The availability of Chilean blueberries in Turkey is set to increase following a decision by Turkish importer Ideal Tarim to add the Andean nation to its rapidly expanding blueberry deal.
The Istanbul-based company has been importing apples, pears and grapes from Chile for 10 years and decided to move into blueberries having observed growing demand among Turkish consumers.
Owner Zeki Birincioglu travelled to Chile recently where he met with a number of leading blueberry growers and exporters.
“Given their rapidly rising popularity we are keen to start importing from this coming season,” Birincioglu said. “Blueberries are well known for their health benefits and as soon as they become available to consumers for most of the year at a reasonable price we are confident that sales will increase.”
Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, said the news would enable further market diversification – a key goal for Chilean shippers.
“Per capita consumption is still quite low in Turkey so we welcome any opportunity to work with Turkish importers, retailers and distributors to develop the market,” he said.
A 2013 study carried out by ProChile showed that Turkish consumers perceive blueberries to be a luxury item whose consumption is highly beneficial to health. They are particularly popular among younger members of the population with high purchasing power.
Turkey’s domestic blueberry production is relatively low, with output reaching 200 tonnes in 2013. At present most imports come from the US (71 per cent), followed by Chile (10 per cent).