Weekly Product Updates

W42: Blueberry Update

Fresh Blueberry
United States
Published Oct 27, 2023

In W42 in the blueberry landscape, Rabobank reports that while there are gradual improvements in supply chain challenges and input costs, the blueberry sector faces ongoing pressure on profit margins. This situation has necessitated a focus on enhanced efficiency, productivity, and varietal improvements. The global impact of climate change, including the El Niño phenomenon, is expected to lead to a decrease in blueberry exports from Peru, the world's largest producer, for the 2023/24 season. Rabobank anticipates a negative year-on-year (YoY) variation in global exports for the first time in recent history, with Peru experiencing significant reductions in shipments due to a warm winter causing harvest delays and affecting yields and exports.

The lingering effects of El Niño may continue to impact Peruvian exports in the 2024/25 season. However, the long-term global blueberry export outlook is positive, with an estimate of 1 million metric tons (mmt) by 2026/27. Meanwhile, frozen blueberries continue to thrive in the United States (US) market, being one of the most consumed frozen fruits, primarily sourced from Canada, Chile, Peru, and Argentina. The health benefits, convenience, flavor, and versatility of blueberries position them for sustained demand and success in the market.

The 2023/24 Peruvian fresh blueberry campaign is currently underway, but it lags significantly behind the 2022/23 performance. Weekly shipments have yet to surpass 12 thousand metric tons (mt) in 2023/24, a stark contrast to the same period in 2022/23 when shipments exceeded 20 thousand mt. Peruvian fresh blueberry exports amounted to 11.15 thousand mt in W41, a significant 45% YoY decrease. Cumulatively, only 89.79 thousand mt have been exported so far in 2023/24, a remarkable 50% YoY drop. Despite this, Peruvian blueberry shipments reached 23 destinations in W41. The primary destination was the US with 5.93 thousand mt (-52% YoY), the Netherlands followed with 2.75 thousand mt (-50% YoY), and China was third with 997 mt (+89% YoY). While China's import increase was notable, it could not offset the overall reduction in shipments to the primary destinations.

The blueberry prices in the US markets have remained elevated for three consecutive weeks. In the McAllen market, blueberry prices ranged from USD 35 to 40 per 12x6oz box, while in New York, prices oscillated from USD 30 to 35/12oz. The upcoming volume from Michoacan and Jalisco, Mexico, set to start harvesting in W2 of Nov-23, is expected to play a pivotal role in sustaining this price trend. Additionally, the inability of Peru and Argentina to meet their expected production volume for the 2023/24 season further contributed to the price hikes in the US markets.

Lastly, Chilean fresh fruit exports amounted to 2.14 mmt, valued at USD 4.61 million in the first nine months of 2023. This reflects a 7.3% decrease in volume, but an 11.3% increase in value compared to the same period in 2022. Blueberries held the fourth position among the exported Chilean fruits, with shipments totaling 72.42 thousand mt, valued at USD 319.8 million. This represents a decrease of 19.9% YoY in volume and a drop of 10% YoY in value. Blueberries accounted for 6.9% of the overall value of Chilean fresh fruit exports. The primary destinations for Chilean blueberries were the US (49.1%), and the Netherlands (19.8%).

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