USDA reported monthly apple juice imports at 22.99 million SSE gallons, up less than 1 percent from September and down 9 percent from October 2018. Jan-Oct 2019 cumulative imports were down almost 20 percent year over year.
But interestingly, starting in winter 2019, stocks of other/non-FCOJ concentrates in cold storage (most of which is AJC) during the 2018/19 marketing year showed very little change from 2017/18. In October, stocks of other concentrates rose to nearly 400 million pounds.
With the rise in AJC pricing, we have seen an increase in substitutable white grape juice concentrate, which may seem like a partial explanation for the rise in stocks. Aug-Oct white grape juice imports from Argentina, for instance, were up 82 percent from a year ago. But for perspective, grape juice imports in October, which were up over 80 percent from the three-year average for the month, were still less than a fourth of this October’s low volume of apple juice imports.
The question then becomes, how much apple juice are Americans consuming? USDA per capita calculations point to another slight decline in apple juice consumption last year: In 2018, Americans consumed about 1.83 gallons per capita of apple juice, down 1 percent year over year and down almost 20 percent from 2007, the consumption high point. Since 2007, annual consumption declined in six out of 11 years, and it looks like 2019 may add another year to the tally of declines.
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