Edible Insects

edible insects

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.

— Matthew 3:4, New American Bible Revised Edition

People around the world have been eating insects for thousands of years. In 2018, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for nearly 43% of the edible insect market worldwide, followed by Latin America (22.7%), and Europe (20.2%). By country, some of the largest markets include Thailand, Japan, China, Australia, and Peru. In Thailand, many people enjoy deep-fried insects as snacks and typically wash them down with their favorite beer. Globally, traditional diets include around 1,900 insect species.1 Beetles are the most numerous (659 species); followed by caterpillars (362); ants, bees, and wasps (321) and grasshoppers and locusts (278). Several species of true bugs, dragonflies, termites, flies, cockroaches, and spiders among others are also considered edible.2

Insects are high in protein (nearly equivalent to that of beef, pork, and poultry), require significantly less land, feed, and water than livestock, and farming them emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases (2 grams of greenhouse gases per kg of weight for insects vs 2,850 grams of greenhouse gases per kg of weight for cattle). As a result, insects are considered by some to be an eco-friendly alternative to beef, pork, and chicken. According to Innova Market Insights, insect protein will become a popular meat alternative in 2019 as consumers continue to demand healthy and eco-conscious foods. Recently some high-end restaurants in the United States and Europe began incorporating insects into some of the dishes offered on their menus. But what about the “ick factor”? According to Christine Couvelier, a chef and food industry consultant, “cricket powder is the best way to introduce this.” Crickets, processed into a tasteless powder or flour, can be added to a variety of foods such as sausages, granola, soups, pasta, desserts or bread to give the foods added protein, vitamins, and amino acids. The increasing use of insects in sports and dietary supplements used by athletes is expected to help drive demand also.

Today’s market size shows the total worldwide revenues for edible insects in 2017 and 2024 according to Global Market Insights.3 The figure for 2024 is projected. Not all edible insects are consumed by humans. Grasshoppers are food for pet fish, turtles, and birds. In the aquaculture industry, black soldier fly larvae and maggots are substitutes for fishmeal. A variety of insects, including beetles, cockroaches, termites, and ants, are food sources for poultry. Demand for edible insects in this market is expected to grow in the next five years. Currently, soymeal constitutes 65% of poultry and cattle feed. Research is underway by some manufacturers of edible insects to potentially replace 10-50% of soymeal feed with black soldier fly larvae, grasshoppers, silkworms or mealworms. These insects have similar nutrient content to traditional soymeal feed. Leading firms in the edible insect market include EnviroFlight, Haocheng Mealworm, AgriProtein, and Entomo Farms.

1 Source: Agnieszka de Sousa, Hayley Warren, and Roni Rekomaa, “Bugs Are Coming Soon to Your Dinner Table,” Bloomberg, July 5, 2018 available online here.
2 Source: “List of Edible Insects of the World,” Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands available online here. According to Yde Jongema, a taxonomist at the Department of Entomology of Wageningen University and Research, as of April 1, 2017, there were 2,111 species of edible insects in the world.
3 The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture citing Research and Markets and Meticulous Research both predict that the edible insect market will reach $1.2 billion by 2023.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2017 and 2024
Market size: $55 million and $710 million, respectively
Sources: Kunal Ahuja and Shreya Deb, “Global Edible Insects Market to Exceed $710 Mn by 2024,” Global Market Insights, June 20, 2018 available online here; Agnieszka de Sousa, Hayley Warren, and Roni Rekomaa, “Bugs Are Coming Soon to Your Dinner Table,” Bloomberg, July 5, 2018 available online here; “List of Edible Insects of the World,” Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands available online here; Sean Rossman, “Bugs in Your Food? Might Be on Purpose,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, December 23, 2018, pages 1B and 2B; Stacie Goldin, “Eating Insects in Thailand,” Entomo Farms, May 19, 2016 available online here; Kunal Ahuja and Shreya Deb, “Edible Insects Market Size By Product (Beetles, Caterpillars, Grasshoppers, Bees, Wasps, Ants, Scale Insects & True Bugs), By Application (Flour, Protein Bars, Snacks), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Belgium, Netherlands, UK, France, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico), Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2018 – 2024,” Global Market Insights, June 2018 available online here; Courtney Johnson, “Edible Insects Market Seeing Growth,” Natural Products Insider, July 15, 2016 available online here.
Image source: Satya Prem, “food-insect-nutrition-eat-protein-3348724,” Pixabay, April 24, 2018 available online here.


Hemp seeds

Hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant, is a widely cultivated herb grown for its edible seeds, oil, and strong woody fiber used in cordage and fabrics. Unlike marijuana, modern-day hemp contains very small concentrations of the psychoactive substance delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), less than 0.3%. Marijuana, on the other hand, typically contains between 5% and 20%, with some types containing up to 35%. Hemp contains higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), however, than marijuana. CBD is the ingredient in cannabis thought to have medicinal properties. The Federal Drug Administration in the United States recently approved the CBD-derived epilepsy drug Epidiolex. Of all the products made from hemp sold in the U.S. in 2017, consumers spent the most on hemp-derived CBD, $190 million. One of the top food trends in 2019 is expected to be CBD-infused food and drinks, increasing demand. Spending on hemp-based industrial products totaled $144 million in 2017, much of which was spent by the automotive industry.

Hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years. Its fibers were found in pottery dating back more than 5,000 years in what is modern-day Taiwan. Textiles made of hemp were used in China as far back as 4000 BC and hemp paper was first used in 100 BC. The first recorded use of cannabis as medicine was in 2737 BC. In the 1500s, hemp was used for sailcloth for the English Navy. Because of this, English farmers and later farmers in the North American colonies were required to devote some acreage to hemp cultivation. The variety of cannabis that was grown in the American colonies was Cannabis sativa, an imported variety, not the indigenous hemp known to Native Americans. The plants were grown in tight clusters, thereby creating a taller plant with fewer branches and fewer female flowers. It’s the female flowers that contain high concentrations of THC. In the 18th-century, hemp was made into clothes, rope, bed ticking and sacks. During the American Revolution, it was in high demand for ropes and sails for the Continental Navy as well as for the state-sponsored fleets. Demand for it waned after the war but remained a flourishing domestic cash crop in the United States. After the Marihuana Tax Act of 19371 was implemented, which also taxed and regulated hemp, the popularity of hemp declined and many businesses shuttered. In the middle of the 20th century, calls for the prohibition of marijuana due to its intoxicating effects led to cannabis being banned in the Federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 signed by Richard Nixon. No provision was made to exempt industrialized hemp grown for utilitarian purposes.

As the tide of public opinion toward cannabis turned and more and more states started to legalize medical marijuana, hemp was again looked at as a viable domestic crop. The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed by President Obama, defined industrialized hemp as separate from marijuana and authorized research and pilot programs for the production of hemp in conjunction with universities and state departments of agriculture. In 2015, seven states planted research crops. Twenty-seven states removed barriers to hemp production and Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont licensed farmers to grow hemp under state law. Unfortunately, Federal law still classified hemp as a Schedule I substance so farmers could still go to jail and have their property taken away for growing hemp. This changed with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, that President Trump signed into law in December 2018. This law amended the Controlled Substances Act to exempt the THC in hemp from being classified as a Schedule I drug, opening up opportunities for farmers to grow and sell industrialized hemp in the United States without the worry of losing their property or going to prison due to Federal drug policy.

Today’s market size shows the total sales of hemp products in the United States in 2017 and 2022 according to Hemp Business Journal estimates. *Future estimates vary widely among different groups when it comes to the largest sales category in the hemp industry, CBD-based products. Marijuana research firm Greenwave Advisors predicts that CBD product sales alone will reach $3 billion by 2021. Cannabis industry analysts at the Brightfield Group predict that sales will reach $22 billion by 2022. These higher estimates are bolstered by many factors, not the least of which is the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law. Also, products containing CBD are now more widely available, being sold at health food stores and in beauty aisles of mainstream retailers. More doctors are prescribing CBD products for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain. The Federal Drug Administration’s approval of Epidiolex will also fuel demand. An estimated $591 million was spent on hemp-based CBD products in 2018. Demand is expected to grow as consumers continue to seek natural remedies for ailments.

1 “Under pertinent provisions of the Marihuana Tax Act, 26 U.S.C.S. §§ 4751-4753, every person who sells, deals in, dispenses, or gives away marihuana must register with the Internal Revenue Service and pay a special occupational tax.” Also, a transfer tax was required to be paid and a form was to be filled out with the name and address of the buyer and seller and the amount of marihuana to be purchased. The form was to be filled out in triplicate, one copy going to the Internal Revenue Service, one copy to be kept by the buyer and the original to be kept by the seller. All copies and originals were subject to inspection by federal and state law enforcement. Source: “Marijuana Tax Act Law and Legal Definition,” USLegal available online here.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017 and 2022
Market size: $820 million and $1.9 billion*, respectively
Sources: “The U.S. Hemp Industry Grows to $820mm in Sales in 2017,” Hemp Business Journal, May 20, 2018 available online here; “Hemp,” Merriam-Webster available online here; “The Truth Behind Hemp in the United States,” Ministry of Hemp available online here; Ben Swensen, “Hemp & Flax in Colonial America,” Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Winter 2015 available online here; “10,000- year History of Marijuana Use in the World,” Advanced Holistic Health available online here; Elisabeth Garber-Paul, “Exclusive: New Report Predicts CBD Market Will Hit $22 Billion by 2022,” Rolling Stone, September 11, 2018 available online here; Public Law No: 115-334. Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 available online here; Daniele Piomelli and Ethan B. Russo, “The Cannabis sativa Versus Cannabis indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD,” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, January 1, 2016 available online here; Brian S. Julin, “Welcome to Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis Hemp,” 1994 available online here; “Titles II and III of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-513)” available online here; “Hemp vs Marijuana,” Ministry of Hemp available online here; “Marijuana Tax Act Law and Legal Definition,” USLegal available online here; Trevor Hughes, “It Won’t Get You High, But It Can Make You Full,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, January 14, 2019, page 1B.
Image source: ulleo, “hemp-cannabis-seeds-grains-healthy-2258608,” Pixabay, April 28, 2017 available online here.


turkeyAccording to the National Turkey Federation, 45-46 million turkeys are killed each year to supply the demand for turkey on Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Year-round, per capita consumption of turkey was 16.4 pounds in 2017. Most of the turkeys sold in supermarkets, 99.9%, are the Broad Breasted White variety. This variety, a cross between the White Holland and the Broad Breasted Bronze breeds, first became popular in the 1960s as breeders wanted to supply the most meat at the lowest price. Broad Breasted Whites were bred for high breast meat content. As a result, they cannot walk well, cannot fly and males cannot sire offspring naturally. Breeders must use artificial insemination.

The other 0.1% of turkeys sold are American heritage varieties. There are 10 varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association’s turkey Standard of Perfection of 1874. They are Standard Bronze, Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Jersey Buff, Slate, Black Spanish, White Holland, Royal Palm, White Midget, and Beltsville Small White. These turkeys are “bred for fine flavor, beauty … and a good yield of meat from the food provided.”1 These varieties have been bred over hundreds of years in the United States and Europe. They more closely resemble wild turkeys in that they can run, fly, and breed naturally.

Because of the popularity of Broad Breasted Whites, heritage varieties nearly became extinct in 1990. An effort to revive the breeds began in 1997. That year there were only about 1,300 breeding birds. In 2016, there were 14,500. Large commercial farms raise Broad Breasted Whites for sale to supermarkets. American heritage turkeys are mostly found on smaller farms that raise a limited number yearly. Heritage turkeys are therefore much more expensive than Broad Breasted Whites.

Today’s market size shows the number of pounds of turkey produced in the United States in 2017.2 This was a 2.2% increase over 2016. Due to oversupply, with prices hitting a seven-year low, several companies planned to scale back production in 2018. The top 5 companies in terms of production were, in order: Butterball, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Cargill Protein, Farbest Foods, and Kraft Heinz Co.

1 Source: “Heritage Turkeys,” Heritage Turkey Foundation available online here. The meat content is close to a 50/50 ratio of thigh meat and breast meat.

2 Source: WATT PoultryUSA, March 2018, page 54. The USDA reports production was 5.98 billion pounds (total farm production minus condemnations) in 2017. Full source citations below.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: 7.433 billion pounds
Sources: Austin Alonzo, “Top US Turkey Producers Growing Amid Challenging Markets,” WATT PoultryUSA, March 2018, pages 54-57 available online here; “Heritage Turkeys,” Heritage Turkey Foundation available online here; “U.S. Meats Supply and Use,” World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, United States Department of Agriculture, October 11, 2018 available online here; Adam Gabbatt, “Taste of Thanksgiving Past: Why Heritage Turkeys are Making a Comeback,” The Guardian, November 21, 2017 available online here; Jennifer Calfas, “Here’s How Many Turkeys Are Killed Each Year for Thanksgiving,” Time, November 16, 2017 available online here; “Turkey Breed Facts: Broad Breasted White,” Local Harvest, January 27, 2011 available online here; Virginia Van Zanten, “The 4 Best Places to Order Your Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey,” Vogue, November 12, 2015 available online here.
Image source: PublicDomainPictures,”celebration-christmas-cuisine-315079,” Pixabay, April 5, 2014 available online here.


specialty pumpkinsPumpkins. The quintessential autumn vegetable. Carved into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Baked into pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Used as a flavoring in everything from coffee and creamers to ice cream, beer, and rum. In the 52 weeks ended August 25, 2018, pet parents spent more than $109 million for pumpkin-flavored dog food, a 124% jump from the previous 52-week period. For several years now pumpkin has been the most popular Halloween costume for pets.

Today’s market size shows the total production value of pumpkins in the United States in 2017. That year, growers harvested 69,340 acres, down from 71,400 acres in 2016, but well above the 45,900 acres a decade ago. The production value of pumpkins for the fresh market was $172.1 million in 2017, far above the $13.6 million for pumpkins harvested for processing. In acres harvested, the top 5 states were Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, California, and New York. Nearly 80% of Illinois’ pumpkin harvest is grown for processing.

In recent years the demand for specialty and heirloom pumpkin varieties has grown. Some popular varieties include Big Mac, Blue, Cotton Candy, Valenciano, Festival, Cinderella and Fairytale. The Cotton Candy and Valenciano varieties have a white hue. The Fairytale variety turns a shade of mahogany when mature. The Cinderella, so named because of its resemblance to Cinderella’s transformed coach, is a French heirloom variety that was cultivated by the Pilgrims.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: $185.8 million
Sources: “Quick Stats,” United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service available online here; Ana Serafin Smith, “Halloween Spending to Reach $9 Billion,” National Retail Federation Press Release, September 20, 2018 available online here; “Pumpkin Spice Sales Growth Makes a Hot Return in Late-August” available online here; “Pumpkins: Background & Statistics,” United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 13, 2018 available online here; “Historical Highlights and Related Releases,” National Retail Federation available online here; Tess Koman, “55 Fall-Flavored Things You Can Eat Right Now,” Delish, September 12, 2018 available online here; Lizzie Fuhr, “8 Funky Pumpkin Varieties for a Festive Fall,” PopSugar, October 5, 2012 available online here.
Image source: Renee_Olmsted_Photography, “pumpkins-halloween-stems-autumn-956428,” Pixabay, September 25, 2015 available online here.

Organic Food

Organic foodSales of organic food have grown considerably since 1990 when the Organic Food Production Act was signed into law. That law authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. One of the many responsibilities of this program is to develop standards for organically-produced agricultural products that have the USDA organic seal, ensuring that products meet consistent, uniform standards. These standards, along with the USDA organic seal, were first implemented in 2002. The program also maintains a list of certified organic operations and helps farmers and businesses learn how to get certified. In 2017 there were more than 24,000 certified organic operations in the United States. Between 1990 and 2002 sales of organic food products increased nearly 9-fold, from $1 billion in 1990 to $8.6 billion in 2002. In 2017, sales were more than $45 billion.

While still a small portion of overall food sales, organic food sales growth has outpaced overall food sales growth in each of the last ten years. Sales of organic food grew 17.5% in 2008, the highest growth in the last decade. That same year overall food sales grew 4.9%. In 2008, organic food sales made up 3.1% of all food sales in the country. By 2017, organic food sales grew to 5.5% of total food sales. Growth in the organic food sector that year slowed to 6.4%, but it was still well above the 1.1% growth in the overall food sector.

Fruits and vegetables were the largest organic food category in 2017, with sales of $16.5 billion, followed by dairy and eggs. However, the dairy and egg sector faced competition from the growing popularity of non-dairy milk alternatives and the USDA’s withdrawing of regulations in the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule in 2017, which caused many consumers to question the meaning of the USDA seal on these products, reduced demand. Growth in organic beverage sales outpaced overall organic food sales growth by 64% in 2017. Sales of organic fresh juices alone jumped 25%, reaching $1.2 billion or slightly more than one-fifth of total organic beverage sales that year.

Today’s market size shows the total sales of organic food for the years 2008 and 2017. According to a study conducted by Nielsen, 82% of households in the lower 48 states regularly bought organic food in 2017. This is up considerably from just 3 years earlier when a Gallup poll reported that 45% of households actively try to include organic foods in their diet.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008 and 2017
Market size: $20.4 billion and $45.2 billion respectively.
Sources: Maggie McNeil, “Maturing U.S. Organic Sector Sees Steady Growth of 6.4 Percent in 2017,” Organic Trade Association Press Release, May 18, 2018 available online here; “National Organic Program,” United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing Service avalable online here; Nate Birt, “Study: 82% of U.S. Households Buy Organic Food Regularly,” AgWEb, March 24, 2017 available online here; Rebecca Riffkin, “Forty-Five Percent of Americans Seek Out Organic Foods,” Gallup, August 7, 2014 available online here; Laura Batcha, “Organic Farming Has So Many Benefits for People,” Lansing State Journal, July 22, 2018, page 9A.
Image source: ErikaWittlieb, “vegetables-supermarket-market-food-1100198,” Pixabay, December 22, 2015 available online here. Use of image does not constitute endorsement of supermarket shown.

Wineries in Michigan

Michigan ranks fifth in the United States in wine production. Most wine grapes are grown in Van Buren, Berrien, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse counties, all within 25 miles of the Lake Michigan coast. The top 3 wines produced are Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Because several other types of fruit are grown in the state, many wineries make wine from fruit other than grapes, such as with cherries or apples.

Geographic reference: Michigan
Year: 2017
Market size: 127 wineries producing 2.4 million gallons of wine annually
Source: Bob Gross, “Wine and Spirits Industries Booming,” Lansing State Journal, April 23, 2017, page 7P.
Original source: Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council

Wheat Market in Michigan

Michigan has approximately 8,000 wheat farmers, some have been farming on family farms for more than 100 years. Several have ancestors who were wheat farmers in Europe. Farmers in Michigan plant on average 500,000 acres of wheat per year.

There are primarily two types of wheat that Michigan farmers plant: soft white and soft red. Soft white wheat is mostly used in breakfast cereals and whole-grain products because of its greater palatability. Soft red wheat is mostly used for baked goods and other processed foods.

Today’s market size is the value of wheat sales by farmers in Michigan.

Geographic reference: Michigan
Year: 2016
Market size: $218.5 million
Source: Witsil, Frank, “Dr. Wheat Shapes Eats,” Lansing State Journal, November 13, 2016, page 7A

Animal Feed Additives

Food supplements are consumed, whether by humans or animals, to augment or improve in some way the nutritional value of the diet. Food additives in farming have been used for centuries, as anyone who has seen a salt-lick will appreciate. However, with the rise of corporate farming in livestock production—what are known as Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs)—the use of feed additives and the nature of those additives has changed greatly. Animal feed additives come in a variety of types, from vitamin supplements and amino acids to preservatives, emulsifiers and essential fatty acids.

Recently, one commonly used additive has been in the media spotlight; antibiotics. It is now common practice in the United States to add low doses of antibiotics to animal feed. Antibiotics are used to stimulate growth as well as to stave off the diseases bred by unnatural and unsanitary conditions. The use of antibiotics on livestock is so great in the United Sates that it is believed to account for 80%, by weight, of all antibiotic use. The business of providing a population with high volumes of low-cost meat is a very large business indeed. Raising livestock in more natural ways—as opposed to the assembly-line manner used by AFOs—takes longer and, as they say, time is money.

Today’s market size is the estimated global value of the animal feed additive market. These additives are most heavily used in North America and Asia-Pacific, regions that together account for more than 60% of the use of animal feed additives.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2012 and a forecast for 2018
Market size: $16.18 billion and $20.23 billion respectively
Source: “Animal Feed Additives Market Worth $20,233.2 Million by 2018,” PR Newswire, March 12, 2014, available online here.
Original source: MarketsandMarkets
Posted on March 17, 2014


Today’s market size is the total production of oranges worldwide in 2013, broken out into those harvested for consumption as fresh fruit and those harvested for processing. In the United States, production was down in 2013 due in part to Citrus Greening disease which has been killing trees in the nations largest orange producing state, Florida. Over the last six years, 2008–2013, U.S. orange production accounted for an average of 15% of world production. In 2013 that figure fell to 13%.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2013
Market size: 51.8 million metric tons, 59% harvested for fresh consumption and 41% for processing
Source: “Oranges, Fresh: Production, Supply and Distribution in Selected Countries,” Production, Supply and Distribution Online, December 24, 2013, USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service, available online here. The USDA reports on the production and supply of many agricultural products through its Foreign Agricultural Service, the main web site for which is here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
Posted on February 7, 2014



It takes far fewer acres to produce the food we need and in the United States the total number of acres used in agriculture have been shrinking for decades, while output has grown. The number of farms has also been shrinking as larger and more industrial-sized farms have come to dominate the market.

These trends in farming can be seen in the graph. It shows the number of farms and the average size of U.S. farms each decade since 1940. What we thought was of interest is the fact that there has been a small change in the century-long trend of growing average farm size. Since 1990, the average size of farms has actually shrunk, slightly, from 460 acres to 418 acres. There was also a slight increase in the number of farms between 2000 and 2010. The relatively small movement back to family or small-scale farming, and in particular organic farming, is large enough to be visible in the national statistics and on the size of the average farm in the United States.

Today’s market size is the total number of farms in the United States in 1990 and 2010 as well as the total value of farm output in those two years.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 1990 and 2010
Market size: 1990: 2,146 farms with output valued at $180 billion
Market size: 2010: 2,201 farms with output valued at $300 billion
Sources: (1) “Table 824. Farms—Number and Acreage: 1990 to 2010,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012, U.S. Census Bureau, December 2011, page 536, available online here. (2) “Table 1101. Farms—Number and Acreage: 1959 to 1989,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, January 1990, page 638. (3) “Series K 1-16. Farm Populations, Land in Farms, and Value of Farm Property and Real Estate: 1850 to 1970,” Statistical Abstract of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, U.S. Census Bureau, September 1975, page 457.
Original source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census
Posted on January 10, 2014


Cranberries, a native fruit of North America, are consumed most frequently in the form of juice. However, during the celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States, cranberries in a more solid form have an important place on the menu. Wisconsin is the cranberry-producing center of the United States. It’s crop, in 2012, accounted for more than half of all fresh cranberries sold in the country.

Today’s market size in the estimated value of the 2012 cranberry harvest in the United States.

We wish you much to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving, 2013.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012
Market size: $386 million (slightly more than 8 million barrels of cranberries)
Source: Malinda Geisler and Diane Huntrods, “Cranberries Profile,” Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), Iowa State University, available online here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Posted on November 27, 2013

Orange Juice

Faced with a greater variety of beverage choices, including exotic juices and energy drinks, and higher prices for orange juice due to the spread of citrus greening disease, consumers are increasingly choosing those alternatives over the breakfast staple, orange juice. Total U.S. retail unit sales in the 2012-2013 season reached its lowest level since the 1998-1999 season.

Data show the total U.S. retail sales of orange juice by volume in the 2012-2013 season.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012-2013
Market size: 563.2 million gallons
Source: Alexandra Wexler, “The Slow Death of a Former Breakfast Table Star,” The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2013, available online here.
Original source: Nielsen
Posted on October 29, 2013

Global Feed Industry

The feed industry is a part of the agriculture sector. The term feed here is used as a noun and refers to the food provided to agricultural animals and fish, to livestock. Many different things are used as feed. These are usually broken into two categories, concentrates and roughage. The concentrates are the high energy value feeds that come from cereal grains, high-protein oil meals, and by-products from processing sugar beets, sugarcane, animals and fish. The category of feed referred to as roughage includes pasture grasses, hay, silage, corn stalks and the like.

An area of interest and research in this industry is raising insects for use as animal feed. It has the potential for being a very sustainable, comparatively low energy way to significantly increase feedstocks over the next decades. This is important since United Nations’ estimates predict a 70% increase in demand for agricultural feed over current rates by the year 2050.

Today’s market size is the quantity and value of feed production globally in 2011.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2011
Market size: 870 million tons valued at $350 billion
Source: “Insects as Animal Feed,” The Fish Site, June 3, 2013, available online here.
Original source: United National Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Posted on September 20, 2013

Apples and Cherries in Michigan

Farming is not for the weak of heart as volatility in agricultural output is still the norm. After a year of devastation for the fruit industry in the State of Michigan, this year is shaping up to be a strong recovery. No matter how much technological know-how we invest in our agricultural industries, in the end, weather can still have the final say on whether a year is a boon or a bust.

Michigan is the third largest apple producing state in the union and its state flower is the apple blossom. In 2012, unusual weather patterns in the early part of the season destroyed many of the fruit crops for the year. In 2013, the pent-up energy in the fruit bearing trees has combined with perfect weather conditions to produce what is expected to be a bumper crop for most fruits grown in Michigan.

Today’s market size is the quantity of apples and cherries grown in Michigan in 2012 and 2013, based on early 2013 crop reports.

Geographic reference: Michigan
Year: 2012 and 2013
Market size: Apples: 2.74 and 30.0 million bushels respectively
Market size: Cherries: 11 and 212 million pounds respectively
Source: Michael Martinez, “Michigan expects biggest apple crop in decades,” The Detroit News, August 31, 2013, available online here.
Original source: Apple Committee and the Michigan Farm Bureau
Posted on September 3, 2013

Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Products

Some say it strengthens hair and tastes good drizzled on a salad. Moroccan argan oil is the latest new trend in the personal-care market. Argan oil is appearing in more and more products as one of the highlighted ingredients. Under fair trade production standards, dime-sized kernels from acorn-shaped nuts are extracted by hand by Moroccan women earning the equivalent of $4 a day. These kernels are then ground down and the oil extracted. The wholesale price of argan oil in 2011 was approximately $30 per liter while in beauty boutiques around the world, a liter of argan oil sells for around $400.

In 2012, Morocco exported 700 tons of the oil, twice that exported in 2007. Today’s market size is the number of hair products containing argan oil that were introduced in 2008 and 2012.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008 and 2012
Market size: 29 and 588 respectively
Source: Matthew Boyle, “Cosmetics’ Hot Elixir: Argan Oil From Morocco,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 25, 2013, available online here.
Original source: Mintel
Posted on August 6, 2013

Peppermint Oil


The price of mint oil, both peppermint and spearmint, has gone up sharply since the recession that started at the end of 2007. The chart shows the value of U.S. mint oil production from 2000 through 2012. Much of the increase has been due to the increased price of mint oil and not increased production. In fact, the production of peppermint oil fell over this period by 6.7% while the total value of the peppermint oil produced rose by 108%. Spearmint oil production over this period grew by 8.7% and the value of that oil grew by 134%.

Today’s market size is the number of pounds of peppermint oil produced in the United States in 2000 and 2012 and the value of the oil produced each year.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2000 and 2012
Market size: 7,063 pounds valued at $76.28 million and 6,592 pounds valued at $158.86 million respectively
Source: Crop Values – 2012 Summary, February 2013, page 43 and earlier reports in this annual series. These reports are produced by and put out annually by the United States Department of Agriculture, accessible in multiple formats on their website here.
Original source: USDA
Posted on May 24, 2013

Organic Products

Currently there are more than 17,000 certified organic businesses in the United States. In 2011, sales of organic foods made up more than 4% of all food and beverage sales. In 2012, sales of organic products grew 10%. Growth in this industry is expected to continue due to increasing consumer demand.

Today’s market size is the dollar amount of organic product sales in United States in 2012.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012
Market size: $35 billion
Source: Mary Clare Jalonick, “Demand Aids Organic Industry’s Sway,” Lansing State Journal, May 19, 2013, page 6A.
Posted on May 22, 2013

Açaí Berries and Superfoods

The açaí berry is native to the Amazon rainforest and in particular to Brazil. It is a berry that has high quantities of phytochemicals, plant compounds that are believed to protect us from a variety of ills, from heart disease to cancer. Through heavy marketing of the berry as a sort of miracle cure, a market for this fruit was created and grew rapidly, reaching a high in 2009.

The açaí berry is what is often called a superfood, a category of foods that are nutrient dense, thus rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients while having few calories. So-called superfoods that are new to the U.S. market appear to follow a somewhat predictable cycle. They become the hyped new health food. Demand for them rises sharply and they ride this tide. Then they begin a decline as their high prices are balanced against the consumer’s experience with them and the promise of a new, heavily marketed superfood. Worth noting is the fact that blueberries are very nearly as rich in polyphenols as are açaí berries yet they are priced at a fraction of the price of açaí berries.

Today’s market size is an estimate of the total value of açaí-laced products sold in the United States in 2012.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2012
Market size: $200 million
Source: Tom Philpott, “Farm to Fable,” Mother Jones, May/June 2013, page 68
Posted on April 23, 2013

Cuban Imports

On the whole the United States has been a supporter and booster of free trade and globalization since the end of the second World War and with increased energy since the 1990s. Yet with one neighboring country, Cuba, trade relations have been unusual. The frictions in trade between the United States and Cuba date back to the 1950s and the Cuban Revolution, followed by a forty-year trade embargo imposed by the United States. In 2000, President Clinton signed the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act which opened the door for some restrictive trade with Cuba, specifically, U.S. exports of farm and forestry products and some medicines. The act did not open the door for any imports from Cuba.

Today’s market size is the total value of products exported from the United States to Cuba in 2000, 2008, and 2011. The drop in exports from 2008 to 2011 is largely the result of the fact that under the restrictions imposed on this trade, Cuba is required to pay in advance for all U.S. imports in cash, something that became much harder as the financial crisis of 2008 took hold. By way of placing this level of international trade into perspective, according to CIA estimates, Cuba’s imports in 2011, from all over the world, totaled $14 billion.

Geographic reference: United States and Cuba
Year: 2000, 2008, 2011
Market size: $1.3, $711.5, and $363.3 million
Source: “2011 Exports of NAICS Total All Merchandise,” and interactive, online data resource published by the International Trade Administration and available online here. “The World Factbook,” entry on Cuba, published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and make available online here.
Original source: ITA (U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration) and the CIA
Posted on January 11, 2013

Christmas Tree Farming

The sale of natural trees for use as Christmas trees has been on the decline in the United States for some time. Most likely, the decline in numbers of trees sold annually has more to do with the rise in the use of artificial trees than to an overall decline in households and establishments decorating trees for the season. In 2009, Christmas tree production in the United States was down 60% from its pace just seven years earlier, in 2002 (a U.S. Economic Census year) when 20.8 million trees were grown for sale.

Today’s market size is the number of Christmas trees grown for sale in the United States in 2009 and their approximate value that year.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: 12.9 million trees valued at $248.9 million.
Source: Dan Burden and J.S. Isaacs, “Christmas Tree Profile,” AgMRC, March 2012, available online here.
Original source: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Census of Horticultural Specialties, USDA and the National Christmas Tree Association.
Posted on December 17, 2012