Stellar weather creates the perfect peak for blueberries

From The Produce News | 20 May 2022

Overview of blueberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on May 16, 2022. 

Naturipe, one of the world’s largest producers of fresh berries, announced the beginning of the organic blueberry peak with large volumes available now through June. Organic volumes are perfectly timed with the temporary slowdown in conventional production that is projected later this month.

blueberry volumes by his 17

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Retailers will want to take advantage of this volume to grab organic market share, a segment that continues to grow, due to consumer demand. The organic blueberry peak, mainly coming from California and Georgia, is well-positioned to fill a space where options will be limited due to lighter conventional supplies.

“Weather in California has been stellar, producing superb quality organic blueberries. Cool nights and warm days are bringing the crop along nicely,” said Brian Bocock. “What’s also exciting is that Naturipe’s Rocio variety continues to delight with fantastic firmness and flavor. Our growers have been working hard year-round to produce high volumes.”

Naturipe recommends sizing up during this peak to organic pints or organic 18-ounce clamshells to take advantage of the additional organic volumes in play. Consumers continue to gravitate to larger pack sizes, especially those with families. The Pacific Northwest (including Oregon, Washington and British Columbia) organic blueberry season is a little behind this year due to cooler weather, but it should start to ramp up in the middle to end of June, providing a great summer selling season in July and early August.

As for conventional blueberry production, it will peak between weeks 29 and 32 this year with both the Pacific Northwest and Michigan in peak and still good production from New Jersey.

The superfruit volumes in June will be strong as well, but overall less volume than in previous years, with the Georgia and North Carolina late season crops both being impacted by the earlier freeze in those regions. Production from North Carolina will peak from early to mid-June, making these berries perfect for post-Memorial Day promotions.

blueberry volumes by ori 23

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Conventional blueberry production out of New Jersey has a slightly delayed start, due to a cooler spring, and will be peaking from late June to late July, with availability through the beginning of August. At this point the New Jersey crop is looking very good and will be key for 4th of July demand. There will be promotable volumes on all pack sizes coming out of this region during the peak but pricing will be strong due to lower industry volumes and impacts of inflation on all farming activities.

In the Pacific Northwest, blueberry season is also getting off to a later start compared to previous seasons due to cooler weather. Naturipe anticipates production in this area will peak at the end of July and then start to taper off in late September making this a key region for the late summer season and promotions.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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