Sunny Valley International projecting blueberry import increases
September 25, 2015

Blueberry imports to the United States have grown by large percentages in the past decade, and there is no sign of it slowing down looking into the future.blues3

Sunny Valley International, headquartered in Glassboro, NJ, projects 10 to 15 percent increases in blueberries from Peru, Chile and Argentina for this import season.

“And we anticipate that imported organic blueberries will grow by 20 to 25 percent this year,” said Bob Von Rohr, director of customer relations. “Timing on our Argentina and Chilean deal is about the same as last year. We will have fruit from the start in mid-September through the end of the import season in early April, with availability week-in and week-out.”

He added that the market for blueberries in the United States continues to grow every year, and that the market for the company’s increase in imports is strong. The demand for blueberries typically exceeds the supply.

“Our main source of blueberries is Chile, which runs throughout the import season,” noted Von Rohr. “Argentina blueberry imports run from mid-September until early December, and some Peruvian blueberries also run in the October through December period.”

He explained that a regular supply of Chilean and Argentine blueberries would start arriving by air in Miami and would continue until early- to mid-December. The company then switches to ocean container imports that arrive into the ports of Philadelphia, New Jersey and Port Everglades in Florida.

Sunny Valley International’s primary labels for its imported blueberries are “Easter Island,” “X-Fru,” “Copefruit,” “Cato,” “Del Curto,” “Gricom,” Faraway” “Only Fruit” and “Agricamex.”

“These shippers all take a tremendous amount of pride in what they pack,” noted Von Rohr.

Pack sizes from Chile will begin with six-ounce clamshells by air transportation, followed by pints and 18-ounce clamshells in vessel container shipments.

“We have the capability to re-style blueberries into special packs at the Eastern Propak facility in Glassboro, New Jersey, with a 24-48 hour advanced notification,” explained Von Rohr. “It’s our strength in that we can convert to different pack styles or repack blueberries. When we ship blueberries from New Jersey, we’re able to offer good delivery with high-quality berries and in a wide diversity of packaging.”

He pointed out that transitions from air to vessel containers will happen when volumes hit really strong in late December. Heavy volumes will continue through mid-March. Von Rohr said that containers take about two and a half weeks to arrive in the United States. Peak production is containerized and runs from early January through mid-March.

“Our primary Chilean grower groups are those that run a little later in the season,” said Von Rohr. “There is some production in northern Chile that comes on earlier, but our peak is from the Osorno area. This region of Chile has shown to be well adapted to produce high-quality blueberries.”

Sunny Valley’s organic Chilean blueberry program has grown significantly over the years. Its organic season starts via air freight in early November and runs to mid-January.

“We then transition to vessel containers for our organics, which extends through the end of the season in March,” said Von Rohr.

“Organic pack sizes are 4.4-ounce, six-ounce and pints.” Our primary organic labels from Chile are ‘Cato’ and ‘Patagonia Berry Growers,’ which are premium certified-organic growers.



Source: The Produce News