Production, Consumption, and Exportation Trends
Pickles are considered one of the most popular condiments in the United States. Today, pickles are becoming ubiquitous
due to their widespread presence as craft brands all over the markets. On average, each American citizen is consuming 9
pounds of pickles per year (reference
. In terms of market size, the U.S. pickle industry was valued at over USD 2.3 billion in
2011 and was forecasted to reach USD 2.4 billion by 2015(Euromonitor International, July 2011
. In 2011, Euromonitor published the figures below(
Euromonitor International, July 2011
On average, Americans consumed around 2.9 pounds of pickled products per capita on an annual basis between
2008 and 2011.
Pickles were eaten with a homemade meal (for 87% of food consumption), and homemade snack (for 7.8% of the
Pickles were frequently used as a finger-food (for 69.1% of food consumption), as an accompaniment (6.3%),
and as a main course (2.7%).
Pickles were mostly consumed at dinner (45.7%), followed by lunch (41.0%), and breakfast (0.4%).
People mostly consumed pickles in the fall (28.2%), followed by winter (26.9%), summer (23.6%), and spring
Pickles were eaten without any preparation (60% of the time) and chilled (35.2%).
Pickles were more commonly carried away from home as a meal or snack (5.1% of the time).
However, based on the latest releases of the U.S. Agriculture Department, around 1,140 million pounds of cucumbers were
produced in 2019 for the making of pickles. Nonetheless, this category is limited to pickled cucumbers and does not
include the various types of pickles that are available in the market. It’s worth noting that the production of
cucumbers for pickles has been somewhat steady during the years, with a minimum average growth of 0.02% annually (figure
1). As for the availability per capita, it stood at 3.4 pounds per capita in 2019, spanning between 2.8 pounds as the
lowest in 2010 and 3.9 pounds as the peak in 2014 (figure 2).
In 2020, the U.S. was ranked among the top 10 exporters of pickles around the world, with USD 106.6 million worth of
pickle exports in 2020. The market has also witnessed export growth between 2010 and 2020, rising at a CAGR of 5.64%
during this period.
The U.S. is the biggest importer of pickles around the world, followed by Germany and the UK. In 2020, pickle exports
totaled USD 472,669 thousand, growing at a CAGR of 5.32% between 2001 and 2020. The main U.S. countries for pickle
imports are Mexico and India, contributing to more than 50% of the total U.S. imports of pickles. In parallel, the U.S.
imports of pickles from Lebanon have been on the rise, increasing at a CAGR of 8.52% between USD 241 thousand in 2001
and USD 1,140 thousand in 2020. It’s worth mentioning that Lebanon benefits from the U.S. Generalized System of
program that offers duty-free tariffs to specific products imported to the U.S., including
As per the ITC export potential map, the U.S. is one of the main potential markets for Lebanese pickles (cucumbers &
gherkins (200110) and vegetables preserved by vinegar or acetic products (200190)) (figure 7 & 8). However, the U.S.
shows an untapped potential of USD 475 thousand for Lebanon’s exports of vegetables, preserved by vinegar or acetic
Share of Imports and Unit Price in 2020
The consumer price index (CPI) for olives, pickles, and relishes has slightly changed between 2020 and 2021, averaging
at 0.7%. While the producer price index (PPI) for pickles and products recorded a higher growth of 4.9% change.
More than 50% of imported pickles to the U.S. were supplied by Mexico (39%) and India (12%). Other major exporters are
Peru (12%), Turkey (7%), Spain (5%), Greece (3%), Canada (2%), China (2%), Honduras (2%), and Egypt (2%).
Changes in the American Market
Many changes have occurred since the start of the pandemic, mainly reflected in the consumer behavior and purchase
preferences with the increased health concerns and travel restrictions. However, trends are taking the lead towards
digitalization, mainly online shopping and delivery to your doorstep. The COVID-19 crisis has sped up the technological
inclusion of the different generations around the world, especially since consumers have prioritized their wellbeing
while purchasing any product. Based on the latest figures published by Deloitte from their annual holiday survey, the
average online spending standing at USD 924 between 2018 and 2021 was double the average of in-store spending at USD 440
during the same period. Whilst online spending has increased by 5% between 2018 and 2021, physical spending has dropped
by 3% (figure 10).
In light of these sharp changes, any product targeting the U.S. market should bring the consumer’s online experience to
the fore, especially with the global expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic and its new variants. However, the importance of
the e-commerce market will be emphasized in the market entry section (Check Section 2).
Besides the swelling preference for online shopping, consumers are focusing on their personal health and basic hygiene,
which is manifested in the accelerated demand for organic, natural, and fresh goods. As per McKinsey’s report on “
COVID-19 is changing [how] consumers behave across all spheres of life
”, e-commerce, health, and wellbeing are the main
emerging trends in consumer behavior after the pandemic outbreak. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you chase the
newest trends and needs in terms of packaging, hygiene, health, organic, fresh, and safety, especially when forging new
partnerships in foreign countries