Chilean frozen blueberry sales rise 144% in 10/11
Many Chilean producers diverted some blueberry harvests from fresh produce to cater to the frozen category market this season, with attractive prices following increased demand and a fall in U.S. wild blueberry stocks.
The Chilean Blueberry Committee expects blueberry exports to reach 22 million metric tons (MT) in 2010/11, compared to 9 million MT in the previous season.
The committee says the rise in the frozen category did not affect volumes for fresh blueberries, due to an increase in industrial production that is forecast to continue for many years. In fact, it is estimated fresh blueberry exports will have risen 37% to 69,000MT by the end of the season.
"Some producers derived frozen product that wasn't only discarded from packing, but dicarded from the orchard," says Vitalberry frozen sales manager María Cecilia Gacitúa.
While volumes for freezing rose, businesses showed a higher capacity to do receive and process blueberries efficiently. Gacitúa says the phenomenon also helps regulate the volumes and quality of fresh blueberries.
She says the growing frozen sector has become a 'viable alternative' for producers, especially as Northern Hemisphere clients can cut their inventory costs in half.
"They have the option to buy six months there and six months here - this is a trend that is growing more every day," she says.
The Chilean Blueberry Committee says the best varieties to freeze are Duke, Brigitta, Bluecrop and Legacy blueberries.
Source: Chilean Blueberry Committee/ edited by www.freshfruitportal.com