US: Importers expect good volumes of Chilean blueberries
November 30, 2012

Chilean blueberry importers expect a smooth transition from the Chilean product to the Argentine one, with strong demand and good volumes.

Michael Schiro, director for berries and clementines of Jac Vandenberg Inc., Yonkers, New York, said he hopes that the Argentine blueberry season begins at the end of the first or second week of December, just in time for Chile to take charge of supply and demand.

"It seems to be a good transition, with no windows, towards the Chilian product," he said. Vandenberg, expects to receive their first shipments by plane from Chile in the first or second week of December, with the first shipment Estimated for mid-December, said Schiro.

These shipments are comparable with start dates in recent years, although a little later than the traditional business start, he said. "It used to be that the first Chilean blueberries came the first days of December," said Schiro. "I think now, it is coming a little later than in recent years."

According to the representative of Naturipe, once the agreement is put in place, there should be a good season "we expect an increase of 15% across the industry," he said, adding that "in general, the crop looks good."

Brian Bocock, Naturipe Farms` vice president of product management, also said to expect a strong demand during the Chilean season, which will coincide with those additional volumes. Meanwhile, the maximum volume should be available in the last ten days of December, all of January and the first three weeks of February, he said.

The strong retail demand should be complemented in 2012-13 with the strong demand from the foodservice like restaurants, schools, institutions and other channels, said the vice president of management. "There is great interest by the foodservice for blueberries, which is exciting for our industry," he pointed out.

Foodservice demand is strong in all areas, Bocock said.

Source: SimFRUIT