Chile has reported a sharp rise in exports of organic blueberries to the US this season. With supply reaching its peak this month, the Chilean Blueberry Committee said total shipments were 3 per cent higher than at this point last year, while organic exports grew by more than 40 per cent in the same period.
The total volume shipped to week 6 reached 98,427 tonnes, of which 52,955 tonnes was sent to the US market, including 9,073 tonnes of organic blueberries.
“This year has been a great year for Chilean organic and conventional blueberries in North America and around the world,” said Karen Brux of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “We are in the middle of our promotional period, and fruit will be available until March.”
Around 80 per cent of Chile’s organic blueberry exports are destined for North America. “We expect organic fruit to cover around 12-13 per cent of the total volume of fresh blueberries sent to the US,” Brux said.
She added that this presented a great opportunity for retailers to promote their organic offer and that Chile was committed to helping them expand the category.
“The sale of fresh organic products reached US$5.6bn in 2018, and the exciting thing is that in terms of absolute dollars, blueberries registered the largest increase, as the organic blueberry category grew by US$63.9m.
“As the main Southern Hemisphere supplier, this is encouraging news for Chile. We have a long history working with retailers throughout the country to promote Chilean blueberries and we’re now extending that support to specific promotions of organic products.”
Chile recently participated in the Global Organic Produce Expo in Florida where it met with several retailers to discuss green promotions.
With Peruvian production fast approaching Chile in volume terms, Chilean exporters are working hard to protect their position in the market.
“Peru is clearly a competitor, but the quality of Chilean blueberries, together with the long-lasting relationships we have forged with the trade, have allowed us to maintain a solid position in the market,” Brux said.
“We are focused on sending more quantity to North America and our markets around the world, not only of the newest varieties, but also of the best varieties.”