Demand for blueberries has never been stronger. This is according to Mark Villata, executive director for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Folsom, Calif., who said in the past five years North American per-capita blueberry consumption has increased by nearly 50%, with blueberry consumers trending younger and more diverse.

That information comes from the Hebert Research 2013 U&A Study conducted for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Villata offered these statistics to back this claim:

* The U.S. market for Fresh blueberries produced $1.5 billion in retail sales in 2015, up 7% from 2014;

* The U.S. market for frozen blueberries reached $189.6 million in retail sales in 2015, up 4.2% over 2014, and making blueberries No. 2 in frozen fruit sales, according to research from Chicago-based IRI;

* The North American region has seen about a 20% increase in highbush blueberry production every two years since 2010, from 491.3 million pounds in 2010 to 718.8 million pounds in 2014;

* Global production increased 64% between 2010 and 2014, growing from 752.9 million pounds to 1.23 billion pounds.

To help drive this demand, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council encourages consumers to buy blueberries 365 days a year with marketing campaigns like with its Little Changes effort this year.

“In 2016, the USHBC is evolving its Little Changes campaign, offering consumers smart and simple ways to make little changes aimed at cultivating a healthier lifestyle,” Villata said.

Major components of the 2016 Little Changes campaign were implemented in January and February and recommenced May through July. They will again commence November through December to coincide with periods of high blueberry supplies at retail.
Compenents of the Little Changes campaign:

* #OurLittleChanges Social Movement, offering shareable tips and enjoyable ways to get active and eat more nutritious foods, challenging consumers to team up with a friend to incite little changes and keep one another motivated year-round;

* #BiteSizeSummer, providing busy moms and dads with 100 simple ways to make the most of 100 days of summer with their families. Shareable materials promote wholesome activities such as family picnics, making blueberry jam and making popsicles;

* Little Changes Holiday Recipes, which promotes a series of simple blueberry recipes ideal for sharing — some for sharing at holiday gatherings, some designed to be passed along as gifts. All will offer consumers convenient, time-saving ways to infuse various forms of blueberries into their lifestyle around the holidays.