Apple Market Analysis

Apples are fleshy, rounded edible fruits with green, red, or yellow skin. Apples are among the most produced fruits globally, with countries such as China and the US among the key producing countries. Commercial apple variants attain maximum yield in cold and wet weather conditions, with specific sunlight requirements vital to the color imparted to the fruit. The global apple market has been categorized as a part of the global agricultural products market. The global agricultural products market includes producers of agricultural products. The market also includes crop growers, owners of plantations and companies that produce and process foods but do not package and market them.

The global apple market is expected to reach 83.11 MMT by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 1.15%. Conventional apples dominate the global apple market. However, factors such as the rising demand for vegan foods, and rising awareness about the health implications related to use of chemicals and pesticides in apple cultivation will aid the growth of the organic apple segment during the forecast period.  Based on geography, APAC is expected to dominate the global apple market during the forecast period, with factors such as rising awareness about health benefits of apples and high demand for apples in the food processing industry in the region.

Apple Market

Many factors are expected to influence growth in the global apple market during the forecast period. Our analysis identifies the following factors to be driving the growth of the global apple market:

Growing prominence of vegan foods

There has been a growing consumer shift toward vegan diets over the last few years. Vegan foods are primarily comprised of plant-based products, and exclude animal-based products such as dairy, meat, and eggs. Factors such as safety concerns related to animal-based food products, and growing awareness about the health benefits of plant-based diets have aided the popularity of vegan foods. Growing encouragement by government agencies in several countries to adopt plant-based diets are expected to further popularize vegan diets worldwide in the coming years. For instance, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee emphasizes the consumption of organic, plant-based diets to minimize carbon footprint and promote environmental sustainability. The increase in demand for plant-based food products may encourage more consumers to adopt veganism in the coming years, thereby aiding the growth of the global apple market during the forecast period.

Rising awareness about the health benefits of apples

Growing consumer awareness about the numerous health benefits of apples has resulted in an increase in consumption of the fruit in various forms such as juice and concentrate. Apples are a rich source of essential vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B which are beneficial to skin health, and antioxidants such as quercetin, which help in blocking free radicals from damaging brain cells and promote memory growth. Consumption of apples is known to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Apples also contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help in regulating immune responses and provide protection against asthma. The rising awareness about the health benefits of apples will aid the growth of the global apple market during the forecast period.

Increase in demand for fresh fruits in the food processing industry

Owing to the rising consumer demand for fresh-cut and processed apple products, several vendors are expanding their product portfolio to include apple-based food products. Coca-Cola India announced the launch of a sparkling beverage, Minute Maid Apple Sparkle, which has 25 per cent apple juice content. Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetable Pvt Ltd. launched its organic range of fresh fruits and vegetables under the brand Safal which offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables including apple, pomegranate, lemon, potato, and others. Increasing demand for fresh fruits in the food processing industry is projected to drive the demand for apples during the forecast period. To meet the rising demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers are looking at avenues to increase crop yield, crop production, and production volume.

Meanwhile, the vendors operating in the market face numerous challenges in increasing their sales and improving profitability. Some of those challenges are:

High dependence on weather conditions

Bad weather conditions hamper the production of apples. Fluctuations in weather conditions negatively impact the production as apples require specific climatic conditions for optimum yield. In addition, natural calamities such as heavy rains, floods, tropical storms, and droughts can significantly affect apple cultivation. Natural calamities lead to the destruction of irrigation systems and loss of harvest. Additionally, the reduced yield due to unfavorable weather conditions forces apple farmers to experiment with the cultivation of other crops to ensure financial sustainability. Unfavorable weather and natural calamities lead to the shortage in apple production and subsequent increase in apple prices.

Increase in damage from pests and diseases

The occurrence of pest attacks on crops is increasing in the agricultural industry, which is causing a threat to food security. Apples are highly susceptible to attack from pests such as codling moth, mice and deer. Apples are also highly susceptible to common diseases such as brown rot fungus, fireblight, and scab. The affinity of apples to pest attacks and diseases compel farmers to use chemical pesticides, which have a negative impact on the health of humans.

Stringent regulations

The global apple market is highly regulated, with the regulations pertaining to aspects such as new product launches, product specifications, sales, marketing, packaging, and advertising of fresh-cut and processed apple products. The vendors operating in different countries must adhere to different regulations and this can prove to be a challenge to the vendors. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in India, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the US, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Canada are some of the regulatory bodies that draft norms related to the production, procurement, marketing, sales, and distribution of apple products. The varying regulations in different countries can increase the compliance costs for vendors and negatively influence the growth of the global apple market during the forecast period.

Some of the trends that are expected to influence the market during the forecast period are listed below:

Rise of digital agricultural economy

Digitization in the agricultural sector has transformed the supply chain, crop management cycle, and storage and market access. This trend has attracted many agri-innovation start-ups that aim to modernize agriculture with precision agriculture, traceability, climate-smart agriculture, creation of digital platforms, and natural resource management. Multiple governments and private agencies across the world are supporting these start-ups in their endeavors. In 2018, funding worth US$17 billion was provided to agricultural technology start-ups globally, and most of these investments were from the US. Additionally, innovations in robotics and farm machinery, such as the vacuum-powered apple picking robot by Abundant Robotics Inc. will boost the productivity in apple cultivation during the forecast period.

Use of blockchain technology in procurement

The global apple market has started to utilize the blockchain technology. For instance, Singapore-based fruit and vegetable distributor SunMoon Food has developed a blockchain platform that allows stakeholders to track the procurement and condition of Chinese Fuji apples across its supply chain. The current use of blockchain is related to traceability and supply chain operations. However, technology providers are taking steps to implement blockchain for resource management as well.

Rising popularity of urban farming

The growing popularity of urban farming in countries such as the US, UK, and South Korea is expected to boost the global demand for apples during the forecast period. According to the United Nations (UN), around 15% of the world’s food was grown in urban areas as of 2017. Owing to the growing scarcity of field spaces for crop cultivation, urban agriculture focuses on using community spaces, such as school farms, car parks, and office roofs for cultivation. Urban farming projects such as The Randall’s Island Park Alliance’s Urban Farm in the US is expected to encourage consumer participation in apple cultivation and aid the growth of the global apple market during the forecast period.

Apple Market Segmentation

The global apple market can be segmented into the following:

By product

  • Conventional apples
  • Organic apples

By region

  • APAC
  • North America
  • Europe
  • South America
  • MEA

The global apple market is fragmented with the presence of several international and regional players. We provide a detailed analysis of around 25 vendors operating in the global apple market, including some of the prominent vendors such as Borton & Sons, Fruit Hill Orchard, Gebbers Farms, Melissa’s/ World Variety Produce Inc., Stemilt Growers LLC, and W.F. Montague Pty Ltd. Divestitures (Montague), and innovations to develop new apple variants are among the strategies adopted by manufacturers in the global apple market.

  • All Fresh GPS, a US-based apple shipping company announced its split to form two new companies, namely Applewood Fresh Growers LLC, and Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC.
  • Montague launched the third season of its Envy apple variety. The Envy apple variety is a sweet apple variant, that is a cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala apple variants.

Backed with competitive intelligence and benchmarking, our global apple market research report is designed to provide entry support, customer and M&A assessment, as well as go-to-market strategy support.

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