One indicator of fresh fruit demand in the U.S. is overall fruit availability. Aside from bananas, melons, apples, and oranges, overall availability of fruit in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent between 2007 and 2017.
Today, pineapples, grapes, strawberries, and avocados (technically a fruit) rival oranges for overall fruit availability in the U.S. Also, consumption of fresh oranges has recently fallen, but not as much as orange juice.
A rise in fresh fruit consumption by more health-conscious consumers may be replacing demand for fruit juices. Orange juice demand has been declining steadily during the past decade, and certain OJ brands may soon be taxed in Britain due to their high sugar content.
In 2013, fresh fruit consumption topped caloric sweetener intake for the first time since at least 1970. Most-recent data show this trend continued through 2017, when Americans consumed 8.3 pounds more fresh fruit per capita than caloric sweeteners annually, per Bloomberg.
Although fresh fruit and caloric sweeteners are not exact substitutes for one another, both contain high levels of sugar and carbohydrates, which today’s consumers have been more mindful of than ever before. However, unlike caloric sweeteners alone, fresh fruits’ natural look, nutrients, and vitamins add to their appeal.
Some companies are also using fruit as a sweetening and flavoring agent in beverages and snacks instead of caloric sweeteners to avoid added sugar, which must be included on all nutrition labels as of 2019.