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IBO Reports on Status of Global Blueberry Industry

October 25, 2022

The International Blueberry Organization recently released its “Global State of the Blueberry Industry Report 2022”. Aiming to present the latest trends observed in the global blueberry industry and promote the sustainable development of the sector, the report provides detailed data and in-depth analysis regarding blueberry production, planting area, supply seasons and varieties in major producing regions around the world.

According to the report, the global highbush blueberry planting area had reached 235,408 hectares by 2021 with a total output of 1,789,590 metric tons*, corresponding to year-on-year increases of 12.1% and 25.3%, respectively. In 2022, over 2 million tons of the fruit are expected to be produced globally. The top 10 highbush blueberry growers in terms of planting area for 2021 were China (69,036 hectares, +14.8% YOY), the United States (48,139 hectares, +6.3% YOY), Chile (18,802 hectares, +3.4% YOY), Peru (16,850 hectares, +23.8% YOY), Canada (12,152 hectares, +5.4% YOY), Poland (11,000 hectares, +15.8% YOY), Mexico (9,100 hectares, +15.2% YOY), Ukraine (5,318 hectares, +21.3% YOY), Spain (4,570 hectares, +8.6% YOY) and South Africa (3,500 hectares, +5.4% YOY).

Meanwhile, the top 10 highbush blueberry producers in 2021 were China (477,080 tons, +61.5% YOY), the United States (328,210 tons, +16.1% YOY), Peru (261,450 tons, +45.6% YOY), Chile (185,300 tons, −5.3% YOY), Mexico (84,700 tons, +34.3% YOY), Canada (80,420 tons, −2.4% YOY), Spain (76,360 tons, +14.5% YOY), Poland (55,500 tons, +2.6% YOY), Morocco (39,030 tons, +8.4% YOY) and South Africa (26,000 tons, +64.6% YOY).

Peru is still leading the world in terms of blueberry exports, with export volumes continuing to increase each year. In the 2021/22 season, the country exported 227,480 tons of blueberries (+32.4% YOY), of which the majority were fresh blueberries (219,982 tons, +35.4% YOY). Blueberries have also replaced avocados as Peru’s second most valuable fruit and vegetable export item. The main overseas markets for Peruvian blueberries during the 2021/22 season were the United States (124,450 tons, +36.0% YOY), the Netherlands (52,890 tons, +17.1% YOY), Hong Kong (17,340 tons, +154.6% YOY), the United Kingdom (13,180 tons, +15.1% YOY) and China (11,470 tons, +5.0% YOY).

With respect to the future of the industry, the IBO forecasts that global blueberry production will exceed 3 million tons by 2025. However, the report authors acknowledged that this estimate may need to be revised downward owing to limitations regarding the availability of land, water and labor.

Taking a closer look at China, despite having the world’s largest highbush blueberry production, China still imported 34,570 tons (+19.1% YOY) of the fruit in 2021. These data indicate that after over 10 years of development, China’s blueberry market remains far from saturated and consumer demand may continue to grow. Furthermore, in contrast to countries in the Americas, blueberry consumption in China still centers on fresh fruit, which could translate to considerable growth potential for frozen blueberries.

*Note: All instances of “ton” in this article refer to metric tons.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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