Naturipe Farms launches new blueberry varieties

From The Produce News | 22 June 2024

Overview of blueberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 20, 2024.

Naturipe Farms is the largest blueberry producer in the world. The company has evolved from four highly esteemed berry growers with their own marketing companies to one company, cultivating blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and avocados.

“Blueberries are incredibly important to the company, and we are proud to offer delicious, good-for-you blueberries year-round,” said Brian Bocock, vice president of product management for Naturipe Farms. “Our dedication to quality and service has remained consistent throughout our entire company history.”

The industry has evolved over the past 100 years, and one of the main ways Naturipe has seen that recently is in the development of new varieties, and its growers have a keen focus on developing and breeding new proprietary blueberry varieties.

“Many of the existing blueberry varieties that most growers use have great qualities,” Bocock said. “Still, we are now entering a period when we’re seeing private and public breeding programs develop new varieties that build on the foundations of existing varieties. At Naturipe, our grower-owners are developing outstanding varieties with improved flavor, longer shelf-life, better texture, brighter color and bigger size.”

blueberry volumes by ori 2

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

Naturipe has been working on its Premium Products portfolio for several decades and recently debuted a few new blueberry varieties that it’s very excited about.

“Under the Sweet Selections line, we introduced a blueberry that has exceptional flavor and offers an ideal eating experience,” Bocock said. “We also have our Mighty Blue Blueberries, which are jumbo blueberries — each one is roughly the size of a quarter — with the same great flavor and quality.”

Naturipe is proud that its growers are extremely dedicated to producing the best quality berries for retailers and consumers.

“A key part of that is the high level of service we provide in remaining engaged with our customers and consumers to ensure that we meet their needs,” Bocock said. “We are also always working to align with evolving best practices, whether that be in how we’re growing our berries, our commitment to sustainability, or in marketing our products.”

The 2024 blueberry crop is shaping up to be a great year.

“Our blueberry season in California had early volumes, especially the production of our highest-quality proprietary variety in the Golden State,” Bocock said. “We are seeing strong availability this month and peak volumes continuing through the beginning of June. We are also seeing promising volumes from New Jersey and North Carolina right now and soon the crop will move to Michigan and the Pacific Northwest.”

Currently, Naturipe is seeing a lot of growth opportunities in the premium products and value-added categories, especially as consumers increasingly turn to grab-and-go snacks.

“To capitalize on that growth, last year we added some new team members, including John Johnston and Matt Lyons, to lead development in these categories as we continue to cultivate and market new products,” Bocock said. “We’re always looking for new ways to deliver those delicious, convenient options that feature fresh berries and other nutritious snacks. We also see continued growth of demand for, and consumption of, organic berries. We are well-positioned to meet these needs, having been one of the organic pioneers of this industry for fresh berries and one of the largest producers of organic blueberries in the United States.”

The company believes berries are for everyone and regularly works with retailers across the United States to offer consumers delicious and healthy blueberries.

“The secret to strong partnerships is simple — consistently deliver high-quality, good-for-you berries produced in a way that prioritizes sustainability,” Bocock said. “No matter when or where a customer gets Naturipe berries, they know their clamshell will be packed with the best products on the market. They trust that each berry they bite into will be just as delicious as the last.”

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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