Chile's 2014-2015 blueberry export season appears to have left last season's problems behind; consequently, volumes are expected to increase by 40%, reaching a total of 100,000 tonnes shipped.
"In terms of volume, the campaign has been very good so far; the weather has been favourable and we haven't suffered the impact of frosts, like last season," explains Ricardo Monge, of Frusan.
This campaign, the Chilean company expects to ship 2,500 tonnes of fresh blueberries, with 50% of its shipments going to China and the rest to the United States and Europe.
"Unlike cherries, whose consumption in China is tied to cultural factors, blueberries are considered by Chinese consumers as a very healthy product, so the growth in demand in recent times has been quite explosive," says Ricardo. He adds: "The Chinese are less demanding when it comes to Brix levels, although we hope that this will change a little when the market develops, even though the concept of blueberries as a healthy food will remain for years to come," he explains.
Ricardo explains that the market interest in blueberries is such that the company is in a position to choose its customers, noting that "something similar happens with cherries. We look for destinations with a good logistics capacity and which can help us develop the huge market potential."
According to Frusan, growth in demand in the Chinese market should remain constant, although they don't rule out an explosive growth in the coming years.
"Chile is promoting its blueberries and cherries in Chinese supermarkets, but we believe even more companies need to contribute to ensure that the promotion has a significant impact in a country of China's proportions," concludes Ricardo.
Ricardo Monge I.
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