Being an irreplaceable aroma for the meals, onion creates a large economy with a production of almost 100 million tons a year around the world.
The United Nations reports that onion is grown at least in 175 countries, and this figure more than doubles the number of wheats growing countries.
Asia is the largest producer of onion with a market share of 65%, while Americas, Europe and Africa each has just over 10% of market share.
China is the leader of onion production with 23 million tons in Asia and followed by India with a production of over 19 million tons.
China and India are followed by the United States with a production of over 3 million tons. Other large onion producers are respectively Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil and Mexico. Although Asia has the biggest share in terms of production area and quantity, it does not rank as the leading market in global onion market.
This is due to high population density, insufficient storing spaces and the fact that they can’t come out to foreign markets.
While countries aim to increase their production for their demographically increasing citizens, they try to sell their surplus products on global markets to generate national income.
If new investors opt for yellow onions considering the demands of developed countries’ markets, they should know that they would have a large market share.
Nearly 90% of onions are consumed within the country they are grown; therefore, onion does not stand out in many parts of the world although there are hardly any meals in which onion is not used. It has a sought-after aroma for salads, meat, fish, chicken and vegetable meals along with its approved countless health benefits. Also, onion by-products such as onion crisps and onion rings have begun to be produced recently and creating an auxiliary sector.
With its low calorie and fat content, onion is a rich source of nutrients such as Sulphur, fiber, vitamins B and C.
Moreover, the fact that it is now widely used in alternative medicine and has antiseptic and antioxidant properties make this vegetable even more significant.
Traditional method of storing onions is drying them with their stalks on and storing in a cool cellar, cave or a dark storage after they are harvested until they are consumed. However, between 40–80% of the onions stored with this method result in spoilage. At the moment, neither economy nor our aged planet can afford these kinds of spoilage anymore.
Onions cannot be stored immediately in cold storage after the harvest. First, onions need to be dried for a few days. Then starts the maturing stage that enables skin and color formation specific to the onion cultivar. Onions are prepared for cold storage by lowering the temperature at maximum by 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) per day to reach the ideal cold storage temperature little by little. Depending on the onion variety, they are stored at between 0 °C (32.00°F) and +2 °C (35.60°F) in cold storage. Onions can be stored in cold storage up to ten months without deterioration. Ventilation is vital in onion storage. After storing, onions are not transported straight from the cold storage before they are put on the market but heated in temperature-controlled conditions in order to prevent condensation.
Isn’t it interesting? It’s a little difficult and complicated process, but worth it. However, only 20 million tons of global onion production of 100 million tons are stored with modern storage methods and spoilage still continues.