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Chile drives supplies, aided by Peru

South American blueberry industry entering peak harvest period

“We are entering the peak of production in Chile. US retailers are transitioning into larger pack styles as a result,” says Lauren Del Rosario with Donio. Optimal weather conditions in Chile have spurred supplies. “By January 1st, volumes will really kick-off which will enable retailers to set promotions,” shared Del Rosario.

Peru gears transitional periods
Chile is the main supplier of blueberries to North America this time of the year with a window of supply from mid-November until mid-March. “Chile is in the driver seat, aided with Peruvian supplies,” mentioned Del Rosario. “Peru has a strong fall program, but mainly focuses on the transition of growing regions from Northern to Southern Hemisphere, a time which is known for being a tight market.” Chile primarily transports its blueberries by boat, while Peru relies on the option of air freight. Peru exports blueberries by air when FOB prices are at the level to sustain the cost of flying. 

Blueberries not a staple yet
Blueberry production is still increasing rapidly, but Del Rosario doesn’t foresee this development creating demand issues. “Blueberries are not yet a staple item like strawberries and I believe consumer demand will be able to keep up,” she mentioned. “There are still parts of the world that don’t have access to blueberries.” In the domestic market, consumption numbers within the fresh blueberry category are still increasing, but Del Rosario sees big growth opportunities within the processed category because of the fruit variety being labeled as a Superfood. “The juicing, frozen and dried categories are all expected to continue to grow,” she mentioned. To enjoy blueberries at promotional prices year-round, Del Rosario recommends buying them fresh when on sale and then freeze them as they store very well.

Donio offers a year-round blueberry program. During the North American season, the company has growing programs in New Jersey, Michigan and British Columbia. In winter, blueberries are sourced in Chile and Peru. 

For more information:
Lauren Del Rosario
Donio, Inc.
Tel: (+1) 609-561-2466