Due to considerable bottlenecks, the supply situation on the global blueberry market is currently quite tense. "The quantities in Peru are not available, which is due to the massive harvest losses caused by El Niño. To make matters worse, the majority of available blueberries are shipped to the USA, which is why only manageable quantities are exported to Europe. Compared to the previous year, Peruvian imports in Europe have fallen by less than half in some cases, which has also led to prices more than doubling at times," explains Christiaan Koellreuter, Managing Director of Nordgemüse Krogmann GmbH & Co. KG.
Due to the lack of quantities, German food retailers are also currently forced to offer mainly smaller packs - 125 to 300 grams. However, grammages of more than 500 grams are hardly to be found at the moment. In order to make up for the shortfall to some extent, the South African season is starting relatively early this year. Goods have even been flown in by plane to bring the season forward. "In the coming weeks, the presence of South African blueberries will gradually expand. Normally, we will be able to offer South African produce by the beginning of January," says Koellreuter.
The company Nordgemüse has its own plantation in South Africa, although it is still under construction. A new production site is also being set up in neighbouring Namibia. In the picture: company boss Christiaan Koellreuter.
Koellreuter points out that blueberries are an integral part of the shopping basket for many end consumers. "Blueberries are a must-have product for many consumers, regardless of the prices and tray sizes. In this respect, sales in trays have not necessarily decreased, but only the total sales volume."
There is currently no sign of the market normalising any time soon. "I don't expect the market to calm down for the time being. Only at the beginning of the new year, when Chile and Morocco hit the market at full force, could there be larger volumes. But even that remains to be seen," concludes Koellreuter.