Not long ago, being able to supply fresh blueberries during the shoulders of the season, when availability was lower, used to translate into higher prices and attractive returns. As the industry is changing, and year-round availability is more consistent, simply focusing on supplying commodity blueberries may not be enough.
Blueberry consumption rates in the US have been among the fastest growing in the fruit space. The prominent product attributes, such as healthfulness, convenience, and taste, have the potential to attract more consumers to purchase blueberries on a regular basis.
But, the increase in US demand has been outpaced by the supply growth in some seasons. As year-round availability becomes steadier and competition among producing regions increases, continued growth of overall demand becomes increasingly critical for the entire industry.
“As our price estimates show, growers should expect downward price pressure to continue at the (waning) shoulders of the season,” according to David Magaña, Senior Analyst – Fresh Produce. “As the blueberry industry is experiencing a paradigm shift toward consistent quality, growers and companies will need to adjust their strategies to the new normal, focusing on product differentiation/’de-commoditization’ and strategic partnerships/acquisitions.”
The full report from Rabobank can be downloaded here, but is exclusively available to Rabobank clients.