Ample blueberry supply pressures pricing

From Fresh Plaza | 29 April 2024

Overview of blueberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on April 29, 2024.

The supply of blueberries is abundant right now. “Florida and Georgia have overlapped, and both regions have an incredibly strong crop this year,” says Michael Giordano of Consalo Family Farms, noting that supply is stronger compared to last year at this time. “The South East faced a variety of weather challenges last spring that delayed and weakened their crop but there have not been any setbacks this season.”

Timing is also as expected with the domestic season beginning on time. “Mild weather patterns throughout winter and early spring kept things status quo, and gave us a perfect idea on when to expect supplies,” says Giordano.

While Florida and Georgia production is underway, there is also industry production at the moment which has caused a flush in supplies. Mexico is producing right now but the majority of its fruit is staying in the Southern states and West Coast. Peru is also exporting to the U.S. currently.

That said, even with the abundant supply, demand is still strong. “Incredibly strong quality out of Florida and Georgia is helping move fruit quickly, and keep consumers eager to buy blueberries,” says Giordano. “The biggest challenges during times like these are keeping inventories fresh and fruit moving. We know during a flush in supply that we need to stay vigilant in promoting the product quickly so our farms can continue to harvest quickly and stay profitable. At the same time, we need to offer competitive pricing and high-quality fruit to retail partners to help drive sales and consumption.”

blueberry prices by orig

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

Growing the consumption of blueberries

That strong demand isn’t too surprising given the consumption of blueberries has increased dramatically over the last few years thanks in part to strong marketing and expanded consumer knowledge on the health benefits of blueberries.

As for prices, they are down across the board right now. “Florida, Georgia, Mexico, and Peru are all delivering an abundance of high-quality fruit which has caused a big flush in supply, and has pushed prices down,” says Giordano. “The market has certainly dropped off faster than we have seen in the past, as Georgia burst onto the scene with a record crop. This was not the case last year, as the domestic season began with many weather issues and decreased availability.”

Looking ahead, Giordano says the next few weeks will be a good time to run ads and promote heavily. “There will be strong availability on supplies up the east coast so marketers can feel safe running promotions at this time,” he adds.

He also notes that as its local New Jersey season gets closer, Consalo Family Farms will offer new varieties that should bear fruit this summer. “We are excited to see consumer reaction as well for the harvest on our new varieties,” he says.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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