The Country That Produces The Most Strawberries By A Landslide

Imagine one of those ubiquitous plastic clamshell containers, full to the brim with about a pound of juicy red strawberries. Now multiply that single container by about 6.67 billion. That is how many pounds of strawberries come out of China each year, roughly equating to a whopping 3,336,690 tons, according to World Population Review. Within China, the Hebei, Shandong, and Liaoning provinces are responsible for around 60% of the country's total strawberry production, though Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Sichuan, Zhejiang, and Yunnan are also important regions for growing this fruit.

This isn't a new development by any means. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China has taken the top spot for strawberry output since 1994 (via International Society for Horticultural Science). The Chinese yearly production of strawberries is more than triple what the second-place nation is putting out — the United States produced a comparatively measly 1,055,963 tons in 2023. Third, fourth, and fifth place do not even come close to first or second. In that same year, Egypt produced just about 597,000 tons, Mexico grew around 558,000 tons, and Turkey's strawberry count was close to 547,000 tons.

Strawberry production in China

Strawberries in China are mainly grown both in open fields and protected structures like greenhouses. The berries grown outdoors are typically destined for processing into other products, often frozen ones, while the berries raised within structures are often meant for fresh consumption. Utilizing these two different methods of production means that the country's growing season extends from November through June, a long period that results in more output.

Almost all fresh berries grown in China are eaten in China, and Japanese varieties are the most popular to grow. However, the nation's export market is expanding. The main recipients of Chinese strawberries are Russia and Vietnam, though smaller quantities are also sent to Singapore, Macau, and Thailand. There is a drive to expand fresh strawberry production and export to countries in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. China has also broken into the specialty strawberry market, with high-quality red and white strawberries as well as attractive pink fruits known as the fendai variety. These are large, delicate, aromatic, and have notes of peaches and sparkling wine.

What are the main fruits grown in China?

As more and more people have moved to the cities in China, demand for fresh produce — especially at supermarkets — has increased. Folks in urban areas in particular are willing to spend more money on fresh fruits and vegetables. Being able to purchase fresh ingredients online has also increased demand. The realities around preferences and accessibility — coupled with China's economic push towards increasing exports — have driven the agricultural industry towards continued growth.

That means that strawberries are not the only fruit that China is growing literal tons of. China is the country that produces the most watermelon in the world, and it also leads the global market in apples, grapefruits, kiwis, pears, plums, and more. In fact, China produces close to 254 million tons of fruit per year, which makes it the biggest global fruit producer by a long shot (per World Population Review). India only produces less than half that amount (about 107 million tons). Depending on what is in your usual grocery rotation, there is a decent chance that fruit may have come from China!