Fruit Orchards Key Players - Global

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Fruit Orchards Key Players - Global

Exhaustive research of the public domain indicates that there are no existing lists of key players in the global fruit orchard industry, nor can such a list be generated from available information within the scope of a single request. This is primarily because:
1. Most available information on fruit production (i.e., growing) focuses on the country, or the regions within a country, where that fruit is grown;
2. Information identifying top transnational fruit companies is unavailable for all fruits except bananas;
3. Transnational fruit companies do not publicly disclose information on their production capacity, i.e., how much of their fruit is grown in proprietary orchards and how much is purchased from smaller orchard growers.

Our research did discover that bananas, apples and citrus fruit are the fruits in highest demand and production world-wide; and that China, the US and India are key players in production of those fruits. Below you'll find our methodology and related findings.


For this query, we have assumed that:
1. 'Key players' refers to the largest fruit orchard owners globally;
2. Participation in the 'global fruit orchard industry' requires that the company/owner grows fruit in multiple countries, or grows their fruit for international distribution (as opposed to purely national distribution), or both.

Our research quickly discovered that most of the major international fruit companies operate as both producers and distributors. However, research through industry reports and articles, media articles, and company websites indicate that international fruit companies do not disclose the percentage of their fruit that comes from proprietary orchards. Without this information, we have no basis on which to support the assumption that the largest distributors are also the largest producers.

Additionally, search for the top apple and citrus producers in China, the US, and India did not generate useful results. The most granular information available, from WorldAtlas, denotes key producers by country only. A similar search for market research on the global apple, citrus and banana markets yielded no mentions of key players by fruit. Non-profit reports, government reports, media and industry articles all failed to yield a list (or even mentions) of individual producers. The only source discovered in this line of research is a 2011 list of the top 100 fruit producers in the US. This list ranks growers by acreage, but its date renders it only marginally useful for the US, and not at all for a global scope.

Based on the consistent lack of granular or recent information available, we surmise that compiling a list of key players in global orchard fruit production, if possible, would require deep dive research into the top producers per country, per fruit to ascertain if this information is available in more obscure sources (including original language search via language translators). This level of granular search would entail a separate request per type of fruit, per country.

Due to the lack of information, older sources have been used for supporting information (for example, the historical power of United Fruit).


Since the two biggest orchard fruit markets - apples and oranges - don't provide much scope for all orchard fruits, I performed supporting research on other types of orchard fruits, namely pears and cherries. The composite research on these four types of orchard fruit indicates that the US, China, India, and Turkey are major national players in the global orchard fruit industry, as evidenced by their annual production of orchard fruits. It is therefore reasonable to assume that they also host the largest orchards. If bananas are included in the assessment, however, then Latin and Central American countries become more significant overall as 'key players,' especially Brazil.


Bananas do not technically fit the profile of an 'orchard fruit' because the plant is botanically not a tree. However, it wasn't clear whether this distinction was important to the query. Because banana production and consumption dominate the global fruit market, and because information on bananas and banana producer/distributors is the most granular available for any fruit, we have included the information discovered in our research relative to bananas. One likely reason for the predominance of information of bananas may be due to the unequaled power and influence held by United Fruit (now Chiquita) as the first transnational fruit company, which appears to be unrivaled by any other fruit grower in other fruit markets.

India and China are the top two banana-production countries. However, this may not necessarily correlate with the top globally-oriented producers. National consumption levels can significantly impact this status - as was the case in 2012, when 90% of Indian bananas were consumed nationally. In the same year, Dole, Fresh Del Monte and Chiquita - which all have production operations predominantly in Latin America - held the majority (65%) of the world banana export market.


China, the US and Turkey are the leading producers of apples. In the US in 2011, orchards in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State and Oregon) dominated the top 10 largest orchards by acreage. Together, the US and Turkey produce a comparative 20% of annual Chinese production. However, of the 40 million tonnes of Chinese apples annually produced, only 1 million tonnes are exported. Percentage-wise, the US exports more apples relative to its overall production than either China or Turkey.


Globally, Brazil dominates the citrus market over China - but just barely - with the US is a distant third. A significant amount of both Brazilian and US oranges are grown for orange juice.


To wrap it up: while extensive research indicates that granular information on the key global players in the fruit orchard industry is not publicly available nor can it be estimated via a single search, our research discovered that the US, China, India and Turkey are consistent major global players across multiple varieties of orchard fruits. In banana production, Latin America is a significant producer, along with China and India.

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