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The Empire of Red Gold

The world’s most consumed fruit has an untold story. The industrialization of the humble tomato preceded the globalized economy that was to follow. It is now as much of a commodity as wheat, rice, or petrol. The tomato’s ability to create strongly identifiable products, such as ketchup, pizza sauce, soups, sauces, drinks or frozen dishes is unbeatable. As early as 1897, ten years before Ford started to mass-produce cars, Heinz was already converting tomatoes into standardized cans of puree. They were one of the first companies to understand the power of branding. They banned unions, imposed uniform standards of production and established genetic laboratories that ensured identical tomato plantations all around the world. Today, wherever you are in the world, you can eat the same tomatoes. This film will trace the journey of tomato paste from Africa, Italy, China and America to show the consequences of this global business.

Tomatoes Exports by Country

Global sales for tomatoes exported by all countries totaled an estimated US$9.8 billion for 2020. Overall, the value of exported tomatoes increased by an average 12.9% for all shipping countries since 2016 when tomatoes shipments were valued at $8.7 billion.

Year over year, globally exported tomatoes appreciated by 7.2% from 2019 to 2020.

The world’s 5 biggest exporters of tomatoes (Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Morocco, Canada) generated over two-thirds (69.3%) of all tomatoes sold on international markets in 2020.

At the continent level, European countries sold the highest value for exported tomatoes during 2020 with shipments amounting to $4.3 billion or 43.7% of worldwide exports. North American exporters were responsible for 34.3% worth, while Asian suppliers supplied a 12.1% share trailed by African providers at 9.2%.

Tinier percentages originated from Latin America (0.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia.

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for fresh or chilled tomatoes is 0702.

Tomatoes Exports by Country

Countries
Advantages
opportunities
Companies

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of tomatoes during 2020.

  1. Mexico: US$2.6 billion (26.5% of exported tomatoes)
  2. Netherlands: $1.9 billion (19.5%)
  3. Spain: $1.1 billion (10.9%)
  4. Morocco: $767 million (7.8%)
  5. Canada: $458.2 million (4.7%)
  6. France: $444.3 million (4.5%)
  7. Belgium: $326.1 million (3.3%)
  8. United States: $312.9 million (3.2%)
  9. Turkey: $312 million (3.2%)
  10. China: $274.1 million (2.8%)
  11. Azerbaijan: $201.4 million (2%)
  12. Italy: $141.4 million (1.4%)
  13. Poland: $68.1 million (0.7%)
  14. Jordan: $66.2 million (0.7%)
  15. Uzbekistan: $66.1 million (0.7%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 91.7% of globally exported tomatoes in 2020 by value.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing sellers of tomatoes on global markets from 2019 to 2020 were: China (up 36.9%), Canada (up 20.8%), Mexico (up 20.5%) and France (up 16.5%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported tomatoes sales were led by: Jordan (down -44.9%), Poland (down -4.2%), Uzbekistan (down -3.6%), Morocco (down -2.2%) and Italy (down -0.7%).

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for fresh or chilled tomatoes during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s tomatoes exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. Mexico: US$2.6 billion (net export surplus up 20.5% since 2019)
  2. Netherlands: $1.6 billion (down -2.3%)
  3. Spain: $895.2 million (up 4%)
  4. Morocco: $766.9 million (down -2.2%)
  5. Turkey: $307.7 million (up 1.9%)
  6. China: $274.1 million (up 36.9%)
  7. Belgium: $231.5 million (up 14.5%)
  8. Azerbaijan: $200.5 million (up 6.1%)
  9. Canada: $139.1 million (up 88.8%)
  10. Jordan: $66.1 million (down -45%)
  11. Uzbekistan: $36.1 million (no 2015 data)
  12. Tunisia: $58.8 million (up 65.3%)
  13. Afghanistan: $46.6 million (up 332%)
  14. Egypt: $40.4 million (down -17.5%)
  15. Turkmenistan: $37.7 million (up 65.4%)

Mexico has the highest surplus in the international trade of tomatoes. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Mexico’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for tomatoes during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s tomatoes import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. United States: -US$2.6 billion (net export deficit up 22.4% since 2019)
  2. Germany: -$1.5 billion (up 8.4%)
  3. United Kingdom: -$614 million (down -3.8%)
  4. Russia: -$518.3 million (down -17.9%)
  5. France: -$275.1 million (down -14.8%)
  6. Poland: -$200.5 million (up 15.5%)
  7. Sweden: -$159.3 million (up 1.3%)
  8. Saudi Arabia: -$126.7 million (up 46%)
  9. Romania: -$111.1 million (up 5.7%)
  10. Czech Republic: -$96.9 million (down -6.7%)
  11. Switzerland: -$96.4 million (up 15.7%)
  12. Denmark: -$74.5 million (down -0.9%)
  13. Ukraine: -$73.1 million (up 64.2%)
  14. Finland: -$69.7 million (up 10%)
  15. Austria: -$66.4 million (down -6.9%)

The United States of America incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of tomatoes. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights America’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for tomatoes-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.

Tomato Exporting Companies

Below are large tomato exporting companies that are major players in international trade. Show within parenthesis is the country where the company is headquartered.

  • Morning Star (United States)
  • COFCO Group (China)
  • Xinjiang Chalkis Co. Ltd (China)
  • California Tomato Export Group (United States)
  • ConAgra Foods (United States)
  • Campbell Soup Company (United States)
  • Fuyuan Agriculture Products Limited (China)
  • Unilever (United Kingdom)
  • Heinz (United States)
  • Conserve Italia (Italy)
  • Kagome Co., Ltd. (Japan)
  • Empresas Carozzi (Chile)
  • Parmalat SpA (Italy)
  • Xinjiang Tianye Co., Ltd. (China)
close view of three red tomatoes
Exported tomatoes

Global sales for tomatoes exported by all countries totaled an estimated US$9.8 billion for 2020. Overall, the value of exported tomatoes increased by an average 12.9% for all shipping countries since 2016 when tomatoes shipments were valued at $8.7 billion.

Year over year, globally exported tomatoes appreciated by 7.2% from 2019 to 2020.

The world’s 5 biggest exporters of tomatoes (Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Morocco, Canada) generated over two-thirds (69.3%) of all tomatoes sold on international markets in 2020.

At the continent level, European countries sold the highest value for exported tomatoes during 2020 with shipments amounting to $4.3 billion or 43.7% of worldwide exports. North American exporters were responsible for 34.3% worth, while Asian suppliers supplied a 12.1% share trailed by African providers at 9.2%.

Tinier percentages originated from Latin America (0.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia.

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for fresh or chilled tomatoes is 0702.

red sliced tomato in close up photography

Tomato Exporting Companies

Below are large tomato exporting companies that are major players in international trade. Show within parenthesis is the country where the company is headquartered.

  • Morning Star (United States)
  • COFCO Group (China)
  • Xinjiang Chalkis Co. Ltd (China)
  • California Tomato Export Group (United States)
  • ConAgra Foods (United States)
  • Campbell Soup Company (United States)
  • Fuyuan Agriculture Products Limited (China)
  • Unilever (United Kingdom)
  • Heinz (United States)
  • Conserve Italia (Italy)
  • Kagome Co., Ltd. (Japan)
  • Empresas Carozzi (Chile)
  • Parmalat SpA (Italy)
  • Xinjiang Tianye Co., Ltd. (China)

Top 100 export countries

The following automated database reveals that there were 110 countries that exported fresh or chilled tomatoes in 2020.
Show entriesSearch:

RankExporterExported Tomatoes (US$)2019-20
1.Mexico$2,606,104,000+20.5%
2.Netherlands$1,916,995,000-0.7%
3.Spain$1,068,839,000+3.6%
4.Morocco$767,038,000-2.2%
5.Canada$458,202,000+20.8%
6.France$444,300,000+16.5%
7.Belgium$326,134,000+5.9%
8.United States$312,886,000+7.3%
9.Turkey$312,031,000+3%
10.China$274,112,000+36.9%
11.Azerbaijan$201,354,000+6.4%
12.Italy$141,405,000-0.7%
13.Poland$68,099,000-4.2%
14.Jordan$66,237,000-44.9%
15.Uzbekistan$66,061,000-3.6%
16.Portugal$61,378,000-7.5%
17.Tunisia$58,848,000+65.2%
18.Afghanistan$50,291,000+108.3%
19.Egypt$40,415,000-17.5%
20.Germany$39,134,000-6%
21.Turkmenistan$37,725,000+65.4%
22.Belarus$37,081,000-38.7%
23.India$35,568,000+24.2%
24.Albania$33,249,000+8.6%
25.Armenia$30,316,000+37.4%
26.Guatemala$29,407,000+12.3%
27.Syrian Arab Republic$27,184,000-2.1%
28.Malaysia$26,736,000-7.5%
29.Dominican Republic$21,419,000+20.5%
30.Austria$21,062,000-8.6%
31.Kazakhstan$20,952,000+25.6%
32.Senegal$16,069,000+57.6%
33.Iran$15,082,000-75.4%
34.Bulgaria$13,568,000+10.9%
35.Lithuania$12,873,000+2.8%
36.Hungary$12,730,000+3.6%
37.South Korea$12,545,000-15.3%
38.Greece$12,398,000+2.3%
39.Slovakia$10,898,000-13.3%
40.Czech Republic$10,365,000+6.8%
41.Latvia$10,290,000+7.3%
42.North Macedonia$9,890,000-14.6%
43.Honduras$9,496,000+15.6%
44.Croatia$8,818,000+41.5%
45.United Kingdom$8,488,000-17.5%
46.Uganda$8,167,000+164.4%
47.South Africa$7,861,000-5.8%
48.Russia$6,784,000+23.2%
49.New Zealand$6,741,000-13.9%
50.Ukraine$4,828,000-9%
51.Denmark$4,317,000+120%
52.Ethiopia$4,078,000-46.9%
53.Pakistan$3,630,000-30.8%
54.Serbia$2,827,000-45.9%
55.Slovenia$2,787,000-17.9%
56.Namibia$2,704,000+109.1%
57.Argentina$2,196,000+50.8%
58.Australia$2,027,000-10.5%
59.Georgia$1,680,000-20.9%
60.Romania$1,596,000-5.5%
61.Sweden$1,582,000-3.1%
62.Brazil$1,496,000+154%
63.Luxembourg$1,464,000-12.3%
64.Ireland$1,363,000-5.3%
65.Peru$1,220,000+107.5%
66.Finland$946,000+8.7%
67.Israel$821,000-23.3%
68.Japan$779,000+257.3%
69.Vietnam$643,000+15%
70.Palestine$619,000-83.1%
71.Indonesia$590,000+47.9%
72.Colombia$573,000-41.6%
73.Estonia$553,000-9.9%
74.Thailand$495,000-22.2%
75.Myanmar$411,000+295.2%
76.Lebanon$302,000-63.5%
77.Taiwan$302,000-18.4%
78.Kyrgyzstan$266,000-71.3%
79.Ecuador$154,0000%
80.Switzerland$119,000-35%
81.Singapore$113,000-12.4%
82.Mauritania$113,0000%
83.Bosnia/Herzegovina$107,000-11.6%
84.Nicaragua$91,000-50.8%
85.Oman$88,000-94.9%
86.Micronesia$84,0000%
87.Costa Rica$74,000+13.8%
88.Iraq$69,000+245%
89.Trinidad/Tobago$51,000+2450%
90.Iceland$47,000+291.7%
91.Hong Kong$44,000-38%
92.Yemen$43,000-61.3%
93.Mauritius$39,0000%
94.Montenegro$18,000+800%
95.Uruguay$12,000+200%
96.United Arab Emirates$11,000-99.7%
97.Madagascar$9,000-18.2%
98.Mozambique$8,000-11.1%
99.Norway$6,000-70%
100.Zimbabwe$5,000-82.8%

Source : worldstopexports

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