The start of Chile’s cherry and blueberry export season has been marked by rains, with estimated cherry losses of fifteen percent. However, Karen Brux, of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, affirms that “we were predicting a 45% increase over last year, so we are still going to see increased volumes. It will be a record crop, even with the 15% decline over the initial estimate.”

The vast majority of Chile’s cherry exports go to China, but the U.S. is the second largest market. For blueberries, consumption has been skyrocketing in North America for the past several years, with the U.S. now receiving 70% of the country’s shipments.

Karen Brux explains that “In the U.S. market, we are starting to see a little more competition. It looks like Peru will be increasing its export volumes, but Chile will remain the dominant player. I also believe consumption will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) continues to invest in research that demonstrates the many nutritional benefits of blueberries, and both the Chilean Blueberry Committee and the USHBC are implementing strong blueberry marketing campaigns”.

Not only are blueberries healthy, they are also tasty and convenient, which contributes to their popularity, “which is why we think consumption will continue to grow,” says Karen Brux. “We are already 87% ahead of where we were last year in terms of exported volumes to the U.S. Due to the rains, we are implementing additional QC measures to ensure quality, but we estimate a 30- 35% increase compared to 2013/14.” Chile expects to continue growing as a blueberry producer, with a total of 16,000 hectares planted from the North to the South. “Global demand is growing and we are all doing what we can to keep up with it,” concludes Karen Brux.

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