Over 200 delegates from 17 different countries converged on Nyami Berries Estate in South Africa for the OZblu Grower’s Conference in late July.
Guests included local and international growers, retailers and importers, as well as agricultural product and service suppliers.
In welcoming delegates to the conference, Roger Horak, co-founder and global CEO of OZblu and United Exports, outlined his vision for Ozblu blueberries moving forward.
“We want OZblu blueberries to become the benchmark around the world: the preferred blueberry in the berries category and acknowledged by consumers and customers alike for our quality, consistency and great taste.”
Taking the delegates on a world-wide blueberry tour of stats and facts, Duncan Forbes, commercial director of United Experts, said blueberry consumption around the globe is growing, with Asia, and in particular China, showing the most potential.
“The blueberry category is still growing at double digits in developed markets, and growing by 5 per cent in the largest market, the US,” Forbes explained.
Andres De Witt from Chilean grower Lafrut stressed the key to capturing this enormous opportunity was through a quality over quantity approach when it came to new plantings.
“Chile is still one of the biggest producers of blueberries in the world,” De Witt explained. “Without a proper focus on variety renewal, the currently planted varieties are fast becoming obsolete. Our biggest challenge is in varietal change as our marketing window is being compressed.”
Within this changing market environment, Horak feels OZblu is well positioned.
“We have enough varieties to become the leader we envisage, and we are able to deliver a consistent product over a twelve-month period – a product that is crunchy and bursting with flavour,” he says.