A consumer study by the California-based U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council's (USHBC's) says blueberries have become consumers' top berry. Victoria De Bruin, marketing manager for the USHBC: "The most recent long-term look at blueberries' success showed that U.S. per capita consumption grew 600% between 1994 and 2014 – more than any other fruit or vegetable.”
De Bruin says that blueberries have also transitioned from being featured as snacks or in yogurt to use in more savory dishes. "They're in baked goods and parfaits, but they're also in cocktails and meat glazes," she says. "This type of experimentation is a direct result of today's foodie culture, and the USHBC is tapping into that with the recipes we develop and the promotions we run."
Dollar sales of blueberries across the grocery store (including fresh and dried blueberries) hit $1.3 billion in the latest 52 weeks (ending Dec. 29, 2018), according to the latest data from New York-based Nielsen on total U.S. food stores.
Fresh blueberry dollar sales are up 8.8% and unit sales are up 2.8% from the previous year, says Sarah Schmansky, vice president of Nielsen’s growth and strategy fresh/health and wellness team. It also should be noted that fresh blueberry dollar sales have increased each year since the 52 weeks ending Jan. 2, 2016.