Lined up on a grocery store shelf, one package of plastic fruit cups looks much like its neighbors.
But Rich Hudgins says the minute print on a fruit cup label has major consequences for California's struggling cling peach industry, which faces growing competition from China.
Hudgins was shopping at Raley's in his hometown of Yuba City six months ago when he noticed the store was stocking Sunkist fruit cups instead of the usual Del Monte brand. On the back label were the offending words: "Product of China."...
Sarb Johl, a second-generation peach grower in Marysville, said such buying decisions by grocery chains cut into his livelihood.
"Any time you have a country coming in with low prices in your marketplace, it displaces the homegrown product," Johl said. "China has become the No. 1 importer of processed peaches to the U.S."
Of the nearly 3.1 million cases of canned peaches imported to the United States last year, 73 percent, or 2.25 million, came from China. That's up from 43,000 cases in 2001.
Since 2006, the volume of canned peaches coming from China has tripled. Conversely, cling peach acreage in California has plummeted from 31,700 acres in 2004 to 24,300 acres today.