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Rebounding Exports


Big Picture Report: March 2023
Bernadette Wiltz-Lang, SUSTA

Official 2022 trade date from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has been compiled and released – and the news is very good! Exports of processed food products rebounded well above the 2020-2021 COVID-era levels, and in many cases to values above the pre-COVID totals.

Here are some categories of goods that match well with SUSTA companies’ products.

  • Baked goods in 2022 were $4 billion – up 12 percent from 2020-2021;
  • Condiments and sauces reached $2 billion – up 15 percent from 2020-21;
  • Confectionery products hit $707 million – an increase of 19 percent over 2020-21;
  • Beer, a growing category for SUSTA breweries, reached 669 million – for growth of 34 percent over 2020-2021; and
  • Distilled spirits, another Southern US premier product, reached $2 billion, a full 38 percent more than 2020.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

chart showing exports

Source: USDA FAS

This remarkable double digit growth in processed food product exports is a sure sign that export demand for U.S. food products is back! And for SUSTA companies, the momentum continues to grow.Looking at the initial feedback from the first three activities of 2023, SUSTA companies’ projected sales are at multiples of the same initial results, from the same shows, reported last year.

Now is the time to get busy on your export marketing strategies! As I mentioned at the beginning of this month’s newsletter, this week alone, five SUSTA participants are exhibiting in our pavilion at FoodEx Japan, and seven SUSTA participants are in Mexico exhibiting in SUSTA's Antad pavilion. In two weeks, we have two more events: International Food & Drink Event in London and Prowein in Düsseldorf.

In addition to these international trade shows, many SUSTA participants will be taking part in Natural Products Expo West and Seafood Expo North America this month. Both of these U.S. trade shows are considered "international" by the USDA, and exhibition expenses are therefore eligible for 50% reimbursement through CostShare.

We’re now in the process of compiling the results from SUSTA’s 2022 activities. As I have written many times, the importance of all SUSTA participants completing their surveys cannot be overstated.We ask that you not forget about the concluding survey that comes to you approximately six months after you participated in a Global Events activity. These follow up surveys are crucial to compiling year end results and determining the return on investment of our program budget. If you have any outstanding surveys from last year, you will be hearing from SUSTA and/or the Activity Manager on the event.