Strong demand offsets increased competition for Polish blueberry shippers
Polskie Jagody did not supply the Russia before the embargo's implementation one year ago, but as the case has been with other fruit categories, not being directly involved with Russia does not necessarily put businesses in the clear.
However, a representative of the Obsza-based organization which predominantly exports to the U.K., said continuously increasing demand had meant any additional volumes coming from other European suppliers were not hurting profits.
"Demand is so strong at the moment that the situation with Russia really hasn't had an impact on us," sales manager Agata Małkiewicz told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"The demand is even still increasing in the U.K., which is a pretty penetrated market as it is. Everybody I speak to at different events feels like the increase isn't going to stop any time soon.
"All of our clients in lots of different places are asking for more blueberries."
Małkiewicz added the company was in the process of diversifying its markets, with volumes now being shipped into Asia. Last season small quantities were exported to Japan, and this year saw larger volumes to other Asian markets, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Last year Polskie Jagody also entered the domestic market, having previously been entirely focused on exports. Around 20% of production is now sold within Poland.
In terms of this current season, Małkiewicz added she was 'very happy' as there had been good climatic conditions and the fruit quality was 'excellent'.
A representative from another Polish blueberry exporter that has also never shipped fruit to the Russian market echoed Małkiewicz's comments on market conditions in the wake of the import ban.
"We have not been affected by this. Actually, I would say the markets have been slightly better this year compared to last year," Baltic Berry sales manager Joanna Sapala said.
The company, whose production is based in northern Poland, also has a strong focus on the U.K. market, where about half of volumes are destined.
Sapala added the season had begun around two weeks later than normal this year in week 29, and she expected production to increase slightly from 2014.
Baltic Berry's blueberry campaign is due to continue through late September or early October.