Posts Tagged “Chilean blueberry exports”

Chilean Blueberry Exports to U.S. Ramping Up, But Total Season Volume is Down

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The Chilean Blueberry Committee, together with iQonsulting, have updated their export estimate for the 2023-2024 season, forecasting exports of 76,500 tons of fresh blueberries. This new figure reflects a decrease of 7% compared to the first estimate made in October, and a decrease of 13% from 2022-23.

Year-to-date shipments to the US are rapidly ramping up, with 276 tons exported during the first week of November. In total, 892 tons of fresh blueberries have been shipped to the U.S. this season, compared to just 357 at the same time last year.

Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Blueberry Committee commented, “This new forecast takes into consideration the effect of the rains during the first two weeks of November, as well as other associated climatic events such as frost and hail. He pointed out that the fruit is developing and progressing similar to previous seasons, as are weekly exports. “We’re seeing a pattern similar to the average of recent seasons, which will generate an initial peak of more than 5 thousand tons in week 49. Meanwhile, the period of highest volumes, with up to 8 thousand tons weekly, will occur between Weeks 51-2023 and 03-2024,” he observed.

Armstrong reported that, to date, exports of fresh blueberries are 18% greater than last season, and “the inclusion of new varieties and strong decrease of non-recommended varieties are dominating our exports.”  He also highlighted that, regarding the types of shipments, “air shipments have led exports to date with 1,422 tons and a growth of 170% compared to the same period last season. Maritime shipments are starting to increase, reaching 495 tons, which is 56% less than what was shipped during the same period last season”.

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Chilean Blueberries Facing More Competition Due to Higher Volumes

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One of the main issues affecting Chilean blueberry exports in the current season is the increased supply from other countries, such as Peru, South Africa and Mexico.

ASOEX’s Chilean Blueberry Committee reports the increase in supply is requiring new promotional efforts to increase demand. The growth of these countries has been focused mainly in those windows where there was less supply from Chile, Argentina, the U.S. and Canada.

ASOEX forecasts shipments will reach over 98,000 tons of fresh blueberries for 2022-2023, an 8% decrease compared to the previous season.  Over 50% of Chilean blueberries are exported to the U.S. It is followed by Europe and Asia with 35% and 15%, respectively.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports Forecast to be Down 8 %

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The Chilean Blueberry Committee, together with the consulting firm iQonsulting, have estimated a volume of 98,228 tons of fresh blueberries from Chile for the 2022-2023 season.  Small shipments to the U.S. market have already begun and will continue through February.

Volume estimated for the 2022/23 season has declined eight percent from last year.  This has resulted primarily from the Chilean blueberry industry’s intense focus on providing only the best quality blueberries to its export markets.  The industry is undergoing extensive variety renewal, with some varieties being shifted into frozen exports and other industrial uses. At the same time, growers are planting new varieties with better post-harvest conditions that will allow the fruit to arrive with the full flavor and sweetness characteristic of Chilean blueberries.

The U.S. continues to be Chile’s main market for fresh blueberries, receiving 54% of total volume.  It is followed by Europe with 34%, Asia with 11% and the remaining 2% within the Middle East and Latin America.  Chile ships 75% of all fresh organic blueberries to the U.S.  During the 2021/22 season, 22% of all blueberries shipped to the U.S. were organic, and 78% conventional.

With peak arrivals expected around the last week of December/first week of January, the U.S. marketing team is working with retail chains large and small to design programs that will drive Chilean blueberry sales.  Trade promotions will commence by early January and continue through February.

States Andres Armstrong, Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, “Our #1 priority is delivering the highest quality blueberries to our international markets.  Planting and exporting the right varieties is key, but the industry is also strengthening logistics through new programs like the Blueberry Express. This service will begin in Week 49 and continue throughout the 2022-23 season, with less than 2 weeks transit time to the U.S. market.  It guarantees the maintenance of the cold chain, which is crucial for protecting fruit quality.”

The industry anticipates better conditions for the export of fresh blueberries. Cooler temperatures have enhanced fruit quality, and there has been greater availability of labor for harvesting, packing and logistics operations, factors that made last season challenging.  

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Chilean Blueberry Exports for 2021-22 to be Similar to Last Season

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Chile is expecting to export 117,000 metric tons (MT) of blueberries in the 2021-22 season, according to the Chilean Blueberry Committee of Asoex.

The figure is on par with what was exported last season – 117,800MT.

The Committee noted that although total production is expected to increase to 178,000MT due to new plantations coming online and varietal reconversion with higher-productivity cultivars, exports are not forecast to increase due to there being a more rigorous selection criteria for fresh export fruit.

Therefore, the addition production volumes will be destined mainly for frozen exports and the domestic market, the Committee said.

It added that to date, new varieties makeup 25 percent of the export offer and will contribute to growth in production and better fruit quality.

Regarding organic blueberries, fresh exports are expected to reach 18 percent and frozen to reach 27 percent.

Of all the problems that could be faced, one that will have little impact on the production and export of blueberries is the drought, because producers have very efficient technical irrigation systems, the Committee said.

For logistical difficulties, exporters are currently working intensively on scheduling shipments with shipping companies to minimize the problem that is affecting global supply chains

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Chilean Blueberry Exports will have 50% of Volume Coming to U.S.

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With the Chilean blueberry season just starting, the industry is expecting to continue diversifying its markets and offer a higher proportion of newer and improved varieties.

The U.S. continues to be the main destination market, with 50 percent of exports.

The Chilean Blueberry Committee is reporting stable export volumes for the 2020-21 season. Chile in recent years has been diversifying its export markets with the biggest growths occurring in Asia and Europe.

During the past season shipments to Asia increased by 20 percent and to Europe by 8 percent. On the other hand, shipments to the U.S. – Chile’s leading blueberry market – decreased in the last two seasons, 1 percent last season and 9 percent the one before that.

For this 2020-21 season, the Blueberry Committee projects exports of approximately 154,000 metric tons (MT) of fresh and frozen blueberries. The estimate for fresh blueberries is a little over 111,000 MT – very similar to the volumes of the last two seasons, representing a 2 percent increase over last season.

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Chilean Fruit Imports are Expected to be Up from a Year Ago

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A significant increase in Chilean blueberry exports are expected this season, while Chilean grape exports could see a small decline. Additionally, with more volume in Chilean cherry exports, this should translate into more fruit from that South American country arriving on U.S. shores.

The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association reports grapes easily account for the largest Chilean fruit export to the U.S., representing nearly 40 percent of all the Chilean fruit shipped here. A drought in Chile is being blamed for an expected slight decrease in export volumes. Official estimates for the 2019-20 season are only 1.6 percent lower than last season.

It is estimated that about 78.5 million boxes will be exported to the U.S. this year, which, which would mean only about 1.3 million boxes less than the previous season. Blueberries, cherries and the stone fruits are expected to make up the difference over the next four to five months.

In 2017-18 there were 6.2 million boxes of Flame Seedless exported to the United States, while last season (2018-19) volume dropped to 2.1 million boxes. Flame Seedless has been an industry standard for decades but is being replaced with newer varieties such as Timco and Allison. Timco volume grew by 61 percent and Allison by 72 percent in the past year.

Chilean grape shipments began in late December and should increase through January and continue into May.

Cherries from Chile have been in the U.S. marketplace for a couple of months with shipments continuing and increasing through January. The vast majority of Chilean cherries are exported to China.

Chilean fruit companies are projecting that they will export about 42 million five kilogram cartons this year, which will represent a 16 percent increase over last season.

North America receives about 60 percent of Chilean blueberry exports. With organic “blues,” North America accounts for 96 percent the Chilean exports. Chilean fresh blueberry exports are expected to grow by about 4 percent during the 2019-20 season led by organics.  

Chilean stone fruits account for less than 10 percent of the country’s fruit exports to the U.S.

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A Small Decline is Seen with Chilean Blueberry Imports

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DSCN3254+1North American blueberry imports for the 2018-19 season will be good despite volume declining slightly from the record levels of a year ago.

With only a 5 percent decline in volume this season, it will hardly be noticed.

Chile has about 1,300 blueberry growers, primarily found in central and southern Chile.  The country has about 100 exporters shipping 100 metric tons or more.

With nearly perfect growing conditions last season, Chilean exporters shipped about 110,351 metric tons of fresh blueberries to all export markets with 64 percent destined for North America, 24 percent to Europe and 12 percent to Asia.

This season,Chilean fresh blueberry exports are forecast near 105,000 metric tons with distribution of the crop to be similar to a year ago.

Chilean blueberry exports started in mid-October.  Peak shipments will get underway the last week of November, and continuing through February.  The season continues through March.

Organic blueberry exports continue and upward trend.  Last season, organic blueberry shipments accounted for 9.5 percent of total fresh exports, or about 10,000 metric tons.  About 85 percent of the organic “blues” were exported to the U.S.

Total Chilean blueberry acreage was 38,550 acres in July 2017, of which 17 percent was organic production.

Boat vs. Air Shipments

About 90 percent of Chilean blueberry volume to North America is shipped by sea container, and 10 percent by air.  Few airplanes for shipping Chilean blueberries in the future is predicted since there is increasing competition from other exporting countries.

Last season, Chile exported about 40,000 metric tons of frozen blueberries — equal to about 40 percent of fresh volume.

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