Report cites big potential for blueberries
May 30, 2013

According to a recent report by DGC Asset Management Limited, blueberries have grown in production, acreage, demand and consumption in the last several years. Citing those growth trends, the report points to the great potential for even more growth in Asian, European and South American markets.

Worldwide production of blueberries has doubled since 2008 and the land dedicated to the growing and cultivation of blueberries has also doubled since 2005. Most of the world's production comes from the United States, and although U.S. growers have added the most acreage in the last decade, the fastest growth, both in terms of production and acreage, has been abroad.

While global production has grown an average of 10 percent every year since 2008, several regions have far surpassed that growth statistic. In the last five years, production has grown 585 percent in the Mediterranean and North Africa region, 146 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, 140 percent in South Africa and 137% in South America.

In terms of acreage, the U.S. added the most acres since 2008, but the land Chinese growers put toward the cultivation of blueberries rose an astounding 800 percent in that same period of time. South African acreage grew by 55 percent during that period of time, while both South American and European growers increased their blueberry acreage by 140 percent since 2008.

Likewise, yields have also been increasing. The report noted that, from 1992 through 2011, yield per acre in the U.S. has improved by almost 80 percent. That, in addition to increased acreage, has led to the large jumps in production in the U.S., and with most of the world's production still coming from American growers, that has also contributed to the jumps in worldwide production. But increased production, rather than causing prices to dip, has been a response to growing worldwide demand. In fact, except for 2008, which coincided with the global economic crisis, prices for blueberries have climbed steadily since the early 1990's.

The report noted that while 80 percent of the world's production of blueberries is still consumed in the U.S., the American market is largely covered, so the big potential for growth lies in countries where market penetration is not so deep. The report anticipates that countries in Europe, Asia and South America will begin consuming more blueberries as growing middle classes in those markets start to flex their spending power and buy blueberries, which are considered a high-quality fruit. The status of blueberries as a “super food,” as well as increasing awareness of their health benefits, is also cited as a factor in growing worldwide demand. According to the report, if consumption in China, Europe and South America reaches the same level of consumption as that in the U.S., then the worldwide blueberry market could grow by as much as 500 percent.

Fresh Plaza