The Dutch blueberry season didn't have an easy start this year. "Many crops were ready at the same time. That meant production exceeded market demand, resulting in low prices. Thanks to the weather, the quality wasn't as good as expected either. And greedy blueberry-loving starlights plagued growers," says Fred Douven of abbGrowers.
The market has since recovered nicely. "It's now halfway through the season, and the quality is excellent. There's also been a big blueberry boom. These are coming from Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, as well as the Netherlands. So, prices should keep climbing. How much the supply will decrease further depends largely on the weather. Eastern Europe will be ready in time. If it stays dry, there'll be ample supply in Northern Europe for a while."
The overseas season kicked off early this year. The first containers arrived from Peru in week 29 already. "Zimbabwe and Namibia will start in the coming weeks. And South Africa will follow immediately," Fred says. "In South America, yields will be high again. There, another 30% growth is expected. It's harder to predict how the season in Africa will go. That season has yet to start. And those countries export quite a bit to the Middle East too."
Fred expects Dutch supermarkets will give preference to local blueberries for now. "I think it's good that they're promoting Dutch produce. Aldi and Jumbo are leading in this. They choose 100% Dutch product this summer. There are also many promotions with local blueberries planned. The market will only switch completely to berries from South America and Africa from week 38," he concludes.