Fred Douven of abbGrowers:

“Blueberry promotions are working wonderfully”

According to Fred Douven of abbGrowers (Netherlands), there is a high demand for blueberries. “Most of the blueberries come from Chile. The Peruvian supply is also going well. In addition, the first pallets from Morocco are now arriving, but that country is still starting”.

“Prices dropped slightly in early January due to Chilean supply pressure. However, those prices are now picking up; a trend that I hope will continue into February. The supply from central Chile is already shrinking, and due to the hail and night frosts in November, the supply from that country is declining. In terms of quality, the Chilean season started with slight difficulties, but since then the situation has improved considerably”, continues Fred.

"Peru continues to send an average of 95 containers of blueberries to Europe, of which we receive several. That country is once again supplying good quality and tasty fruit. There are many problems with products arrived by air, such as green asparagus from Peru, due to the unrest. However, with sea freight things are still going quite well”.

Fred says that inflation is definitely affecting sales. “But the situation varies significantly depending on the country, and people have become bargain hunters. In the second week, for example, the Dutch supermarkets ran a lot of promotions, which worked wonderfully. In Germany, on the other hand, sales have remained more stable, with fewer fluctuations in prices, both up and down”.

“In terms of income, it is not being the easiest moment, in the middle of the transition from South America to North Africa and Southern Europe. However, we cannot complain. The Spanish blueberries will not arrive too soon or too late, although there is a lot of concern as to whether there will still be enough water for the berry harvest in and around Huelva," Fred explains.

According to him, the fact that club varieties are increasingly positioning themselves is an important market trend. “Everything round and blue used to be sold as a blueberry, but with the entry of certain club varieties, there is more and more differentiation. We are seeing it with the Sekoya-premium program, whose sales are increasing enormously. Despite the recession, people still have money to spare to buy tasty berries.”

Another trend has been the takeoff of sales of frozen berries and IQF. “This started during the COVID lockdowns and continues to gain momentum. Consumers have discovered the convenience of frozen products and the convenience of their price”, concludes Fred.

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