Chilean blueberry exports to jump 21% in 2012-13
November 30, 2012

The Chilean blueberry industry is expected to record a 21% rise in blueberry exports this season to reach 84,900 metric tons (MT), according to a report from iQonsulting for the country’s blueberry committee.

North America will continue to be the largest buyer of fresh blueberries from Chile, followed by Europe and Asia, both continents where significant rises in shipments were seen last season.

Chilean Blueberry Committee president Andrés Armstrong tells consumption continues to grow in the U.S. and Canada for both the local crop and blueberries from overseas.

“There is an effort from both the local industry and ours to develop blueberry consumption in North America,” says Armstrong.

“We see that the implementation of retail chain promotions in destination markets has helped move growing Chilean volumes, especially during the peak.”

He adds development in the food service sector represents “important new opportunities for raising consumption”.

When asked about prospects in the Asian market, Armstrong says China and other countries in Asia have the potential to consume blueberries but today it is not a market that could absorb the type of volumes that go to the United States and Europe.

“Even though Asia had a growth of 50% in the last season, its total participation in exports is 4%,” he emphasizes, pointing out companies need to be cautious given the length of transit times to the continent and the impact that can have on fruit condition on arrival.

The committee expects the weekly dynamic of exports will be similar to what it was last season, with a peak to begin in week 48.

For the long term, Armstrong expects Chile will ship 105,800MT in fresh blueberries come the 2016-17 season.

Chile currently has a total of 13,162 hectares of fruit, with a projection of 5.4% growth to 2016.