Blueberry consumption will skyrocket

Rabobank's fresh produce report predicts that global fresh blueberry exports will expand steadily in the coming years

Farm banking specialist Rabobank has indicated that global fresh blueberry exports are likely to expand steadily over the next several years, as growing regions continue to diversify around the world.

In a report published overnight, the Rabobank report highlighted that companies are being "pressured to be more productive and more efficient and to consistently provide high-quality fruit."

Improved cultivars are expected to play an increasingly important role in growing regions, which are concentrated in the Americas. However, the Asia-Pacific region is expanding rapidly throughout South America and new growth regions in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“We expect global exports in 2025/26 to reach close to 900.000 tonnes, with more than 70% coming from the top five exporting countries: Peru, Chile, Canada, Mexico and Spain/Morocco,” said David Magaña, senior analyst – products. fresh at Rabobank in North America.

Expansion of global demand

Global blueberry export volume has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 11 percent over the past decade.

International shipments and availability have skyrocketed in the last decade, driven by what Rabobank said was “the growing production of new players in the industry, such as Peru, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and China, complementing the offering. existing from USA, Chile, Argentina and local supply from Europe ”.

Since the 2019/20 season, Peru has become the world's largest exporter of fresh blueberries and Chile is now the world's second largest exporter of blueberries.

“Both Chile and Peru have excellent market access, with duty-free access to China, Europe and the United States. These countries are well positioned to benefit from expanding global demand, ”explained Gonzalo Salinas, Rabobank's senior fresh produce analyst in South America.

A changing demand landscape

In terms of consumption, the United States and Canada combined still absorb the largest volume of blueberries, but Europe is now the main source of demand growth. In the same way, China leads the consumption of blueberries in Asia thanks to the growth of its local and imported supply. The demand landscape is shifting from being focused in North America to having diverse engines around the world.

Improved cultivars to play a key role in all growing regions

As the market becomes more competitive and consumers more demanding, consistent quality is vital to seizing growth opportunities, the report's authors noted.

“Breeding programs are developing cultivars for different chilling requirements, focusing on flavor, firmness and shelf life to attract more consumers and retailers. Producers can benefit from greater input efficiency, better yields and the potential of mechanical harvesting, ”said Magaña.

The blueberry industry requires efficient growers, packers and shippers in every growing region and reliable partners to create a virtuous marketing circle. Postharvest improvements are still needed to reach distant markets with a better quality product.

"With the increasing delays in undocking in different ports around the world, logistics and having fruit with a longer postharvest quality is essential," concluded Salinas.

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