According to data from the Commerce Department, imports of fresh and chilled onions to the United States hit a record in 2021 at $537 million.
The figure represented an increase of 14% over 2020 and 17.2% compared to 2019.
Who were the main suppliers? Mexico (369 million dollars), Peru (88 million), and Canada (54 million).
In the US, bulb onion production destined primarily for fresh use decreased by 8% in 2021, largely due to unusually hot and dry weather in the Pacific Northwest on yields.
For example, after hitting an all-time high in 2020, bulb onion yields in Washington plunged 30%, the steepest year-on-year decline in the state on record.
Extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest reduced yields and size of onions in storage in 2021, and growing demand from recovering food service translated into higher prices for 2022.
The start of Mexican imports, spring onions into Texas (delayed by cold weather), and the Georgia onion season helped push prices down a bit as we entered the spring quarter.