CHILE – Chile has started its 2023-24 blueberry season with a surge in exports, shipping 1,500 tons, marking a substantial 25% annual increase.
Notably, U.S. shipments have witnessed a remarkable threefold increase, while Asia, despite its dominant position, exhibits a 7% decline compared to the previous season.
According to the Chilean Blueberry Committee’s Executive Director, Andrés Armstrong, this figure, although representing a mere 2% of the season’s projected output, reflects an upward trajectory in shipments.
Armstrong underscores opportunities emerging in the U.S. market, particularly in organic produce, which accounts for a substantial 60% of current U.S. shipments. Asia, despite the drop, continues to assert its significance, specifically in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
In line with their marketing strategies, Armstrong delineates efforts to enhance quality measures and logistics.
“A relaunch of the Blueberry Express service targeting the U.S. market aims to expedite fruit delivery, ensuring arrival within two weeks or less,” he announced.
The exported varieties so far—Ventura, CB1219, Emerald, Rocío, and Suzie Blue—highlight a notable shift, with 53% comprised of new cultivars, signaling a strategic evolution in product offerings.
The sector’s emphasis on varietal change toward more cost-efficient cultivars has been central to this year’s focus.
Armstrong notes a transition in varietal preferences but cautions that this shift has yet to manifest in significant export volumes.
“In the short term, our volume may decrease, possibly extending into the next season, but we anticipate strengthening our export foundation,” he affirms.
This season’s commencement, as described by Armstrong, deviates significantly from the norm. The augmented fruit shipment, particularly concentrated in Asia (56%) and the U.S. (42%), stands out, followed by Canada, Europe, and the Middle East.
Armstrong anticipates initiating this service by week 48 or 49, primarily targeting the east coast.
“The Chilean blueberry industry appears poised for a season marked by strategic shifts in export destinations and a deliberate emphasis on high-value markets, indicative of a dynamic and evolving market landscape,” he concludes
For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.