Chilean blueberries coming to fore as Peru winds down

From Fresh Fruit Portal | 14 December 2022

Overview of blueberries from Chile and Peru, in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on December 13, 2022. 

With the Peruvian blueberry deal winding down for North Bay Produce, Inc., the firm’s Mexican and Chilean growers are soon coming on, according to Ryan Lockman, vice president sales and procurement for the firm, which is based in Traverse City, MI.

On Dec. 8, he said to, “Right now, the market is adequate going into December but not as heavy as October or as weak as November was this year.”

Lockman expects “Christmas sales will be steady, but the uptick will happen slightly before and after the new year.  New Year’s resolutions will continue to be health-focused. Blueberries always fall into a healthy eating regimen that is an easy-to-keep solution for consumers trying to start the new year off with nutritious options.

In terms of global supplies, “There will be volume peaks in the winter due to the regions where we see the biggest supply of blueberries in the market. Starting the first couple weeks in January, peaks will come from Chile, and then you will see another peak in March with Mexico’s production. Starting mid-February, Florida will start up, and they will peak in early April, so there will be some fluctuations in the market as these growing regions start ramping up throughout the winter into spring.

Broadly speaking, he indicates Peru’s peak season is September, October, and November.  Chile tops in January, February, and March and Mexico’s greatest blueberry harvest months run from February through April.

blueberry volumes by ori 1

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

Asked of the future for the international blueberry business, Lockman says, “Cautiously speaking, the world needs more of the right blueberries. This is why North Bay has invested in new varietals with the licensed breeder, SEKOYA, and is launching our premium berry brand RÈSERVE-brand. Our cooperative of North Bay blueberry growers is working with universities and nurseries to find the newest varietals to create the desirable combination of flavor, texture, reliability, and consistency that consumers, buyers, and growers crave.”

North Bay has numerous sales offices for the domestic and international distribution of blueberries. Their North American sales offices are located in Calgary, Canada, and Fresno, California, along with their corporate office in Traverse City, Michigan.  For European distribution of blueberries, North Bay has sales offices in London, England; Barcelona, Spain; Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Warsaw, Poland.

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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