Featured Produce News

U.S. Spinach Industry at a Glance

May 07, 2015

Spinach Harvest Techniques, Statistics and Reports  

 

2014 Crop Year, Spinach

Value of Fresh Production

$ 259.7 million

 

Fresh Production

591.9 million lbs

(268,480 MT)

Value of Processed Production

$ 11.3 million

 

Processed Production

180.6 million lbs

(81,930 MT)

Domestic Consumption

618.4 million lbs

(280,514 MT)

Exports

84.9 million lbs

(38,517 MT)

Imports

111.4 million lbs

(50,551 MT)

Bearing Acres

37,540 acres for fresh

9,100 acres for processing

Per Capita Consumption

1.8 lbs/person

 

Data Source: FAS, USDA; NASS, USDA

About Spinach

Spinach is an edible flowering plant, which is most typically found in salads, soups, baby foods and smoothies. There are three varieties of the plant; most commonly categorized as savoy, flat-leaf and semi-savoy. Spinach can grow up to 30 cm tall.

Spinach thrives in well drained clay loam soils and in areas with average temperatures from 40°F to 70°F. In temperate regions, spinach can survive during the winter. Many states, including California, Arizona, New Jersey, and Texas, have ideal environments for growing spinach. Spinach, however, is a highly perishable good and will yellow when stored at higher than recommended temperatures.

In horticultural production, spinach is considered a cool season, short day crop. Spinach is grown for both fresh (bunched or bagged) and processed (frozen) commodities. Spinach production is labor intensive. For bunched spinach the crop is harvested by hand. The spinach is cut just below the crown and tied into bunches of 8 to 12 plants. Spinach for fresh or frozen markets is typically harvested by machine. The costs of paying for appropriate weed management, clipping, bunching and post harvest handling of the crop can be very expensive.

 

In the United States

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S. Spinach Demand vs Price Graph to Enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from ERS, USDA.

Demand for spinach in the U.S. slowly increased from the 1980s until it reached its peak in 2005 at 2.3 lbs/person. That same year, prices reached an all-time low at $24.79/cwt of spinach. In the past 10 years, however, demand has declined and is currently at 1.8 lbs/person. PRice on the other hand has been rising and is currently at $40.55/cwt.

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S.Spinach Production Graph to enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA.

The production of spinach from 2004-2014 fluctuated around 300,000MT. In 2014, fresh spinach production was 268,480 MT, an approximate 6 percent decrease from the previous year’s production.

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S.Fresh Spinach Production by State Graph to enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from NASS, USDA.

The largest producer of spinach in the United States is California, growing approximately 466 million pounds of spinach in 2014.  The next largest producers are Arizona, Texas, and New Jersey.  Arizona and California account for approximately 85% of all spinach grown in the U.S.  California is the leading producer in processed spinach but also produces a significant amount of fresh spinach.  Arizona mainly produces fresh spinach.

Almost half of California’s spinach production and acreage is in Monterey County. The spinach crop was valued at over $122 million in 2013. To view the 2013 Monterey County crop report, click here.

In Imperial County, California, the Spinach industry produced over 36 million pounds of spinach in 2013, valued at almost $34 million. Its value per-unit almost doubled 2012 to 2013 from $0.47 to $0.93. To view the 2013 Imperial County crop report, click here.

 

U.S. Spinach Trade

2012/13 Major Players in Apple Market Click on U.S. Spinach Imports vs. Exports Graph to enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from U.S. International Trade Commission.

Trade in the United States has stayed almost even.  The United States maintianed a trade surplus from 2004 to 2009. Although there has been a trade deficit in the spinach industry since 2009, exports have been rising consistently since 2007.  Imports also continue to increase, with a large increase in 2014 reaching over 50,000 MT.

Almost 90% of U.S. spinach imports come from China and Mexico.  China was the largest source of imported frozen spinach, followed by Mexico in 2014. The U.S. also receives approximately 5% of its spinach from Canada. The remaining imports mainly come from Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and Germany.

Canada is the largest importer of U.S. spinach. There are also several small importers of U.S. spinach including Mexico, Iceland, and Taiwan.

 

World Spinach Industry

China remains the world’s largest producer of spinach.  In 2013, China produced 21,080,600MT of spinach, over 90% of the world’s production.  The United States is currently the 2nd largest producer of spinach, but its production is fairly insignificant in comparison.

2012/13 Major Players in Apple MarketClick on World Production Graph to enlarge.
Prepared by FPP using data from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN.

In 2013, Canada imported 33,634 MT of fresh spinach, making it the largest importer of fresh spinach in the world.  The next largest importers of fresh spinach behind Canada are the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Singapore. The U.S. is currently the 7th largest importer of fresh spinach worldwide.

Japan imported 34,888 MT of processed spinach in 2013.  The United States is right behind in processed spinach imports at 31,267 MT.  Several members of the E.U. are also large importers of frozen spinach including Germany, Belgium, France, the U.K., and Italy.

The U.S. is the top exporter of fresh spinach in the world and the 7th largest exporter of frozen spinach. 

 

More Information on Spinach

To see an ERS study on Factors Affecting Spinach Consumption in the United States, click here.

To view a recent FDA recall on spinach due to listeria, click here.

The following country’s GAIN report concerning spinach has been released in the past two years:
            Egypt - Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards

To view a crop profile of spinach in Arizona, click here.

To view a spinach commodity profile made by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University, click here.

For a spinach growing guide, click here.

For a history of the Texas Wintergarden Spinach Industry, click here.

For a report on Spinach Production in California, click here.

 

 

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