The 2023 Global State of the Blueberry Industry Report was officially released on August 15, 2023. The release event took place via a webinar hosted by editor Cort Brazelton and Colin Fain, CEO of Agronometrics, who leads the team that produced the report.
The webinar offered a comprehensive exploration of pertinent subjects within the global blueberry industry, encompassing aspects such as production trends, market dynamics, consumption patterns, and sustainability challenges. The speakers underlined the significance of understanding and adapting to shifting consumer preferences and market conditions.
During the webinar, a notable progression in the global blueberry industry was highlighted. Starting from 2018, an impressive 77% surge in global blueberry volumes was showcased, coupled with an 11% decline in average annual pricing. This shift in pricing dynamics marked a transformative phase for the industry, characterized by intensified competition and maturation, resulting in more stable pricing patterns. The decline in prices was particularly influenced by the growing producing regions in South America, Peru, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. As markets mature, the initial premium advantages, especially in the Spring and fall seasons are gradually leveling out, leading to greater consistency in pricing. In the Americas, sustained pricing levels remained, largely driven by Canada’s imports of US and Mexican fruits.
The industry is progressively highlighting the summer season and high-chill varieties, shaping a new market landscape. The robust health narrative surrounding blueberries has notably boosted their demand and growth. Research into blueberry health benefits, supported by the USHBC, has linked blueberries to brain health, cardiovascular wellness, gut health, and other advantages. The dual emphasis on quality and health benefits collectively drives the rising demand for blueberries.
In the arena of exports, Peru emerged as the leading global exporter, significantly outpacing other contenders. The Netherlands played a pivotal role as a re-exporter, acting as a gateway to the European market displacing Chile as the second largest exporter in the world.
Shifting to imports, the United States asserted its dominance as the largest importer, followed by the Netherlands. Germany surpassed the United Kingdom, the latter curbing imports due to implications arising from Brexit. China’s imports witnessed an increase, surpassing Spain.
The subject of wild blueberry production, primarily driven by Canada, also found its place in the discussion. The global blueberry production crossed the momentous threshold of 2 million metric tons for the first time.
The webinar explored key trends within the global blueberry industry, offering a comprehensive analysis of production data from 73 countries. Discussions revolved around strategies for enhancing product quality, reducing costs, and addressing sustainability concerns, particularly related to greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the session shed light on the promising prospects of venturing into emerging consumer markets, specifically mentioning India, Mexico, and the Middle East. Addressing labor-related challenges, the discourse delved into the growing adoption of machine harvesting as a viable solution, with expectations of its increased prevalence in the sector.
The webinar’s conclusions underscored the substantial surge in blueberry volumes since 2018; quality’s centrality was highlighted, especially in the pursuit of new consumers in Europe and Asia. The pinnacle of the webinar was marked by the unveiling of the report, available for download to provide participants with deeper insights.
The report can be downloaded here
Written by: Sarah Ilyas