Figs

By Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University.

Updated July 2015 by Christina Romero, AgMRC, California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Overview

California ranks first in the nation in fig production, accounting for nearly 98 percent of all figs produced. The California fig industry consists of both fresh fruit and processed fruit. The average price per pound of dried figs was $5.85 in 2013. (ERS)

In 2014, there were 7,000 bearing acres nationwide producing 31,700 tons of fresh figs, with a market value of $18.14 billion. The tonnage produced was down 28 percent from 2009. (NASS 2014)

Of that amount, more than 28,700 tons – or 90 percent – were processed. (NASS 2014)

Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco and Iran are the top five producers of figs worldwide. The United States ranked sixth in world production.  (FAO 2009)

Exports/Imports

The United States is both an exporter and importer of figs. In 2014, U.S. fig exports valued at nearly $17.3 million were sold on the international market, down 18 percent from 2013. Canada and Mexico were the largest destinations, together purchasing U.S. figs valued at more than $13.8 million. Other significant buyers were Japan and Hong Kong.  (FAS 2015)

In 2014, the total value of both fresh and dried figs imported into the country was nearly $32.1 million, up 53 percent from the previous year. Turkey was the largest supplier, providing figs valued at nearly $27.4 million – nearly doubling the previous year’s total – followed by Greece, which provided figs valued at nearly $3.7 million. More than half of the figs consumed in the United States during 2014 were imported.  (FAS 2015)

Value-added Products

Mission figs are used primarily for dried fruit, paste or juice concentrate, while Kadota are used for canning, preserving and fig paste. The Calimyrna fig is processed as dried fruit or paste.

Food products containing figs include fig paste, fig concentrate, fig powder, fig nuggets and diced and sliced figs.

The natural flavor of figs can be preserved in fig jam, preserves and paste, or to make fig concentrate, which replaces sucrose and corn syrup.

Chopped, diced and sliced figs are incorporated into food products and baked goods. A small number of figs are canned.

The dried seeds in figs contain an oil that is 30 percent fatty acids. This edible oil can be used as a lubricant. The natural humectants in figs make them a beneficial ingredient in such health and beauty products as soap, moisturizers, fragrance and candles.

After the fruit harvest, fig leaves are plucked and used for fodder in India. In southern France, fig leaves are used as a source of perfume material; the leaves create a woody-mossy scent.

Sources

Fruit and Nut Education UC Davis, Fruit and Walnut Production
Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, June 2015 Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.
Fruit and Vegetable Prices, ERS, USDA
Foreign Agricultural Service, FAS 2012.

Developed August 2007 and updated August 2015.