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Rising demand for tropical fruit juices and pulp.


World trade in tropical fruit juices, concentrates and pulp has expanded rapidly and should continue its upward trend over the next several years.

World trade in fruit juices increased nearly fourfold between 1977 and 1988, reaching US$4 billion that latter year. Although import demand for these products may not experience the same growth over the next several years as in the past, international trade in these items is expected to rise over the coming period. Developing country suppliers accounted for around half of the total traded on the world market in 1988, or about $2.1 billion. They should be able to expand their share in these sales in the future, given increasing consumer interest in tropical fruits and their use in various food products.

World trade

Exports of fruit juices moved up from about $1 billion to $2.8 billion between 1977 and 1984. The rise was relatively steady over the period and peaked in 1984, expanding by 36% over 1983. International trade in these products declined slightly in 1985, grew moderately in 1986 and reached new levels in 1987 and 1988. In the latter year, sales of fruit juices on the world market amounted to approximately $4 billion.

Of the various fruit juices, orange juice predominated with $2.23 billion in 1988, or 59% of world imports, compared with 64% in 1984. Imports of grapefruit juice amounted to about $154 million, or 4% of the world total (2.5% in 1984), followed by other citrus juices with approximately $99 million, corresponding to a 2.5% share (3.4% in 1984). World imports of tomato juice came to about $15 million, or 0.4% of the market (0.8% in 1984). Imports of pineapple juice were at approximately $149 million, or 3.8% of the total (3.5% in 1984). Juice of other fruits or vegetables was the second largest product group with imports reaching $875 million, equivalent to 22.6% of the total, compared with 21.5% in 1984. Imports of mixtures of fruit or vegetable juices came to $60 million, or 2.2% of the total, up from 1.4% in 1984.

Separate breakdowns do not exist in trade statistics for tropical fruit juices, concentrates and pulp (other than pineapple). However, according to trade estimates, annual world exports of these tropical items (excluding those of pineapple) are in the range of 140,000 tons to 150,000 tons annually in single-strength equivalent, at approximately $150 million (based on 1988 and 1989 price levels). This corresponds to less than 4% of the annual value of world trade in fruit juices, concentrates and pulp. The three leading tropical fruit juices, concentrates and pulp, apart from pineapple, are banana, passion fruit and mango, which together probably account for three-fourths of the trade in tropical fruit juices other than pineapple.


Developing countries and areas as a group supplied 45% to 55% of world exports of tropical and nontropical juices by value during the 1984-88 period. In the latter year their share was close to 52%.

Among developing countries, Brazil is by far the largest exporter of fruit juices and was also the world's major supplier throughout the period reviewed. The country's juice exports increased from $1.26 billion in 1984 to $1.5 billion in 1988, although they fluctuated considerably over the period. In 1988 Brazil had a 38% share of the world market, compared with 45% in 1984. Most of its exports consisted of frozen concentrated orange juice. Brazil is also a major exporter of several other juices. During the five years studied it remained the second, third or fourth largest exporter of pineapple juice and is among the principal suppliers of most tropical juices and pulp.

Mexico was the second largest juice exporter among developing countries in 1988, when its foreign sales came to $98 million, 2.4% of world imports. About three-fourths of this was orange juice. It also exported pineapple juice and other tropical juices and pulp, such as mango, guava and papaya.

Argentina was the second leading juice exporter among developing countries from 1984 to 1987, but dropped to third place in 1988, when its market share fell to 2.3% ($93 million). Its exports consist mainly of juices of temperate zone fruit, such as apple and pear.

Other major developing country juice suppliers in 1988 included Morocco with sales of about $42 million (mainly orange). Exports from this source grew considerably over the 1984-88 period. Next in importance were the Philippines with about $40 million (mainly pineapple), Thailand with $34 million (primarily pineapple); Belize with $23 million (mainly orange, but also grapefruit and other citrus); Chile, $15 million (especially apple and pear); Kenya, $12 million (predominantly pineapple, and some passion fruit); and Turkey, $10 million (mainly apple, pear and orange). Several other developing countries also export fruit juices, although quantities are still relatively small.

Tropical juices: The above figures cover all types of fruit juices. In the case of tropical fruit juice, concentrate and pulp specifically, the Philippines is by far the largest world exporter of pineapple juice, with about $38 million in sales in 1988, accounting for 25% of world exports. Next in line was Thailand with $30 million, or 20%, followed by Brazil with $12 million (8.1%) and Kenya with $11 million (7.2%).

Other tropical juices, concentrates and pulp are exported from a fairly large number of countries or areas in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The major sources of passion fruit include Brazil, Kenya, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and India. Mango (mainly pulp) is supplied primary by Brazil, India, Mexico, Philippines, Colombia, Venezuela, Thailand, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, Mali and Taiwan Province (China). Exporters of guava (pulp for the most part) include Taiwan Province (China), South Africa, India, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Papaya (mainly pulp) is supplied by India, Taiwan Province (China), Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Thailand and Malaysia. Banana (puree and slices) is exported from several countries, for example Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.

Other processed tropical fruits traded internationally, although in small quantities, include the following: cashew (from Brazil); pomegranate (Peru, Brazil and Colombia); naranjilla/lulo (Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador); umbu and caja (Brazil); cherimoya (Mexico, Venezuela, Philippines, Brazil and Ecuador); and acerola (Brazil and certain Caribbean countries). Israel has built up an important export business in "mixed fruit juices," including tropical ones such as pineapple, passion fruit, coconut, banana, mango, guava and papaya.

Industrialized countries (especially the United States, Netherlands, Germany and Italy) export mainly nontropical fruit juices, except for some sales of pineapple juice from the United States and re-exports of tropical products, mainly from the Netherlands and Germany.


The ten largest import markets for all types of fruit and vegetable juices and concentrates, both tropical and nontropical, in 1988 accounted for about 85% of the total value traded, or approximately $3.4 billion, compared with 86% or about $2.4 billion in 1984.

The five leading markets-the United States (imports of $1.12 billion), Germany ($667 million), United Kingdom ($413 million), Netherlands ($317 million) and Canada ($249 million) together had a world import share of 69% in 1988, compared with 72% in 1984.

Other major markets were France, with imports increasing strongly, from $125 million in 1984 to $246 million in 1988, or by about 97%. Imports into Belgium-Luxembourg almost doubled, from $64 million to about $124 million, over the same period. Japan's foreign purchases rose by 216%, from $36 million to $114 million. In Italy imports went up from about $24 million to around $86 million, or by 258%. Sweden's juice imports increased from $48 million to about $77 million, by 60%. Next in line was Saudi Arabia, with imports declining throughout the period, to $79 million in 1987 and an estimated $70 million in 1988, or less than half of the 1983 level. Several other markets, whose imports each accounted for less than 2% of the world total over the period, grew considerably, for example Spain, Greece and the Republic of Korea.

Tropical juices: The largest import market for pineapple juice in 1988 was the United States, purchasing $51 million, or 34% of the world total. It obtained most of its requirements from the Philippines and Thailand. Other important markets were the Netherlands (importing $16.6 million), United Kingdom ($16 million), Italy ($12.7 million), Spain ($12.2 million) and France ($11.5 million). The fastest growing markets among the top importers during the 1984-88 period were Italy, France and Spain.

For other tropical fruit juices, concentrates and pulp (passion fruit, mango, guava, papaya and so on), the principal outlets are the Netherlands (mainly for re-export), Germany, United Kingdom, France and Switzerland. Outside Europe, Saudi Arabia is probably the largest market. The United States is also increasingly becoming a major purchaser, although quantities are still small. The USSR imported mango juice and pulp from India during the period reviewed.

Consumer preferences

Over the last two decades consumers' attitudes towards fruit juices have changed considerably. Traditionally regarded and consumed as a breakfast drink in many countries, these juices have now to a large extent replaced beverages consumed during the rest of the day, particularly among the younger people. One reason is the growth of health consciousness, which has created considerable interest in natural, pure and health food products in general. Fruit juice sales have benefited greatly from this development.

Orange juice is the preferred type of juice on most markets, although some countries, mainly in Europe, have traditionally consumed large quantities of apple juice. The United States, Canada and Japan (more recently) also consume a high volume of apple juice. Other fruit juices such as grapefruit, other citrus and pineapple are common juices worldwide. In contrast, demand for tropical fruit flavours in general remains comparatively low on most markets, except in some Middle East countries. Tropical fruit beverages and dairy products containing tropical fruit are growing in popularity in many markets. (Tropical fruit beverages with a 100% juice content are rarely sold in the retail trade because of their high acidity and/or excessively strong taste.)

Market requirements

Importers in most of the major markets are interested almost solely in bulk-packed fruit juice raw material, in the form of single-strength juice, juice concentrate, or fruit pulp or puree, depending on the product in question and the individual buyer or end-user. Demand is also growing for pieces and slices of some tropical fruits.

The lack of interest in consumer-packed juices, whether in cans, bottles or cartons, from developing countries stems from the high freight costs of such packs (essentially for transporting water) and the frequently higher packaging costs in developing countries. In addition, food laws and regulations and labelling and packaging requirements often pose considerable difficulties to exporters of consumer packs. In general, only small quantities of consumer-packed fruit juices, destined mainly for delicatessen and speciality shops, are imported into the major markets.

An exception is the Middle East, which imports large amounts of consumer-packed juices, nectars and juice drinks. A number of bottling plants have been set up in this region in recent years, however, using imported raw material, often in the form of juice bases or blends.

Market segments

The end-uses for different fruit juices, concentrates, pulp, slices and pieces vary with the fruit and the market in question. However, a few applications are common to most markets.

Beverage industry: The beverage industry is by far the largest outlet for fruit juices, concentrates and pulps, accounting for about 80% of total raw material imports. The figure is probably around 65% if only tropical juice and pulp are considered. The industry uses these products as raw material to manufacture a wide range of beverages, including juices, nectars, fruit juice drinks, fruit drinks, multi-fruit and multi-vitamin nectars and drinks, dietetic drinks, diabetic drinks, syrups, liqueurs and so on.

Exact descriptions of the individual products mentioned above vary from market to market, depending on national food legislation and industrial practice. In most markets, however, a "fruit juice" offered for sale to consumers must be 100% juice and should contain no additives. Most juices are sold as a one-fruit product, but in recent years interest has increased in juices consisting of two or more fruits, for instance apple and passion fruit; pineapple and passion fruit; passion fruit, mango and banana; and orange, pineapple, passion fruit and mango.

A "fruit nectar" usually contains juice and/or pulp, sugar and water. The minimum juice and pulp content usually varies between 25% and 50% in most nectars, depending on the fruit. In the European Community, for example, the minimum content is 50% for orange and apple, 40% for apricot, and 25% for passion fruit and guava. As in the case of fruit juices, nectars are sold as a one-fruit product and in blends of two or more fruits.

The definitions of "fruit juice drinks" and "fruit drinks" are not generally precise, but both have a much lower juice content than fruit juices and nectars and may include various ingredients such as citric acid, ascorbic acid, essential oils, aromas and preservatives. Both carbonated and noncarbonated beverages may contain a certain amount of fruit juice or pulp. Although these drinks usually have a small juice content, they account for a considerable amount of the total raw material intake because of their large sales volume.

The so-called "multi-fruit and multi-vitamin" drinks are usually based on either orange, pineapple or apricot juices. Other juices, and usually water, sugar and other ingredients, are added in various quantities depending on the drink in question. Some of these products claim a juice content of 100% or close to it, but most are sold as nectars or drinks. In general, multi-fruit and multi-vitamin drinks contain about ten different fruits originating in the tropical, subtropical and temperate zones.

Dairy industry: The dairy industry uses imported fruit juice raw material to produce yoghurt, ice cream, desserts, puddings, sauces and so on. It probably accounts for about 10% of total imports. If only tropical juice and pulp are considered, the percentage is much higher, close to 30%. Yoghurt is the most important item in this context. Fruit yoghurts usually have a 10% to 20% fruit content, containing yoghurt bases prepared from fruit juice, concentrate or pulp. These bases are generally supplied by specialized companies. Flavour preferences vary considerably from market to market, but in most cases traditional fruit and berries, for example strawberry, are in the highest demand. With the growing interest in yoghurt, however, consumers are also looking for new flavours, and tropical fruits are increasingly used. Ice cream is another important end-use for banana, passion fruit, mango, papaya and pineapple juices and concentrates.

The dairy industry uses increasing amounts of fruit pieces and slices, for instance mango. Also, demand for dehydrated tropical fruit, such as mango, pineapple and papaya, is growing.

Other: Other food industries, producing such items as jam, marmalade, jelly, baby food, bakery products and confectionery, are estimated to purchase about 10% of total fruit juice raw materials imported and less than 5% of processed tropical fruit products. These industries, however, use large amounts of imported frozen and otherwise preserved fruit and berries.

Distribution channels

Citrus, pineapple and other juices imported in large quantities are obtained through agents or importers to a certain extent, but a much larger share is purchased either direct by bottlers and other end-users or through compound houses. Tropical fruit juices and other juices supplied in small quantities, on the other hand, are generally sold through specialized agents or importers, some of which have blending facilities. A few end-users of larger quantities may buy some of their requirements direct from the source.

The producers of compounds, essences and flavours in the main markets play an important role in supplying raw material, for example, yoghurt bases to the dairy industry and other bases or blends to the beverage industry. They usually import at least part of their requirements direct, but they also buy through agents or importers.

In Western Europe a considerable volume of processed tropical fruit products is traded among countries in the region. Most major importers and compound houses and blenders of this product group are based in Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland and to a smaller extent in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. They import and resell tropical fruit juice raw material to customers (such as bottlers and the dairy industry) in their own country and also in other European countries.

In the Middle East importers handle fruit juices as well as other food products. In recent years a number of companies have invested in modern warehouses, including cold storage and transport facilities. Some importers are owners of supermarkets and other retail outlets. As mentioned above, several bottling plants have also been set up in the Middle East.


New suppliers from developing countries wishing to penetrate the world market for fruit juices will face competition from various sources, depending on the product and the market concerned and on several other factors.

Most major markets have domestic production of fruit juices, with the general exception of citrus and tropical fruit juices. Some are also large producers of the latter two categories, for example, the United States (citrus and pineapple juice), Australia (citrus, pineapple and some passion fruit juice), Italy (citrus) and Japan (citrus). Domestic production accounts for a considerable share of total consumption on most markets.

New suppliers will also face strong competition from other developing countries already firmly established on foreign markets. Many of the latter suppliers have achieved substantial market shares as a result of the competitive prices and the acceptable quality of their products. In the Middle East, prospective suppliers will meet heavy competition from both developing and industrialized countries, particularly concerning consumer-packed fruit juice.

Furthermore, suppliers of fruit juices must compete on the market with producers of beverages such as tea, coffee, cocoa, beer, and carbonated and noncarbonated drinks.


Existing as well as new suppliers will have to price their products at levels competitive with those of domestic and imported fruit juice. As price fluctuations for most juices are considerable and market changes frequent, suppliers need to monitor world markets and price movements closely to arrive at a realistic pricing policy.

World market prices vary according to factors such as type of juice, method of processing and packaging used (whether single-strength or concentrate, hot-packed or frozen; bulk-packed or consumer-packed), quality and source of supply.

Prospects for developing countries

As mentioned above, international trade in fruit juices and related products could expand in the future. Annual per capita intake of juices and nectars is still fairly low in many markets -- 5 to 10 litres in France, Italy, Ireland and Spain, and 10 to 20 litres in Finland, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom and Sweden, for example, compared with 20 to 30 litres in Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands and over 30 litres in Switzerland and Germany. A number of markets in Western Europe thus still have growth potential.

Demand should also continue to receive a boost from the growing health consciousness of consumers, new developments in product lines and packaging, and more aggressive marketing being undertaken by the industry.

Furthermore, fruit juice raw material is increasingly used in other food items, such as dairy products (in particular yoghurts), bakery products and baby food.

Markets in Eastern Europe are expected to offer new sales opportunities for certain fruit juices (citrus and tropical). Likewise Japan and, to some extent, the Republic of Korea should expand as outlets. Some other nontraditional markets in Asia and elsewhere are also expected to grow.

As far as tropical fruit juice raw material is concerned, demand is on the rise in most major markets, partly as a result of promotional activities undertaken by the beverage and food industries and partly because more consumers travel to countries where they eat the fresh tropical fruit. Full consumer acceptance of such juices may, however, take a considerable period of time.

A factor that may impede the long-term development of the tropical fruit industry is the lack of regular and consistent supplies of quality products. This is particularly true of passion fruit, which has also suffered greatly over the years from wide and frequent price fluctuations.

On balance, prospects for increased world trade in fruit juices are believed to be good, although any rapid development is unlikely for tropical fruit juices and pulp.

PHOTO : Developing countries are major juice exporters. Left, growing pineapples in Nigeria.

PHOTO : Bananas are among the main tropical concentrates, pulp and juices sold.

Rudy Kortbech-Olesen is an ITC market development adviser.
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Author:Kortbech-Olesen, Rudy
Publication:International Trade Forum
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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