Ukraine traditionally exports frozen raspberries mainly to Poland, which makes a good profit on re-exporting Ukrainian raspberries. Therefore, access to direct markets of frozen raspberries to countries with high import prices is a critical step for further developing the berry business in Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian Horticultural Association (UHA), the amount of a sea freight container of frozen raspberries was sent to Canada and the other to the US, arriving at the beginning of October 2021. The logistics process took around one and a half months, and the buyer was satisfied with the quality of the products. Furthermore, both containers were submitted to high-level requirements for product quality and logistics from phytosanitary authorities, for which Ukrainian suppliers successfully passed the FDA Certification.
Together, the US and Canada represent the second-largest import market for frozen raspberries behind Germany, accounting for 15% of the total import share. In 2020, the US imported USD 104 million in value of fresh raspberries, and Canada imported USD 65 million, importing together a total of 69,000 tons. For both countries, the main frozen raspberry suppliers are Chile (43%), Serbia (28.1%), and Mexico (18.4%).
Source: ITC Trade Map, Tridge
For Ukraine, access to the North American market is a crucial step towards diversifying the frozen raspberry exports strategy that the country has embarked on to export direct shipments to its final market. Therefore, it was crucial for the reputation of Ukrainian berry suppliers that these containers to new countries complied with all quality standards and phytosanitary requirements.
With Ukraine missing the opportunity to reach high-value import markets directly by exporting berries to Poland, while Polish re-exports of Ukrainian berries take the profit from reaching import markets with high prices, exporters have set a market diversification strategy to re-direct some of the exports to markets that are able to pay a higher value for the value-added products. Furthermore, after the ban on exports of fruits and vegetables from Ukraine to Russia, many Ukrainian businesses started to look for investment opportunities in high value-added products for exports. At this time, Ukraine has already successfully exported frozen raspberries, although in relatively small volumes of 3-5 thousand tons per year.
There has been a very positive trend of Ukrainian frozen raspberry exports in recent years. In particular, direct export shipments to Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands have grown significantly. In 2020, exports to Germany increased by 230% from the previous year. Likewise, exports to the Netherlands and Belgium have grown by 166% and 205%, respectively, from the previous year. As a result, overall exports of Ukrainian frozen raspberries increased by 94% in value and 43% in volume from the previous year reaching a trade value of USD 44 million.
So far, Poland remains the largest market for Ukrainian frozen raspberries, with 57.1% of the export share and still Ukraine’s largest buyer. However, countries in the European Union are now an important part of the export destinations with Germany accounting for 12.1%. For Germany, Ukraine has become an important source for frozen blueberries and is now its fourth-largest supplier with 4.5% of the share behind Serbia, Poland, and the Netherlands.
With the market diversification strategy working positively within the European Union, Ukrainian exporters need to reach new importing countries that can pay higher import prices. The US and Canada joining the list of importing countries of frozen raspberries will allow diversifying exports even more, especially since Ukrainian producers are planning to significantly expand the area planted with raspberries.
Access to the North American market will also allow the export value of Ukrainian frozen raspberries to increase, as the US and Canada traditionally pay higher prices for imported raspberries than other large importing countries, which creates good opportunities for Ukrainian exporters to invest in improving product quality.