Camposol’s José Antonio Gómez is urging US retailers to rethink their sales strategies in light of Peru’s growing influence on the blueberry market.
The comments from the CEO of Camposol Trading, one of Peru’s two biggest blueberry players come after prices collapsed last December under the weight of a glut of arrivals from South America.
“Chile had its biggest crop ever, Argentina’s volume was higher than the average over the past three years and the timing of both campaigns was atypical, with peak volumes arriving at unexpected dates,” Gómez told Fruitnet.
The spike in Chilean volumes in December in particular caught the market by surprise. By week 52, Chile had exported 35 per cent more than in the previous season, equivalent to around 13,000 tonnes of blueberries.
Peru, meanwhile, had exported 14,000 tonnes more by 52, an increase of 156 per cent on 2015.
“The US market took in almost double the amount of blueberries in December (23,000 tonnes versus 12,000 tonnes in 2015) and the retailers weren’t prepared to move such a high volume,” Gómez said.
“This had a big impact on prices – not just in the US but also in Europe. It also meant that the market had to contend with a lot of bad quality fruit in January.”
Although still a new player, Peru’s output has already overtaken Argentina’s and retailers must ensure that they are equipped for the extra volume, Gómez noted.
“We’re going to see a tripling of volumes during Argentina’s season and retailers have to be prepared to accommodate Peru and programme their promotions to enable them to move the extra volume accordingly,” he said.
Camposol’s blueberry strategy is heavily focused on building long-term retail programmes, with about 70 per cent of its output destined for supermarkets in the US and elsewhere.