Posts Tagged “blueberry industry”

Blueberry Popularity Continues to Soar

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016by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

FOLSOM, Calif. – The blueberry industry is projecting a 25 percent increase in North American production over a four-year span, growing from 750.2 million lb. in 2015 to 940 million lb. in 20191. North American production for 2016 is projected to again surpass 750 million lb., with global production anticipated to surpass 1.4 billion lb.

Soaring demand has created a nearly billion dollar industry in the U.S. Top-producing regions include California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

As the industry, led by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), promotes blueberries as healthy lifestyle staples, North American consumption and purchases continue to keep pace with supply. Specifically:

  • North American per capita blueberry consumption grew nearly 50 percent between 2010-20152
  • Fresh blueberry sales at U.S. retail amounted to $1.5 billion in 2015, up 7 percent versus 2014, making blueberries #2 in fresh berry dollar sales3
  • Frozen blueberry sales reached $189.6 million in 2015, up 4 percent versus 2014, making blueberries #2 in frozen fruit dollar sales3
  • In 2013, Americans were nearly twice as likely as they were in 2004 to buy blueberries in the coming year and 84 percent cited awareness of blueberry health benefits, up 115 percent over 20044

Growing Export Markets

North America isn’t the only market of focus for the blueberry industry. Approximately 10 percent of the total U.S. highbush crop is exported each year, with fresh exports totaling more than 79 million lb. in 2014, up 60 percent from 49.3 million lb. in 20055.

The USHBC aims to increase industry export figures substantially in the coming years by expanding existing export markets and opening new markets where fresh blueberries from the U.S. aren’t currently available, including Australia, Chile, China, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.

About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

One hundred years after the first commercial crop of highbush blueberries was sold at a New Jersey farm stand, blueberry demand continues to keep pace with supply due to promotion efforts led by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, an agriculture promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments.

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U.S. Blueberry Shipments Have Increased Dramatically in Two Decades

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DSCN7092Over the past 20 years blueberry shipments have soared.
Total blueberry shipments nationally in 1996 was 164 million pounds, with the largest producer being the Great Lakes at 45 million pounds, versus 25 million pounds from Oregon and Washington.
In 2015, total production was 711 million pounds, with 75 million pounds from the Great Lakes versus 196 million pounds from Oregon and Washington.  That 2015 total production is equivalent to 17,775 truck loads.
If you count British Columbia and California, the shift from the East to the West is even more dramatic during that period, from 38 percent to 59 percent of total production.
Blueberry plantings continue at a brisk pace.  Between 2007 and 2014, worldwide plantings grew at a compounded annual rate of 10 percent.
In North America, the figure for that period was 8 percent. By the end of 2014, blueberry acreage in North America totaled 143,636 acres. Worldwide, the total was 273,929 acres.
No slowdown in plantings is seen thus far, although like many other produce commodities over the years over production is bound to hit the blueberry industry.
One major change is that wild blueberries are becoming a direct competitor with highbush blueberries.
Wild blueberry growers now differentiate their product as “the better blueberry,” claiming wild blueberries taste better and provide twice the amount of antioxidants of planted blueberries.
The first domestic blueberry shipments each year usually start in late March from Florida.

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