OVERVIEW OF THE WORLD’S FRESH AND FROZEN BLUEBERRY MARKET
Today, the blueberry market is expanding all over the globe since consumers find blueberries highly valuable for their vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content.
The traditional markets consuming blueberries were the United States, Russia and European countries, but nowadays blueberries have been gaining popularity in other markets as well. Both in Europe and in Asia – China in particular – the consumption of blueberries has shown remarkable growth due to the fact that in European and Asian countries people are learning more about the properties of blueberries.
The top 10 producing countries of fresh blueberries are the US, Canada, Poland, Germany, Mexico, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and New Zeeland.
It is quite interesting to see that despite the increased demand across the globe today, the US and Canada still produce 95% of the world’s blueberries. Latin America though, is estimated to become an important market for the production and consumption of blueberries, with increased exports towards Asia being projected.
Mexico producers report that they are focusing more on organic growing – driven by the rising demand for organic products worldwide, Peruvian growers are abandoning asparagus cultivating for more profitable crops like blueberry and grape – growers in Peru will dedicated around 2,000 hectares of arable land to blueberry production destined for the Chinese market only, the Chilean farmers are trying to increase their share on the fresh blueberry sector and Uruguay is becoming one of the main blueberries exporters to China.
Other growing markets are Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Scotland – since the British pound has declined in value after the Brexit referendum and imports become more expensive, British supermarkets are demanding more British product.
When it comes to the frozen blueberry market, the top 10 exporters are Canada, Chile, the US, Poland, Mexico, Peru, the Netherlands, China, Belgium and Thailand.
Among all frozen fruit and berries products, frozen blueberries are projected to be the faster growing segment. Frozen blueberries are experiencing a substantial growth on the Asian market and still hold 45% of the US market, even though this percentage is expected to drop with more that 10% in the next ten years, due to new frozen fruits and berries products making their way in the food processing industry.
The frozen and fresh sector dynamic seems to be quite interesting between the US and Latin America’s stakeholders. Chilean producers are concerned about the high stock of frozen blueberries in the US, which got 14% higher this August than in 2015 at the same date. The 14% increase in the frozen blueberry stock resulted in lower prices for the raw material and this is one of the reasons why the Chilean farmers are trying to increase their share on the fresh blueberry sector.
With a growing volume of blueberries in cold storage, the US blueberry council is working on promoting the frozen market and launching a campaign to increase the demand for frozen blueberries among women aged 25-44, which are considered to be this market’s target.
There is also a rising demand from the bakery and confectionery industry across the world, which makes IQF frozen blueberries drive the sales of frozen fruits up.
The growing demand for high quality products, is expanding both the fresh and frozen blueberries market. It will be interesting to watch and analyse how the dynamic of the factors such as demand, weather, soil and socio-political circumstances will shape the blueberry market worldwide in the coming years.