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Mike Knowles



Tuesday 22nd March 2016, 15:22 London

GBC2016: highlights from this year's event

Key facts, figures and findings from this year’s Global Berry Congress, which took place in Rotterdam on 14-16 March

GBC2016: highlights from this year's event
  1. Strategy&’s Marco Kesteloo predicted that, in future, retailers will be more receptive to the fresh produce industry, turning to it for innovation and efficiencies in a bid to boost their own profitability.
  2. Packed house for #GBC2016 with 350 people here from over 30 countries. Great news for the berry business!
    Packed house for #GBC2016 with 350 people here from over 30 countries. Great news for the berry business!
  3. The EU blueberry market is growing at an average of 6-7 per cent a year versus growth of 1-2 per cent for strawberries, Van Rijswick revealed.
  4. Berry market will continue to grow 7% per year next 5 years according to Rabobank #GBC2016
  5. Around 85 per cent of EU shoppers never buy blueberries or raspberries, according to Rabobank’s Cindy van Rijswick, leaving huge room for growth.
  6. 85% of EU shoppers never buy blueberries or raspberries, says Cindy van Rijswick, so big potential for growth. #GBC2016
  7. Rabobank’s research also shows that if berry prices drop by 10 per cent, consumption increases by 10-20 per cent.

    Van Rijswick added that Spain, Portugal and Morocco were rapidly expanding their production of raspberries and blackberries.
  8. David Northcroft of UK retailer Waitrose told delegates: “Whatever you produce, taste matters, and in the berry category it matters even more so.”

    Northcroft suggested that collaboration between retailers and suppliers was key to growth in berries. “There is an enormous amount of work still to be done in terms of system improvements to make us a slicker outfit.”

    He added that 40 per cent of Waitrose’s berry sales over the last six months had come from blueberries and 31 per cent from raspberries.

    He also noted that berries have become a reference point on health for other categories – purple potatoes are compared with strawberries due to their high anthocyanin content.
  9. Waitrose's David Northcroft illustrates staggering blueberry growth in UK. #GBC2016
    Waitrose's David Northcroft illustrates staggering blueberry growth in UK. #GBC2016
  10. Blue Aroma, SAT Royal’s blueberry selection deriving from the University of Florida’s Snowchaser variety, is proving a hit thanks to its strong, sweet aroma. When it comes to selecting fruit, José Gandía said children in particular were influenced by their sense of smell.

    Spanish group SAT Royal’s blueberry production is expected to reach approximately 14,000 tonnes by 2020.

    Blueberry production is also expanding rapidly in Mexico, where it already represents 7 per cent of total berry output. One of the country’s key strengths, said Fabricio Blanco of FreshKampo, was the 38 Free Trade Agreements it has in place across the globe.

    What consumers perceive as premium varieties now will become standard in future, added Blanco. The industry must keep innovating in order to keep consumers satisfied.

    Mario Loi of Spanish berry breeder FNM said that the region of Huelva was “ideal” for strawberry production but had to diversify more into raspberries and blueberries.

    Ed Moerman of Koppert Biological Systems said a paradigm shift was needed in farming towards greater diversity and sustainability. “In the past, it was common for companies to breed varieties while using chemicals heavily. That meant that varieties that were very susceptible to certain diseases could get through.”

    Timo Tarkianen of Priva explained how his company was improving the way berries are produced: “The best way to control irrigation is by measuring the transpiration of the plant using a weighing scale.”
  11. David Smith of Shanghai-based SVA Fruits predicted growth in the Chinese market for berries, where per-capita consumption remains remarkably low. While Chile leads the way on imported blueberries, British Columbia in Canada now has a protocol in place to supply the same product to China.

    Dominika Kozarzewska of Polskie Jagody / Polish Blueberry Cooperative revealed that her country’s blueberry production had doubled between 2011 and 2015: “Growth will not be as strong in the future, but there is still a lot of planting going on.”

    7,000ha of land is dedicated to blueberry production in Poland, where the fruit has in fact been grown for more than 40 years. Around 70-80 per cent of Poland’s blueberry production is exported.

    Polish berry exports to South-East Asia will grow by up to three-and-a-half times more in 2016 than in 2015.
  12. Four years ago, the biggest discounter in Poland didn’t sell Polish blueberries. Since the product’s introduction, sales have grown steadily.
  13. Consumers in the driving seat: global blueberry volume; from 23K Mt in 1995 to 563K Mt in 2014 #GBC2016
  14. Cort Brazelton of US breeder Fall Creek Farm & Nursery delivered news from the future, warning of a possible oversupply in future if blueberry demand dropped – as well as a disturbing image of US President trump on the eve of his re-election bid.
  15. Global blueberry output to hit 620,000 tonnes by 2017, says Fall Creek's Cort Brazelton. That's a lot of pancakes #GBC2016
  16. Back to the future with Cort Brazelton of @FallCreekBlues - giving us the news on blueberries from 2021. #GBC2016
    Back to the future with Cort Brazelton of @FallCreekBlues - giving us the news on blueberries from 2021. #GBC2016
  17. Brazelton also noted the presence of what he called an “upside-down camel”, that is a dramatic dip in blueberry supply levels during the Northern Hemisphere summer when you remove US volume data. A strong potential opportunity for Poland, he suggested.

    Cultivation of blueberries began 100 exactly years ago, on the US East Coast, thanks to the work of Elizabeth White and Dr Frederick Coville.

    5,000 tonnes of Chilean blueberries were sent to China this year, slightly less than the previous year.

    Marketers must get closer to breeders in order to satisfying the demands of tomorrow’s consumers, said Driscoll’s Sandra Wolters.
  18. Ela Daher of Cuna de Platero explained how the Huelva-based company was investing in its brand to ensure consumers ate more fresh berries.
  19. Marketing strategies and ways to connect from @cunadeplatero, great example from an #Spanish company #GBC2016 👏👍🍓🍓🍓
  20. Educating consumer at point of sale is key to boosting berry sales, said SanLucar’s Holger Brandt, as this is where 70 per cent of people make their purchasing decision.

    Brandt claimed it was tough to convince retailers to go along with SanLucar’s in-store marketing strategy at the beginning, but once they saw how it could increase sales revenue they were convinced.
  21. Global Berry Congress used an interactive system for the first time, one which allowed delegates to submit questions online and vote in polls that were posted by the organiser, Eurofruit.
  22. Our interactive system worked great at #GBC2016. See Q2 - the ‘upside-down camel is born. It’s a blueberry thing! 
  23. Visitors to this year's Global Berry Congress also benefited from an enlarged expo in the event's networking area, offering delegates the opportunity to learn more about the range of technologies and services on offer to companies in the berry business.
  24. On this year's study tours, delegates heard that the University of Wageningen’s flavour model for strawberries is improving all the time, helping marketers deliver the right tastes and aromas to consumers, according to researcher Caroline Labrie.
  25. Dutch joint venture Delphy is running a small-scale trial to grow strawberries under LED lighting at its innovation centre in Bleiswijk. The idea is to extend the Dutch season for quality strawberries into the winter and reduce northern Europe’s dependency on imports.

    The use of substrates in soft fruit production could cut labour costs by as much as 50 per cent, said Legro, one of Europe’s leading substrate providers.
  26. #GBC2016 Study tour to Legro's substrate facility in Helmond. The future of blueberry cultivation?
    #GBC2016 Study tour to Legro's substrate facility in Helmond. The future of blueberry cultivation?
  27. Some berries growers in Rotterdam we have visited today with our delegates thanks to @Legro_Potgrond #GBC2016
  28. Those attending the GBC2016 study tours were treated to several supermarket tours, including visits to Jumbo, Marqt, La Fourchette, Albert Heijn XL and Ecoplaza.
  29. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Globus Gourmet was selling these raspberries for 7100 roubles per kilo. That's more than US$100!
  30. Moscow's most absurd supermarket globus gourmet. This punnet of raspberries is nearly £40!
    Moscow's most absurd supermarket globus gourmet. This punnet of raspberries is nearly £40!
  31. More news from Global Berry Congress 2016 will be published in the May 2016 issue of Eurofruit, so subscribe now to receive your copy
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