Agronometrics in Charts: The Transformative Evolution of the US Strawberry and Blueberry Markets – Insights from the USDA

By Agronometrics | 6 November 2023

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the US strawberry and blueberry markets. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a comprehensive report that sheds light on the evolving landscape of the berry industry in the United States. The report details how the demand for strawberries and blueberries has steadily increased since the turn of the millennium, leading to substantial growth in both domestic production and imports. The USDA Economic Research Service calculated shares of exports and imports, as well as per capita availability, which was used as a proxy for domestic consumption.  The findings indicate significant growth in demand, imports, and organic production, highlighting the need for the domestic industry to adapt to these changing market dynamics. 

Over the past two decades, strawberries and blueberries have become increasingly popular in the United States. This rising demand is attributed to several factors, including new berry varieties, technological advancements in production, and expanded planting acreage. As a result, both domestic production and imports have seen substantial growth. The report highlights how imports have outpaced domestic production, with Mexico emerging as the dominant supplier of strawberries and both Mexico and Peru emerging as key players in the blueberry market. These developments have not only increased year-round berry availability for consumers but have also raised concerns about foreign competition and their effects on domestic producers’ pricing.


Strawberries reign as the most popular berries in the United States, both in terms of value and volume of production. High-yielding strawberry varieties have led to increased total domestic production while requiring less acreage. Importantly, fresh strawberry imports, particularly from Mexico, have experienced significant growth, reaching a record high of 431 million pounds in 2020. Although Mexican strawberries are available year-round, a staggering 85 percent of their U.S.-bound shipments enter the market during the winter and spring months. The report also notes a substantial increase in fresh strawberry exports, with the majority being shipped to Canada, while frozen strawberry exports have declined.

Organic strawberry production has seen a remarkable surge, outpacing conventional production. Notably, California, which accounts for over 75 percent of domestic organic production, saw its organic strawberry acreage triple between 2008 and 2019.

strawberry volumes by or 1 1 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)


Blueberries, the second most popular berries in the United States in terms of value and volume of production, have also seen significant shifts. The two main types of blueberries, highbush and lowbush, have distinct market destinations, with highbush blueberries primarily aimed at the fresh market and lowbush blueberries for processing. While the United States exports some fresh blueberries, it has transformed into a net importer. Imports of fresh highbush blueberries have surged from 44 million pounds in 2000-2002 to 450 million pounds in 2018-2020, accounting for about 62 percent of domestic fresh blueberry disappearance.

High prices for fresh market blueberries have fueled global production growth, leading to increased imports during the spring and fall months to supplement supplies. Between 2010 and 2020, domestic fresh blueberry imports from Peru and Mexico grew significantly, thanks to expanded planting acres and higher yields driven by suitable production conditions and profitability.

Furthermore, the report highlights the rapid growth in U.S. demand for organic blueberries, with organic blueberry sales surging to $205 million in 2019, marking a fivefold increase between 2008 and 2019.

blueberry volumes by ori 22 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In the realm of pricing, it is noteworthy that despite the seasonal expansion of domestic blueberry production, the availability of U.S. blueberries remains relatively constrained during the late fall and early spring periods. This seasonality creates elevated price levels, particularly during the spring and fall when supplies are at their lowest. Producers strategically endeavor to augment production during these periods to capitalize on the heightened prices prevalent during these “market shoulders.” This strategic realignment is further bolstered by the surge in varietal plantings that extend the market supply beyond the conventional marketing period. Consequently, this diversification of supply has facilitated an upward shift in prices during these specific periods. Imports of fresh blueberries have surged in response to these market dynamics, effectively enhancing the availability of fresh blueberries during the off-season. This, in turn, has contributed to a perceptible moderation in the seasonal price differentials observed in recent years.

Strawberry & Blueberry Prices by History (As Reported) in the US
chart 33 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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