Kasey Cronquist, president USHBC and NABC, tells Fruitnet that US production volumes will remain stable this year, with pricing and demand favourable

The blueberry market in the US is exhibiting strong growth, with the category benefiting from “passionate and dedicated” consumers.

US blueberries closeup Adobe

That is the verdict of Kasey Cronquist, president of the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC).

Speaking to Fruitnet, Cronquist said that there was a slight reduction in overall supply when compared to this time last year.

”As the domestic season commences in the US, we should expect to witness an increase in demand, resulting in more favourable pricing than the previous year,” he explained. ”Our reports indicate that US-grown blueberries are currently obtaining the highest pricing in the market as of week 15.”

According to the latest reports shared by growers during the Blueberry Convention held in Tucson, domestic US blueberry production is forecast to remain stable this year.

”Growers are projecting the volume of blueberries to be just over 700m pounds this season, which is an increase compared to the 2023 season,” Cronquist confirmed.

Consumption of the fruit is trending upwards, he continued, driven by a ”dedicated and passionate consumer base”.

”As the production of blueberries increases, so does the consumption. However, in 2023, there was a decrease in production, causing the average fob pricing to increase by around $0.20 per pound. This situation highlights the strong demand for blueberries, especially when the supply is low.”

There is plenty of room for further growth, with a household panel study conducted by SPINS last year showing that only 49 per cent of US households consume blueberries.

On average, each household consumed just 6.4 pounds of blueberries annually, the study revealed, but despite this the fruit is already ranked as the second-highest fruit sales by dollars in the country.

”As production levels increase both onshore and offshore, particularly in countries like Peru and Mexico, the blueberry category is expected to continue growing and may even surpass other fruits to become the top-selling fruit in the US,” Cronquist commented.

In terms of exports, he said that the USHBC was aiming to promote blueberries as the world’s favourite fruit by empowering the industry.

Asia remains an attractive prospect for further growth, with programmes in place to boost awareness of US-grown blueberries.

”We work closely with our growers and exporters across the United States to promote the Grab A Boost of Blue programme and USA blueberries in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, China, and India,” Cronquist outlined.

”Recently, the USHBC conducted a study that revealed Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan were the top three export opportunities for USA blueberries (excluding Canada and Mexico).”