No matter how you slice it, watermelon is the United States’ favorite melon
If you are reaching for a slice of melon to cool off from the summer heat, chances are watermelon is your first choice. Since 2000, watermelon has gained a larger share of U.S. melon availability (calculated by adding production and import volumes and then subtracting exports). In 2022, watermelon accounted for more than half of U.S. melon availability, double the share of every other melon variety combined. An estimated 21.1 pounds of melons were available in 2022 for each U.S. consumer to eat, with watermelon accounting for 14.1 pounds, cantaloupe for 5.3 pounds, honeydew for 1.6 pounds, and all other melons making up the remaining slice. Increases in watermelon availability, by both volume and share, correspond with overall growth in melon imports, which first served to bridge supply gaps during nongrowing seasons in the United States. Most of the melons consumed in the United States are grown domestically, but imports are capturing a growing share of the fresh melon market. Since the 1980s, imports have increased from an average share of less than 10 percent to almost 40 percent over the last 5 years. U.S. imports of watermelons now come mostly from Mexico, with increasing volumes from Guatemala and Honduras. Cantaloupe and honeydew imports ship mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, with lower volumes from Mexico. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, published in March 2023.
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