The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) of North America carried out a campaign to promote exports of Chilean fruits in the US market under the slogan 'Summer Fruits in Winter'. After this campaign, Chilean blueberries, table grapes, cherries, and peaches are gradually starting to appear in the North American market.
According to David Magaña, the vice president and senior analyst of Rabobank in Fresno, California, "consumers today want fresh, quality fruits throughout the year, which has created a demand for counter-seasonal imports." In fact, “Chile sent 92.3 million boxes of fresh fruits to the US during the 2018-19 season,” said Karen Brux, the director of marketing of the CFFA of North America.
Table grapes are Chile's most exported fruit, but blueberries are the fastest growing. Blueberry shipments are expected to reach 115,000 tons during the 2019-20 season, i.e. 4% more than in the previous season, Brux said. In table grapes, Peru has become an important competitor, especially at the end of November and December, as their early varieties' harvest starts earlier than those of Chile.
Chile is the main supplier of stone fruit
The Rabobank professional said that Chile is the main supplier of nectarines and peaches for the United States during the winter. He also said that apples only represent a small portion of Chilean exports, but noted that some US companies are investing in apple crops in Chile to provide freshly harvested and counter-seasonal apples, such as Honeycrisp, from March to August.
Focused on quality and not volume
Chilean producers are constantly refining their programs to attract American consumers. In this context, the Blueberry Committee of Chile-ASOEX has decided not to export a series of older blueberry varieties with insufficient shelf life, Brux stated.
The CFFA representative also said that the Chilean table grape industry was investing in the production of new varieties of this fruit, especially in the northern part of the country, and that the Fruit Technology Consortium was developing new varieties of fresh grapes.
The US market also expects Chilean cherries
China isn't the only market waiting for Chilean cherry exports as the US market is also getting ready to receive them, by air, since mid-November, and by sea since December.
According to the first forecast for the 2019-20 campaign, Chile will export almost 42 million boxes of cherries, almost 16.1% more than in the last year, Karen Brux stated. However, most cherries are destined for the Chinese market, with volumes available to the United States mainly in December and January.