The value of global blueberry exports is expected to soar over the coming years to reach nearly $3 billion by 2025, according to a USDA report.
The report, 'Blueberries Around the Globe – Past, Present, and Future' said that using U.S. Census Bureau, Trade Data Monitor, and country data provided by FAS’s overseas offices, exports for these countries totaled $2.1 billion in 2019.
For the seven leading exporting countries - Peru, Chile, Mexico, the United States, South Africa, Poland, and Canada - combined growth has averaged 18 percent annually since 2016. Peru, Mexico, Poland, and South Africa have all seen continuous growth.
"If exports average only 5 percent growth during the next 5 years, export value for these countries alone will reach nearly $3.0 billion by 2025," the report said.
"According to FAO data, global export volume has not declined since at least 2010, rising on average 46,000 tons per year between 2015 and 2019. Considering the expansion in production and exports since 2010 and the continued rise in consumer demand, exports of fresh blueberries are expected to continue their upward trajectory."
For the U.S. specifically, growth has been more moderate. While the export value of fresh blueberries has grew 30 percent between 2010 and 2019, exports experienced 4 straight years of decline between 2014-2017, some of which coincided with years of lower output.
On either side of that timespan, exports had peaked at $147 million in 2013 and have seen continuous growth since 2017, rising from $107 million to nearly $121 million in 2020.
For 2021, January-July exports are slightly ahead of last year, up $3 million to nearly $99 million. On average, more than 80 percent of U.S. shipments go to Canada, valued at more than $106 million in 2020. Among the seven leading exporters, the United States ranks fourth behind Peru, Chile, and Mexico.
Global production has followed a similar rate of growth to global blueberry exports, more than doubling between 2010 and 2019, rising from 439,000 metric tons to nearly 1.0 million. During this time, the number of countries with reportable production expanded from 26 to at least 30, with 27 countries showing growth.
In 2010, only four countries produced more than 10,000 tons: the United States (224,000 tons), Canada (84,000 tons), Chile (76,000 tons), and France (11,000 tons). The number of countries producing at least 10,000 tons started increasing by 2012 and has not declined since then.
By 2019, at least 11 countries were above the 10,000-ton threshold. Peru had the most dramatic expansion, rising from less than 50 tons to nearly 125,000 to become the fourth-largest producer behind the United States, Canada, and Chile. Peru is now the world’s leading exporter by value.
Southern Hemisphere countries account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s production growth during this time, reaching close to 300,000 tons in 2019. The spread of production to the Southern Hemisphere has expanded blueberries’ seasonal market presence to all 12 months of the year, boosting availability for consumers and driving worldwide demand.