Weekly Product Updates

W43: Blueberry Update

Fresh Blueberry
Published Nov 1, 2023

In W43 in the blueberry landscape, the South American blueberry season is experiencing challenges, primarily due to reduced production in Peru caused by El Niño. Peru, the world's leading blueberry producer, has seen a 50% year-on-year (YoY) drop in production. This situation has led to rising prices and uncertainty in the market. Argentina, with favorable weather conditions, has seized opportunities presented by Peru's decline, leading to increased export shipments. Mexico, a year-round blueberry producer, maintains a small but steady supply to the market. Chile, though arriving later in the season, is expected to help fill the supply gap created by Peru's situation. While market uncertainty and unpredictable supply dynamics impact prices, experts anticipate price adjustments as more fruit becomes available from Peru and Chile.

Peru continues to lead global blueberry exports, setting new records in the 2022/23 season with 286 thousand tons, a 28% increase over the previous season. Major export destinations included the United States (with a 53% participation), European countries (30%), and China (13%). The Peruvian blueberry industry has grown exponentially in the last decade, with nearly 18 thousand certified hectares (ha) in 2022, generating employment and economic growth. The country has seen an increase in blueberry varieties, exceeding 60 by 2022/23, with Ventura as the most exported variety. While facing climate challenges due to El Niño, the Peruvian Blueberry Growers and Exporter Association (Proarándanos) estimates Peru's production to reach over 315 thousand tons in the 2023/24 season.

Despite facing challenges, Chile is working on variety recommendations to improve competitiveness. South Africa remains optimistic about blueberry exports, while Mexico's shipments are expected to increase. The industry's future focus is developing new varieties that attract consumers, considering visual appeal, size, flavor, and post-harvest quality. Rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific region is expected, with projections of global blueberry exports exceeding 900 thousand tons by 2025/26, primarily from Peru, Chile, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Morocco, with demand shifting towards European and Asian markets.

Furthermore, the Peruvian blueberry sector faces a 55% YoY decrease in export volumes due to weather conditions, notably the El Niño phenomenon, causing production loss. While volume recovery is unlikely, high prices prevail, benefiting producers with newer patented varieties. The price has doubled YoY, reaching USD 8.41 per kilogram. However, companies relying on older Biloxi and Ventura varieties are more affected. Organic blueberry exports to the United States (US) decreased by approximately 60% compared to the previous season. Weather conditions will significantly impact volumes shipped during the remaining season, with rain intensity in Feb-23 and Mar-23 playing a crucial factor. Despite the weather challenges, Peru continues to supply its destination markets with a variety of blueberries from different regions, maintaining its significance as the world's leading blueberry exporter.

Lastly, Ukraine has experienced a substantial increase in blueberry exports in 2023, driven by the entry of new players into the market. The President of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPOA), reported a growth of about 40% compared to the previous year. This surge is due to the participation of a larger number of Ukrainian companies in the export market.

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