Blueberry supply tight, says USHBC exec

Most Read Top Stories
Blueberry supply tight, says USHBC exec

A leading U.S. blueberry industry figure has forecast good prices for Southern Hemisphere exporters in the coming months, following a successful North American season.

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council executive director Mark Villata has told preliminary figures show around 500 million pounds (226,796 metric tons) of the fruit were sold in the recent Northern Hemisphere season.

This represents around a 2% rise on the previous summer's volumes of 489 million pounds (221,806 metric tons).

"We had a very good year in fresh blueberries packing 298 million pounds (135,170MT), and a little over 200 million pounds (90,718MT) for frozen," he says.

Mark Villata

Villata points out the health message of blueberries has become 'well-entrenched' with consumers, so the industry wants to fill the gap in consumer demand with domestic supply tailing off.

"Consumer demand has been strong throughout the year and the processed business’ prices have been going up as inventories are falling and a lot of the frozen fruit has already been allocated. For the new frozen berries that come in now there’s a pretty tight market.

"The fresh blueberry market demand continues to grow and we are seeing more movement in the fresh category, and consumers are looking for larger size packs as well; I would expect that demand to continue in the winter so there’s a welcome market for South American blueberries.

"From what I’ve seen the Chilean Blueberry Committee have done a very good job in marketing fresh blueberries, not only in supermarkets but in the rest of the food service sector. They’ve done a great job in opening up eyes to winter blueberries."

Subscribe to our newsletter