Organic fresh blueberries take a step back in March
April 14, 2022

Organic fresh blueberry sales were off in March compared with a year ago, but increased volume and sales for conventional blueberries more than made up for the decline.

Total fresh blueberry sales of $189.1 million were up 3.8% in March, according to the latest Nielsen U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council report. Retail fresh blueberry volume, at 36.1 million pounds, was 6.9% higher compared with a year ago.

By way of comparison, total U.S. retail produce sales in March were up 7.4% in dollars but off 2.7% in volume, the report said.

The entire retail fresh berry category in March was up 10.1% in dollars and up 9.8% in volume, according to the report. 

Organic falters

For the four weeks ending March 26, the report said fresh blueberry category growth was driven exclusively by the conventional segment, which in March was up 11.7% in volume and 7.5% in dollars compared with a year ago.

Conventional fresh blueberry sales tallied $152.3 million, with volume rated at 31.3 million pounds, according to the report.

In contrast, the report said the organic fresh blueberry segment in March was down 16.6% in volume and down 9.2% in dollars compared with last March. Organic fresh blueberry sales in March totaled $36.8 million; volume was pegged at 4.7 million pounds in March.

Organic fresh blueberries accounted for 19% of total fresh blueberry sales in March, off 9.2% compared with a year ago. Conventional fresh blueberry sales accounted for 81% of total fresh blueberry sales, which the report said was up 7.5% compared with a year ago.

The decline in fresh organic blueberry sales was slightly offset by higher retail prices, with fresh organic blueberries selling at $7.09 per pound, up 63 cents per pound, or 9% higher compared with a year ago, the report said.