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UK should reap rewards of global blueberry expansion, availability

Produce Business wire report

Thanks to a sea shift in the blueberry industry from regional to global, availability of the plump and nutritious fruits should continue to growth exponentially in the UK, according to a report from Netherlands-based Rabobank.

Blueberries, a ‘super fruit’ with an unrivaled balance of antioxidants, colour, convenience and flavour, are seeing increased demand from consumers looking to eat more healthy.

Despite inflationary, recessionary, and logistical challenges, Rabobank say the UK, the U.S. and the EU-27 will remain the most important destination markets. 

UK blueberry imports have grown sixfold in the past decade, according to Rabobank. Higher production in more diverse growing regions has helped ensure year-round supply and led to increased availability on the European market. 

Between July and May of the 2021-22 season, total EU-27 blueberry imports reached 341,000 metric tons, according to figures by Rabobank.

Supplies arriving mainly from Peru, Morocco, and South Africa have helped to extend the extra-EU season. The most active period of intra-EU shipments is May, at the peak of the Spanish and Moroccan seasons, the report said.

However, the report notes that logistics pressure remains. This was one of the main factors that led to quality-issue claims for Southern Hemisphere blueberries at wholesale markets in Europe in 2021-22. 

The global schedule reliability index remains low (40.5% in July 2022), but higher than in 2021, with the South America–Mediterranean trade route presenting the best index according to DHL. 

In addition, SeaIntelligence stated that imbalance between demand and capacity experienced during 2020 and 2021 is moving toward normalization, which has been reflected in the drop of freight rate indices. 

However, Rabobank said that the shortage of truck drivers is still significant and may affect the development of the 2022-23 EU season.



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