches, pears, papayas: $1.6 million (Up 93.6%)
- Fresh persimmons: $1.3 million (no 2013 data)
Among the top 10 categories, the value of imported lemons grew at the fastest-pace over the 5-year period. This brings us to some other interesting trends.
Fastest-growing Filipino Fruit Imports
Imported fresh fruits continued a strong comeback in 2017 overtaking the growth of frozen fruits since 2015. Demand for dried fruits continues to make progress among Filipino imports.
- Fresh cranberries, bilberries: Up 1,847% since 2013 (US$331,000)
- Fresh/dried lemons: Up 1,018% ($7 million)
- Fresh plums: Up 568.3% ($274,000)
- Fresh kiwifruit: Up 263.1% ($2.8 million)
- Fresh grapes: Up 226.2% ($52.1 million)
- Dried prunes: Up 165.4% ($483,000)
- Fresh pears: Up 146.5% ($22.7 million)
- Dried peaches, pears, papayas: Up 93.6% ($1.6 million)
- Fresh/dried oranges: Up 84.6% ($21,622,000)
- Fresh apples: Up 73.3% ($155.6 million)
Nevertheless, these numbers confirm the overarching trend favoring imported fresh fruits among Filipino consumers.
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Agriculture – Products, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 31, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on January 31, 2019
Wikipedia, List of largest producing countries of agricultural commodities. Accessed on January 31, 2019