Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 73

2012

World Blueberry
Acreage & Production
February, 2013

By Cort Brazelton

2013

North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 3 of 76

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................... 4
Methods and Objectives: ..................................................................................................................................... 5
Themes and Megatrends for 2012 ...................................................................................................................... 7
North America ...................................................................................................................................................... 9
South America ..................................................................................................................................................... 25
Europe .................................................................................................................................................................. 34
Mediterranean & North Africa ......................................................................................................................... 45
Southern Africa ................................................................................................................................................... 48
Asia & The Pacific .............................................................................................................................................. 49
The Pacific ........................................................................................................................................................... 50
Asia ....................................................................................................................................................................... 52
Global Highbush Blueberries............................................................................................................................ 59
Global Wild/Lowbush Blueberries .................................................................................................................. 64
Global Crop: All Highbush and Wild Blueberries Combined ..................................................................... 66
Global Figures: Global Overview of Key Data.............................................................................................. 68
Predictions: Global Highbush Crop Predictions ........................................................................................... 70
Conclusions ......................................................................................................................................................... 73

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 4 of 76

Introduction
The greatest challenge in generating this years report, especially when attempting to effectively forecast
what we as participants in the blueberry world can anticipate, is keeping up with the rate of change in the
industry. The pace of change in global blueberry consumption and production makes it extremely difficult
to use todays or yesterdays perspective to effectively predict tomorrows reality. Global consumption
patterns, technology, logistics, production trends are all in rapid flux and transition.
There are many examples of this challenge playing out in recent years. One poignant example is the
supply/demand relationship. We as an industry have been consistently wrong in predictions about
price and demand curves because of a tendency to use past consumption patterns to predict the
interface with tomorrows anticipated production. History is generally the most valuable tool for
predicting the future, but this can also be a dangerous exercise.
For the last ten years, any effort to compare the future production curves to current demand led most to
conclude that disaster was on the horizon. Yet this did not come to fruition. Why?
The reality is that consumption is changing as fast if not faster than the supply side. There is no
evidence yet that this will change.
Example Chile today is developing a processed industry. Many in the industry have predicted this trend
and also forecast that this product would compete with North Americas processed production. The first
part of this prediction has proven to be true. Chile now has a processed industry. But the second
assumption is beginning to show some flaws. Chile is indeed becoming a player in the processed industry,
but the market for the product is global. North America represents a potential customer, but the Asian and
European markets are just as attractive if not more interesting for the Chilean processors. Predictions on
supply side trends have generally been accurate in the case of Chile, while projections for the market
dynamics have largely missed the mark.
Highlights and the 1 Billion Pounds Mark
2012 marks the first year that the global blueberry industry produced over 1 Billion lbs. of Highbush
blueberries, both fresh and processed. Blueberries reached new market and consumption channels in 2012
with the launch of fresh blueberries in McDonalds oatmeal, advertised and featured nationally in the US
(kudos to Naturipe). Per capita consumption has increased in traditional blueberry markets and new
markets continue to discover blueberries. Some new markets are starting to hit their stride and blueberries
are becoming a must have item for many consumers. Demand is finally starting to grow in mainland
Europe and Asia, especially Germany, China and South Korea. People everywhere have discovered
blueberries. Acreage continues to grow in most existing regions and is being planted in new frontiers.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 5 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Considering the Japanese Blueberry Industry: The Japanese blueberry industry has undergone unique
hardship in the last 2 years. The earthquake in the Tohoku region followed by the Tsunami and nuclear
meltdown at the Fukushima power plant had a devastating impact on many growers and their families and
friends. Our thoughts go out to them as they seek to recover from this disaster.

Please note, all production and acreage data in this report are provided in pounds and acres. For
metric references, there are approximately 2.47 acres in a Hectare and 2.204 pounds per Kilogram.
Disclaimer: Collecting, synthesizing and presenting data on a sector as diverse and dynamic as the global
blueberry industry begs for a disclaimer, or perhaps more appropriately, a request for forgiveness. Without
a doubt there are regions with commercial acreage and production that have been neglected in this report.
The acreage and production figures provided vary widely from very accurate to simplistic best guesses and
originate mostly from individuals and parties active in those regions, as they tend to represent the most
reliable sources. The data and analysis presented in this document is therefore not intended to portray
precise snapshots of what is in the ground and what was produced, but rather to draw attention to trends,
both macro and micro in scale, in order to achieve a better understanding of where the blueberry industry
has been, where it is today and ultimately to speculate as to where it is going. The author requests
understanding for any omissions, errors and other weaknesses in this report.

Methods and Objectives:


Industry Experts
Key Contributors: The following contributors made especially important contributions to this report in
the form of data and industry intelligence. In some cases they are quoted, in others generally referenced.
Their willingness to provide information, thoughts and reflections are what makes creating this report
worthwhile and what delivers the greatest value to those who rely on this document to help guide their
decision making. A special thanks to those who made these special contributions both anonymously and
publicly. The following people have made significant contributions to this years report and have agreed to
be mentioned. I would like to express sincere gratitude for your help!
Andrea Pergher

Andres Armstrong

Antonio Alamo Bermudo

Brian Bocock

Brian Caster

Cal Lewis

Claudio Rodgers

David Brazelton

Dave Trinka

Dollar Qian

Debbie Etsell

Denny Doyle

Federico Beltran Molina

Fernando Munzi

Greg Furniss

Holger Brandt

Jerry DAmore

Joe Leduc

Jorge Andres Varela

Leon Driesven

Dr. Li Yadong

Manuel Romero

Mario Flores

Mark Villata

Narandra Patel

Yaman Ozkan

Pedro Carrasco

Patricio Tellechea

Peter McPherson

Ridley Bell

Rod Cook

Shaopeng Chen

Sonia Dierking

Dr. Stanislaw Pluta

Steven Taylor

Dr. Takato Tamada

Taku Inoue

Thomas Payne

Todd Mauritz

Trevor Mckenzie

Winn Morgan
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 6 of 76

Anonymous Contributors: For reasons of confidentiality and/or privacy, some contributors requested
anonymity. Their willingness to provide data, insight and intelligence was invaluable. Thank you for your
contributions.
Industry Organizations: Increasingly, growers, service providers and handlers from production regions
around the world are forming organizations to share information, promote consumption, track production
and address issues pertinent to their realities. Blueberry committees and organizations can now be found
on every continent and in most major growing areas. Data and intelligence from these groups, both
published and provided upon request, has been vital to the generation of this report. Thank you to these
organizations for their help and support, and their service to the industry.
Media: The quality of media reporting on the blueberry industry has improved in recent years. Although
many trade publications still tend toward general treatment of basic market issues, there are new sources of
information, largely online, which are beginning to focus on issues and stories which interest the industry.
Fresh Fruit Portal/Portal Fruticola based in Santiago and Fresh Plaza have proven particularly useful in the
pursuit of quality industry intelligence and leads on trends and data.
Surveys: Targeted surveys were sent to industry members around the world to collect acreage data,
production data and intelligence. Rather than broadcasting a form survey as in previous years, more time
was spent targeting each source and the areas of their expertise. Thank you to the many contributors who
took the time to fill out surveys and provide their input.
Interviews with Industry Leaders: There is no replacement for person to person interviews. Thanks to
technology, extended interviews are now possible not only over the phone but in video conference and
through voice over internet protocol. The information shared in these conversations and interviews were
invaluable to improving the amount of key intelligence available to the industry via this report. Care has
been given to not disclose sensitive information that is meant to remain private. Thank you to all who took
their time to be interviewed and particularly their willingness to be open and share their knowledge,
experience and insights.
USDA FAS: In addition to helping US agricultural companies abroad, the FAS can be an excellent source
of information on what is happening abroad in an industry. Thank you to the FAS contributors to the
project.
Interviews with Buyers and End Users: Without the input of the final purchasers who deliver the
product to the consumer and have a significant impact on decisions regarding products, promotion and
pricing, to name a few, this report would be incomplete. As a result, buyers for supermarkets, consultants
in marketing, food companies, and other purchasers were interviewed to ensure their perspective and input
was included. Special thank you to those who help get our product to consumers and a willingness to take
the time to share insights.
Consumers: Though not performed on an organized level in consumer research groups and consumer
attitude surveys, this author made a continuous concerted effort during frequent travels in North America
and abroad to discuss and interview regular consumers about their awareness, opinions and interest in
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 7 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

blueberries. Their responses corresponded surprisingly well with the information provided by participants
on the supply side of the business in the market.
Format
Readers of previous reports will note a simplified structure in this years document. Generally, the
compartmentalization by geography will continue and be followed by global overviews. New sections will
be added providing addition information in figures, and special narrative sections will be added when
deemed appropriate.
Geographies: Compartmentalization by geography will stay the same consisting of North America (with
Mexico and Central America included in N. America), South America, Southern Africa, Europe, the
Mediterranean and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
Southern Hemisphere Data: As the 2012/13 season in the southern hemisphere is still underway in most
countries, the hard data available is from the previous year. Therefore southern hemisphere countries have
their 2011/12 data collected, while narratives address both their 2011/12 season and the 2012/13 season to
date when this report was published.
Large Production Regions: Each section evaluating core production geographies will follow a standard
format: Data Review, Production and Acreage, Review Summary, Regional Overview, any applicable
narrative summary or conclusions, and a review of trends for the region.
Smaller Producing Regions will be given a general review.

Themes and Megatrends for 2012


Consumption and Demand Increasingly Global:

o Production is growing in new and existing growing regions


o Consumption is growing in new and existing markets
Global Production Growth Accelerating:
o Acres planted in the last decade are coming into production and beginning to realize their
potential
o Fresh and Process volumes have grown rapidly
New Uses Driving Consumption Increase:
o New products and packaged goods using blueberries continue to be introduced
o Arrival of new products in the fresh ready to eat (RTE) category are beginning to reach the
market, often reaching new consumers
Food Safety and Traceability:
o Becoming a deal-breaker in the market place, especially with food service, packaged foods
companies, and leading handlers and retailers
o Trend is beginning to divide weak from strong, professionals from amateurs

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 8 of 76

Labor Worldwide:
o Issue is not isolated to US and Europe labor availability is increasingly a challenge in
developing countries as well as the developed world its a global issue
o Many different attempted solutions to the issue (Canada vs. US vs. EU vs. Chile)
o Labor issues helping to drive growth in new production regions as the crop migrates to
parts of the world where labor is still comparatively more available (the move to Mexico
and new developments in Peru and Morocco is not just driven by timing and costs, its
driven by labor availability)
Drive For Mechanization:
o Increasing eagerness in many regions to mechanize fresh harvest, even when there are
considerable barriers due to crop shrinkage and quality issues
o Driven by labor concerns
o New technologies and varieties reportedly leaving beta stage
Pests Go Global:
o SWD (Spotted Wing Drosophila) now in Europe, North America and Asia
o Widespread desire for coordinated global effort on SWD
Free Trade and Market Access:
o Market access, tariff reduction and promotion critical to continued industry growth
o Chile leading the global industry
o US comparatively behind on increasing international trade in its crop and securing market
access
o BC industry keen on shipping to India
o Establish beach heads a common theme in interviews
Professionalization and Scale:
o Rate of professionalization in the blueberry industry observed to be increasing as
blueberries become a high value commodity crop and leave the niche stage
o Established companies in the business are growing rapidly and achieving scale previously
unprecedented note recent mergers and acquisitions
o Newcomers to the business are under pressure to grow and partner much faster than
historical norms in order to compete with established players
Information Availability:
o Market data in real time is increasingly available to participants all along the supply chain
o Data driven decisions increasingly common in promotions, new products and marketing
efforts
o Communication and awareness of key issues is more rapid and more frequent
o Producers increasingly empowered by availability of information
o Use of new technology permeating agriculture as in any other industry

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 9 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

North America
Data Review:
North America had another record harvest in 2012 both in Highbush Blueberries and in Lowbush (see
Wild/Lowbush section). The following points are worth considering when reviewing these data below:

North America is the worlds largest production region, representing roughly 60% of the global
Highbush crop

North Americas total production, fresh and process, has grown by an average of 20% every
two years since 2008

Both Fresh and Process volumes grew significantly


North Americas acreage has increased 74% between 2005 and 2012 from 71,075 acres to
123,635 total acres

Fresh has led growth, while process has also increased


Western and Southeast regions lead in production and acreage growth
Western Region in 2012 represented more than half of North Americas production
Western production nearly doubled between 2008 and 2012 and is growing by a range of
40-50% every year

Western acreage more than doubled between 2005 through 2012, growing by 133%
Western fresh vs. process diversions remains at or near a 60%-40% balance, with fresh leading
Michigan and Midwest crop down considerably from previous years primarily due to weather
Midwestern fresh diversion down in 2012 due to weather challenges
Midwestern acreage has expanded by 20% since 2005
Northeastern production is steady, increases are gradual, and annual variations more dependent on
weather

Northeastern process production increasing


Northeast acreage increases limited due to land availability
Southeast is second largest production region after the west
Southeastern production increased by 60% between 2008 and 2010 and by 17% between 2010
and 2012

Southeast 2010-2012 production volume increase was diverted almost entirely to process
Southeast acreage increased by 77% between 2005 and 2012
Georgias rapid growth continued
Mexico and C. America is the smallest but most rapidly growing region of North America
Mexico production grew from an estimated 2 to 12.5 million pounds between 2008 and 2012
Mexico is fresh focused
Mexico acreage grew by over 1600% between 2005 and 2012 from 180 to over 3,000 acres

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 10 of 76

Production and Acreage: (Denominated in Millions of Pounds and Acres)


North American Highbush production figures are based on the fall 2012 NABC reports with some additional modifications
to reflect other industry intelligence and analysis of USDA Cold Storage data.
North American Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
NORTH AMERICA
GROWTH

Acreage

2012 Production

2005

2007

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

13,000

17,500

18,300

21,020

25,500

50.0

65.0

115.0

Washington

2,815

3,982

5,678

8,820

11,360

35.0

36.0

71.0

Oregon

4,410

5,516

6,234

7,458

8,840

40.0

35.0

75.0

California

2,370

3,949

5,120

5,790

6,985

34.0

6.9

40.9

22,595

30,947

35,332

43,088

52,685

159.0

142.9

301.9

18,500

19,300

21,200

21,450

22,100

28.2

52.0

80.2

Indiana

850

850

900

950

990

1.4

0.2

1.6

Others

1,055

1,275

1,300

1,450

1,550

1.9

1.9

Midwest

20,405

21,425

23,400

23,850

24,640

31.5

52.2

83.7

New Jersey

7,500

7,900

7,960

8,120

8,170

46.0

9.0

55.0

New York

1,000

1,050

1,100

1,200

1,250

1.8

1.8

E. Canada

1,230

1,150

1,200

1,260

1,300

2.3

2.3

300

300

300

320

1.2

0.1

1.3

9,730

10,400

10,560

10,880

11,040

51.3

9.1

60.4

1,800

3,200

3,450

3,950

4,200

16.0

3.0

19.0

350

530

550

550

550

0.5

0.5

Miss./Louisiana

2,140

2,500

3,300

3,850

4,000

3.3

5.0

8.3

Georgia

7,500

9,120

11,000

12,800

14,200

36.0

35.0

71.0

North Carolina

5,500

6,000

6,200

6,800

7,500

30.0

10.0

40.0

875

950

1,000

1,050

1,250

2.0

0.1

2.1

Others

450

500

0.3

0.3

Southern

18,165

22,300

25,500

29,450

32,200

88.1

53.1

141.2

Northern Mexico

60

180

260

295

650

2.8

2.8

Southern Mexico

120

350

530

1,350

2,400

9.5

0.2

9.7

15

15

18

20

0.1

0.1

180

545

805

1,663

3,070

12.3

0.2

12.5

71,075

85,617

British Columbia

Western
Michigan

Nova Scotia
Northeast
Florida
Arkansas

Texas

Guatemala
Mexico & Cen. Am.

North America

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

95,597 108,931 123,635 342.2

257.4 599.6

Page 11 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

By Region: North American Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop


NORTH AMERICA

Acreage

GROWTH TOTALS

2012 Production

2005

2007

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

Western

22,595

30,947

35,332

43,088

52,685

159.0

142.9

301.9

Midwest

20,405

21,425

23,400

23,850

24,640

31.5

52.2

83.7

Northeast

9,730

10,400

10,560

10,880

11,040

51.3

9.1

60.4

Southern

18,165

22,300

25,500

29,450

32,200

88.1

53.1

141.2

180

545

805

1,663

3,070

12.3

0.2

12.5

71,075

85,617

95,597

108,931

123,635

342.2

Mexico & Cen. Am.

North America

257.4 599.6

North American Production Growth


NORTH AMERICAN PRODUCTION GROWTH
Western
Midwestern
Northeastern
Southern
Mexico & Central Am.
Total Production

1995
56.4
70.8
33.0
35.4
0.0

1997
55.4
75.5
33.8
30.0
0.0

1999
74.9
72.8
35.8
43.6
0.0

2001
86.6
71.5
45.9
41.9
0.0

2003
81.2
63.0
55.2
46.2
0.0

2005 2007 2008 2010 2012


95.1 162.6 163.6 213.3 301.9
75.1 93.6 114.1 104.9 83.7
70.2 54.8 60.7 47.2 60.4
61.6 45.9 75.2 120.9 141.2
0.2
1.0
2.2
5.0 12.5

195.6 194.7 227.1 245.9 245.6 302.2 357.9 415.8 491.3 599.6

North American Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012


NORTH AMERICA
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

35.00

75.00

56.00

34.00

90.00

50.00

65.00

115.00

6.50

23.50

30.00

12.00

30.00

42.00

35.00

36.00

71.00

Oregon

18.00

26.60

44.60

25.80

27.50

53.30

40.00

35.00

75.00

California

13.00

1.00

14.00

27.00

1.00

28.00

34.00

6.90

40.90

77.5

86.1

163.6

120.8

92.5

213.3

159.0

142.9

301.9

65.00 110.00

49.50

49.50

99.00

28.20

52.00

80.20

Washington

Western
Michigan

Process

40.00

2012 Production

Total

British Columbia

Fresh

2010 Production

45.00

Total

Indiana

2.30

1.50

3.80

2.70

1.30

4.00

1.40

0.20

1.60

Others

0.30

0.30

1.90

1.90

1.90

1.90

Midwest

47.6

66.5

114.1

54.1

50.8

104.9

31.5

52.2

83.7

46.00

8.00

54.00

32.00

8.00

40.00

46.00

9.00

55.00

New York

2.20

0.10

2.30

2.20

0.10

2.30

1.80

1.80

E. Canada

3.00

0.10

3.10

3.80

0.10

3.90

2.30

2.30

Nova Scotia

1.00

0.25

1.25

1.00

1.00

1.20

0.05

1.25

52.2

8.5

60.7

39.0

8.2

47.2

51.3

9.1

60.4

New Jersey

Northeast

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

NORTH AMERICA
PRODUCTION

2008 Production
Fresh

Process

Florida

9.00

Arkansas

1.50

Miss./Louisiana

Page 12 of 76
2010 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

9.00

15.00

0.80

15.80

16.00

3.00

19.00

1.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

1.90

1.80

3.70

3.00

4.50

7.50

3.30

5.00

8.30

Georgia

16.00

15.00

31.00

36.00

20.00

56.00

36.00

35.00

71.00

North Carolina

20.00

8.50

28.50

27.50

11.50

39.00

30.00

10.00

40.00

1.50

1.50

1.50

1.50

2.00

0.10

2.10

Others

0.60

0.60

0.30

0.30

Southern

49.9

25.3

75.2

84.1

36.8

120.9

88.1

53.1

141.2

Northern Mexico

0.50

0.50

0.75

0.75

2.75

2.75

Southern Mexico

1.60

1.60

4.20

4.20

9.50

0.15

9.65

Guatemala

0.10

0.10

0.05

0.05

0.05

0.05

2.2

2.2

5.0

5.0

12.3

0.2

12.5

229.4

186.4

188.3 491.3 342.2

257.4

599.6

Texas

Mexico & Cen. Am.

North America

Total

2012 Production

415.8 303.0

Total

North American Production & Use Comparison by Region: 2008 - 2012


NORTH AMERICA
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Western

77.5

86.1

163.6

120.8

92.5

213.3

159.0

142.9

301.9

Midwest

47.6

66.5

114.1

54.1

50.8

104.9

31.5

52.2

83.7

Northeast

52.2

8.5

60.7

39.0

8.2

47.2

51.3

9.1

60.4

Southern

49.9

25.3

75.2

84.1

36.8

120.9

88.1

53.1

141.2

2.2

2.2

5.0

5.0

12.3

0.2

12.5

Mexico & Cen. Am.

North America

229.4

186.4 415.8 303.0

188.3 491.3 342.2

257.4 599.6

2012 North America Overview:


The weather leading in to North Americas spring was anything but normal, with patchy freezes across the
lower southeast (see southeast section below) and a highly advanced Michigan crop due to abnormally early
warm weather in late winter and early spring. With an early finish to the Chilean season and disruptions in
the lower southeastern crop, there was a product flow disruption that some contributors faulted for lower
pricing during the early Southern Highbush deal. By May however, fresh pricing was on fire as John
Shelford put it in his July 27 report. North American fresh volume was 40% up from 2011, but prices hit
record highs posting average 12x12 pint prices of $18-22 during the traditional peak volume weeks of July.
A major contributing factor to this hot market was the lack of any significant overlap between the major
producing regions. New Jersey and Michigan were both weeks earlier than normal years, and the Pacific
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 13 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Northwest was somewhat later than average. The lack of overlap between the different regions in the 2012
season kept volumes reasonably metered despite a record crop. Fresh demand in 2012 was truly
unprecedented with record volumes and pricing accompanied by new uses as well.
Drought hitting the US, particularly the Midwest, undoubtedly played a role in the demand for fresh
blueberries as well, according to multiple contributors. With a short Midwest blueberry crop and also
importantly, the lack of home garden bounty and local
North America Acreage Increases
produce supply in many regions of the country
increased the demand for produce from regions less
affected by the climate issues. The drought
undoubtedly played a role in high fresh prices not just
for blueberries, but most all high value produce items
in 2012. The quality issues caused by the drought also
invariably pushed fruit with quality issues into the
processed channel.
The processed market was less buoyant in 2012 as the season began with higher inventories and an
apparent market hangover from the high prices that producers and sellers demanded in 2011. The lack of
any clarity of frozen market pricing led most processed packers to avoid posting firm dock prices. It was
not uncommon for packers to offer a small installment upon reception of a growers fruit with a
commitment to work in good faith to achieve good returns for the grower when buyers actually began
purchasing and receiving product. The impact of the 2012 processed market instability marked a new
paradigm a refusal of packers to carry all of the inventory and pricing risk in an unsure processed
market. This dynamic played out particularly strong in Michigan and the Pacific Northwest, the
primary processed growing regions. During the 2012 season, coffee shop conversations indicated that
less fruit would go to the processor. However, with weather issues in many growing regions such as rains
in the Southeast and drought in the Midwest and significant capacity issues playing out in the Pacific
Northwest, the frozen inventories grew considerably. When the dust settled after the season, there were
record volumes in cold storage.
SWD: The spotted winged drosophila continued to cause issues in 2012 with growers scrambling to
control populations. Early efforts are underway in the USHBC to take a more coordinated industry effort
to combat the pest, and other industries are also beginning similar efforts. Concerns about the arrival of
this pest were voiced widely by North American contributors to this report.
Fresh RTE Blueberries at McDonalds: A major milestone was passed in 2012 with the introduction of
fresh RTE (ready to eat) summer blueberries to the McDonalds breakfast line up throughout the US.
Thanks to efforts by Naturipe, a new channel in the food service industry is being opened up not just for
processed blueberries, but new creative fresh products that didnt exist a few years ago. Many contributors
believe this landmark development did more than move additional volume during the summer months.
With a nationwide television, road sign and promotional campaign featuring the fresh blueberries at
McDonalds, it is widely believed that the increased awareness of blueberries caused by the McDonalds
Blitz immediately increased demand and consumption throughout all sectors of the industry. Also worth
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 14 of 76

noting is the delivery of fresh blueberries to a group of consumers who do not represent the traditional
demographic of blueberry consumers. The program increased blueberry awareness during peak season,
moved more product and delivered blueberries to new consumers.
The West
As mentioned in the data review above, the Western States and BC now represent half of the North
American Highbush blueberry production. The west has accomplished this milestone with only 40% of the
acreage of North America. Average yields have shown to be higher in the west and also less variable than
other regions, due in large part to a more predictable climate and higher investments in inputs and in crop
2012 North American Highbush
Production - Western Region

2012 North American Highbush


Acreage Growth - Western Region

protection. Taking into account these realities and the additional fact that much of the acreage in western
North America is still young, any forecast clearly reflects that the Western Region of North America is now
and is likely to continue to be the largest Highbush blueberry production region in the world.
California
Although growth has slowed in California, it has not halted in the Golden State. Growth in acreage slowed
significantly starting in 2008 with the global financial crisis, labor availability and above all water limiting
growers abilities to expand. The production increases experienced since 2008 largely reflect the acreage
boom concentrated between 2004 through 2008, during which period the acreage of California more than
doubled. Competing with North Carolina and Georgia on costs and freight has been a challenge some
years in the east coast market, although there have been some inroads.
New growth in California has been led by a more concentrated group of growers and companies, primarily
existing players focused on expansion. Their main play has been on earlier southern varieties and in new
production systems. The vast majority of this more recent growth has specifically been in early low chill
Southern Highbush blueberries, both in publicly available and private genetics, in the San Joaquin valley
and new coastal California evergreening production. These developments have brought California into
the market much earlier than just a few years ago, and this trend looks set to continue.
The processed option has also come to play a role in the previously fresh only industry. As the crop has
grown, quality demands have increased alongside the challenges in labor. This, as well as changes in pricing
vs. harvest cost dynamics, has meant the processed channel has become part of the California business

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 15 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

model. Though much smaller than the states to the north, California did make contributions to the
processed Highbush market in 2011 and 2012.
Pacific Northwest
2012 marked the year the Pacific Northwest surpassed 250 million lbs. of blueberry production. This
represents one quarter of the worlds total Highbush volume. The steady and rapid growth in the region
has been driven by many factors a leadership position in the IQF industry, higher average yields, market
recognition for quality especially in processed fruit, more predictable weather, good land and water, the
entry of large professional tree fruit companies from Central Washington, the lack of alternative crops and
other drivers mentioned in this and previous reports. These advantages and dynamics aside, the Northwest
has grown fast and is experiencing some growing pains. The 2012 season saw the concerns about packing
and processing capacity finally start to catch up with the industry.
Packing Capacity: There are indications across the country that packing capacity is not keeping up with
the increases in volume. The most standout example of this issue is in the Pacific Northwest. The
limitations of current packing and processing infrastructure stood out most during Duke season in
Oregon, Washington and BC with many packers turning volume away or fruit waiting much longer than is
ideal to be packed or processed. This trend is anticipated to continue before it improves for a number of
reasons. The first is simple: many growers have increased acreage without clear plans for packing, let alone
marketing their fruit. The issue is compounded by the absence of significant capacity expansion among
leading packers. Interviews with these packers reveal a major driver for lack of increased capacity the lack
of fidelity among the grower base which may or may not deliver fruit. In a processed and fresh industry
still dominated by the old habits of dock prices whereby the packer assumes the market risk by purchasing
fruit from the growers and growers shop price, it is difficult for a receiver to truly anticipate what type of
volume will move through their facilities in the future. This misalignment of incentives creates a number of
other distorting influences, such as delays in adopting critical food safety and traceability protocols and a
focus solely on yields rather than yields and quality in some cases. Vertical integration and a move away
from outside growers is becoming increasingly common, and a number of companies with more aligned
commission based models are growing. Many packers, shippers and receivers have chosen to increase
wholly owned, partnership and controlled acreage to address this issue which brings into question the
longevity of the business model of independent and non-aligned growers throughout the northwest. This
problematic dynamic does not apply to all cases. Capacity was the bottleneck in 2012 in the Northwest,
however the reasons for the bottleneck are clearly more imbedded in the traditional business model now
being challenged by models more aligned with the market and systems which ultimately deliver what
consumers are looking for. This issue is playing out strongest in the Northwest but is also underway in
much of North America.
The states of Oregon and Washington had records in 2012. With both states producing over 70 million
lbs. and a combined production of estimated 147 million lbs., they form along with BC the largest
blueberry producing block in the world. Historically processed blueberry focused, both states have made
considerable strides in becoming fresh market players. Indeed, 2012 was the first year that Washington
States fresh production was near on par with its processed production. Processed production has also

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 16 of 76

continued to increase in the Northwestern states while fresh production growth has been break-neck. As
the current industry leaders in IQF processed blueberry production and marketing, and becoming rising
players in fresh blueberries, these two states along with BC are poised for continued growth. Much of the
acreage in these states is young.
The leading growth regions in these states can be found in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Skagit and
Whatcom counties in the Northwest of Washington and the newer growing regions of Central Washington.
Much of the growth in Northwestern Washington is driven by both local growers and vertically integrated
grower/packer/shippers, as well as crossover from growers in British Colombia seeking more affordable
and available land. The growth in the tree fruit growing regions of central Washington is led primarily by
professional growers of apples, cherries and other intensive fruit crops who, seeing opportunities in
blueberries, have expanded to scales which in some cases dwarf those of their neighbors to the west of the
Cascades. The Willamette Valley of Oregon, with a long history in berries, continues to grow rapidly with
new plantings by existing growers, new growers leaving less desirable crops and outside growers and
investors from other regions of the country.
British Colombia retains the largest growing state or province by acreage in North America and the
largest single producer by volume, now surpassing Michigan. Productivity in BC remains comparatively
low versus its neighbors to the south, but with young acreage coming into production it is anticipated to
continue to increase in production, albeit at a slower pace than Oregon and Washington. Although acreage
growth has been rapid in BC, there are challenges to continued expansion. Urban encroachment is an
increasing issue in BC farming regions, and land prices are some of the highest in North America for
blueberry ground. In 2012 there was a coordinated effort by local residents in many BC communities to
ban bird cannons used to prevent bird damage during harvest season. This is just one example of the
impact of urban encroachment on the BC farming industry and the increasing difficulty in growing the
industry there.
BC growers are very concerned about SWD in their fields and more equally worried about returns in the
2012 season. Expectations among growers in BC are high and lower pricing down from the highs of 2011
raised unease among growers. Market access to both China and India is an area of focus for the BC
industry, and with production increases anticipated, the BC Blueberry Growers Association is hopeful to
obtain funding to pursue these export markets and expand promotion. Packing capacity, especially during
Duke season was, as mentioned above, an issue in 2012 as well.
A bright spot in British Colombia vis--vis its southern neighbor is the availability of labor solutions. With
limited local labor, the BC blueberry industry benefits from functional agricultural labor policies of the
Canadian government which allow growers to legitimately bring in labor from other countries for harvest
and for more extended work when needed as well. Some contributors pointed out that Canadas
immigration policy may be one of the great advantages of BC industry.
Oregon Fresh to South Korea: Worth noting for 2012 was Oregons first commercial activity in fresh
exports to South Korea, having obtained market access before the season. Although the protocols are not
simple, volumes are comparatively small, tariffs are an issue and local Korean growers are eager to

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 17 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

compete, market access for fresh blueberries to Korea for the state of Oregon marks a milestone in
growing exports for the west (see below on exports).
Rate of New Variety Adoption: The Pacific Northwest has clearly taken the lead in adopting new
genetics among higher chill growing regions. Many fields of the newer Michigan State University varieties
Draper, Liberty and Aurora came into mature production in 2012 with Draper in particular standing out for
its ease of harvest and large high quality firm berries. With new varieties from public and private programs
being introduced and planted commercially in 2013, the Pacific Northwest looks poised to continue the
trend as the vanguard of adopting new varieties.
Pacific Rim Export Opportunities: With its geographic position conveniently located on the Pacific Rim,
its high yields, predictable crop, leadership in processed marketing, rate of new variety adoption and overall product quality, the Western Region of North America has unique advantages in the global export
market. This is particularly the case to Asia. The challenge for the west remains an issue of market access,
tariffs and promotion. With the Chinese market poised to be a world leader in blueberry demand in the
next decade as well as rapidly growing middle classes in highly populous markets such as India, Indonesia,
Taiwan and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, fresh market access is critical for continued growth. Tariffs are
often a challenge in countries where fresh market access has been obtained, a standout example being
South Korea where Chilean processed and fresh blueberries are subject to significantly lower duties and
tariffs than Oregon fresh and US processed blueberries. Beyond access and tariffs, coordinated promotion
efforts to increase awareness of blueberries, their health benefits and other opportunities in the crop are
critical to sustain and increase growth. Considering current projections for the western crop and the North
American crop in general, a focus on growing exports will be critical. Industry organizations such as
USHBC and NABC will need support to achieve these outcomes.
The Midwest
Michigan: The state of Michigan remains by far the largest producer in the Midwestern region and the
state itself has been a world leader in production volumes of both fresh and processed blueberries for many
decades. After the states of New Jersey and North Carolina, Michigan is one of the longest standing
production regions.
Acreage in Michigan has continued to grow incrementally. Replanting has also picked up in recent years as
acreage of older varieties such as Jersey are being replaced by newer cultivars such as Duke, Draper, Liberty
and Aurora. According to Dave Trinka, the varieties whose acreage increased since 2006 are Aurora,
Bluecrop, Bluejay, Draper, Duke, Elliott, Liberty, and Nelson. The state of Michigan does an excellent job
of tracking acreage and the variety distribution, making it possible to report actual variety distribution by
acreage. Jersey still remains the most widely grown cultivar and represents 31.6% of total acreage.
Meanwhile Bluecrop, Elliott, Rubel, and Duke follow with 26.3%, 16.5%, 7.2%, and 3.5%, respectively.
These five cultivars represent 85% of MI acreage.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 North American Highbush


Production - Midwestern Region

Page 18 of 76

2012 North American Highbush


Acreage Growth - Midwestern Region

The rate of replacement of the variety Jersey continues to increase, as growers seek to replant with more
productive varieties. Trinka reports that roughly 500 acres of Jersey were removed since 2003. Net acreage
increases occurred in most blueberry-producing counties throughout Michigan in 2012. Also noteworthy
in Michigan is the continued expansion of new blueberry plantings into more northerly locations in the
state. The amount of irrigated acres continues to increase and both drip and sprinkler systems are being
installed in the same blocks in recent years for improved irrigation and frost protection. Wind turbines
have also been installed on many farms, which adds to the percentage of MI acreage with freeze protection.
Organic and synthetic mulches and fertigation are being used on more acres than a few years ago, following
a common trend in other growing regions.
Michigans crop faced setbacks multiple times since a high mark year in 2008. The most recent weather
challenges in Michigan, reported above, stand out as a stark contrast to higher producing years.
Contributors reported increases in the establishment of frost protection systems throughout the state which
overtime look likely to improve the security and predictability of the crop. The difficult weather events of
2012 both reduced Michigans crop and also drastically reduced its position in the fresh market. The
drought of 2012 which most greatly impacted the central US, combined with intense summer heat pushed
the Michigan crop earlier and diverted much of the fresh crop to the process channel due to quality issues.
Despite production disruptions in recent years, Michigan growers increased acreage, replanting efforts and
investments in crop protection and improved management and production systems look poised to impact
long term production trends. John Shelford has publicly expressed a belief that Michigan could potentially
realize production in some years as high as 125 million lbs. The production potential of Michigan has
clearly increased along with other states, and bumper crop years are likely for the state in the near future.
Northeast
New Jersey: Similar to the Midwestern region, the Northeast is led by a single state, the founding region of
the Highbush blueberry industry New Jersey. Historically a fresh focused state with its close proximity to
the highest consuming markets on the northeastern seaboard, New Jersey has long dominated those
markets when in production. New Jersey blueberries are a call item among customers during the season.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 19 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 was reportedly a good year with good yields and high demand for fresh blueberries. The processed
industry in New Jersey, albeit smaller than many other growing regions and concentrated in very few hands,
continues to grow.
2012 North American Highbush
Production - Northeast Region

2012 North American Highbush


Acreage Growth - Northeast Region

Increasing acreage in New Jersey remains difficult as available land for blueberry production is reportedly
very limited. The vast majority of New Jerseys production increases over recent years have been driven by
the replanting of higher yielding varieties and the introduction of improved field management systems with
higher inputs.
Contributors interviewed indicated that machine harvest for fresh is becoming a critical tool in New Jersey
amid challenges in labor availability. The proximity to market of New Jersey makes this option more viable
than in other states, which is clearly a major competitive advantage for growers. There is also increased
interest in newer varieties being reported in New Jersey as growers seek to extend their season with higher
quality fruit after Duke harvest is finished. Varieties such as Bluecrop and Elliot are simply not well suited
to mechanization nor do they meet the quality demands of the market according to contributors, and the
need to deliver improved quality while addressing the labor issue remains a key focus.
Other producing states such as New York and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia and
Quebec have all reported incremental growth. Production in these areas is largely driven by more local
consumption with the exception of Nova Scotia, which retains a respected niche position as a producer of
high quality blueberries in the Northeastern marketplace.
Southeast
The 2012 season in the Southeast was preceded by some concern about the impact of cold weather. Late
winter freezes damaged the Florida crop north of I4 and in southeast Georgia. Most of the crop damage
was to Georgias Southern Highbush, which was destined for the fresh market. Rabbiteyes in Georgia
fared better and escaped much of the frost. Despite the difficult weather, both Georgia and Florida saw
production increases in 2012. North Carolina followed with an on par season with moderate volume
increases. The arrival of tropical storm Debbie in June of 2012 disrupted product flow considerably. The
heavy rains in the second half of the season upset harvest throughout the southeast. This was especially the
case in Georgia and North Carolina, pushing larger volumes into the processed channel with a higher
percentage of lower than A/B grade. These weather events help explain the significant diversion to
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 20 of 76

process despite the lack of clear market prices while fresh demand was high. Even with difficult weather,
the regions production increased due in large part to breakneck planting in recent years.
The explosive growth of acreage in the Southeastern US has been nothing short of incredible in the last
decade. With the amount of planted acreage more than doubling since 2003 in the Southeastern states, the
region is now the second largest in North America after the Western Region. The largest state and fastest
growing acreage by far is Georgia with nearly half of all 32,200 planted acres for the 7 states included in this
report. North Carolina, the historical founder of the region, remains the second largest producer and
possesses some of the highest yields in the region. Florida and Mississippi/Louisiana fill out the bulk of
the acreage for the region, although the yields in these two areas remain very low due to young acreage and
low input practices.
2012 North American Highbush
Production - Southern Region

2012 North American Highbush


Acreage Growth - Southern Region

Florida: Florida acreage targeting early spring production continues to grow steadily. The average grower
in Florida remains small, although a number of larger growers and farming companies have entered the
business in recent years and have come to represent a growing portion of the annual crop. Average yields
in Florida remain quite low due to difficult growing conditions and the prevalence of fields using
management systems that utilize less of the technology and inputs found in other competing regions. High
mortality due to high disease pressure and frequent disease transfer from vegetative propagation systems
has also limited yields, but also increased the rate of replanting. Florida growers remain some of the most
passionate in the pursuit of planting new varieties. Indeed it is very common for new varieties to be in very
high demand before they have been seen in small scale commercial production.
Georgia: The acreage and growth in the state of Georgia is notoriously difficult to track, as there is
currently no official survey of plantings, and production data is based on estimates. The industry would
benefit greatly from this exercise. All acreage and production data for the state of Georgia contained in this
report is based on best estimates by contributors and the averaging of those estimates when there are
discrepancies. Georgias offering in the North American market has been placed in 3 primary categories
with the early Southern Highbush playing a lead role in the fresh industry and the fresh Rabbitteyes and
processed Rabbiteyes representing the other two categories. Georgias Southern Highbush industry has
come to play a major role in the spring market of North America. In a normal year the Georgia Southern
Highbush crop follows Floridas crop to keep volumes steady. In some years when Florida is late and/or
Georgia early these overlaps can pose a challenge. Some contributors expressed concern about Georgias
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 21 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

continued planting of older Rabbiteye varieties. Georgia growers appear unlikely to change current
trajectories as returns remain attractive on their rabbiteye fields, and there are few other crops which offer
such a viable alternative. In summary, the state of Georgia has a strong position in the market and looks
likely to continue its position as the largest producer of blueberries in the Southeast led by its Rabbiteye
plantings.
North Carolina: North Carolina meanwhile looks to be undergoing a transition of its own as the regions
growers, many of whom are multi-generational and of a larger scale than the average in other states, seek to
expand their season and replant with new varieties while utilizing new production technologies proven in
other parts of the world. These new fields utilizing new genetics and modern production systems in North
Carolina are achieving some of the highest yields in the industry. North Carolina also enjoys an extended
harvest season starting in May and harvesting Rabbiteyes into July and even August. Proximity to market
also continues to play to North Carolinas advantage, especially amidst labor challenges, allowing the
increased use of machine harvesting for fresh when necessary. Replanting continues in the state as new
varieties prove themselves in yields, quality and efficiencies. Varieties such as Legacy and San Joaquin have
become increasingly interesting for growers as they seek to increase yields and efficiencies.
North Carolinas 2012 season was described by contributors as a success with spring freezes in Georgia
leaving room for North Carolinas early crop in the market, although there were also challenges with spring
rains. Hail was also an issue during a portion of the 2012 harvest. In general the North Carolina crop was
excellent after a mild 2011/12 winter. Some contributors expressed concerns about the long term viability
of the processed Rabbiteye business in North Carolina.
Labor and Machine Harvest in the Southeast: Labor availability remains a major concern throughout the
US and especially in the Southeast due to high competition for workers and a difficult political climate in
some states. For this reason, machine harvest, even of early southern Highbush which has very low
concentration of its ripening, has become a focus in the industry. The University breeding programs have
made an aggressive move towards focusing on mechanized harvest and a number of equipment companies
have actively sought to introduce machines that can deliver improved quality and lower losses. Machine
harvesting Southern Highbush, which are not genetically or climatically predisposed to concentrated
ripening, during a market with declining prices is indeed a challenge. This undertaking will take time, but is
a passion of many in the Southeastern industry. This is particularly important to many who recognize that
they will face increased competition in the coming years from hand harvested blueberries from developing
industries like Mexico.
Mexico/Central America
Mexicos Highbush blueberry industry, which began in the late 1990s with the first commercial trials, has
finally begun to leave its infancy and is on the path to becoming a player in the North American and Global
market. This report divides the Mexico industry roughly into 2 categories: the North and Central regions.
Northern Mexicos growing regions in Baja, Sonora and Sinaloa involve more traditional evergreening
systems at latitudes more akin to existing Southern Highbush growing regions. Meanwhile, Central Mexico
represents a new frontier in blueberry horticulture with farming systems being developed for low latitudes,
short photoperiods and low or no chilling hours. Northern Mexico looks increasingly to show potential to
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 22 of 76

supply blueberries from late winter through the spring months. Central Mexico has confirmed its ability to
consistently supply blueberries in the winter and spring months and experimentation is well underway to
develop systems which allow for fall production cycles as well.
There remains a great deal to be learned in Mexican blueberries, and it is important to remember that
despite rapid growth, the territory is still in its pioneer stages. The horticultural systems that will be utilized,
and the varieties that will be planted in the coming years, will inevitably be very different from what can be
seen today. It will be many years before predictable large commercial volumes, with consistent quality,
begin to arrive from Mexico.
Politics, and most importantly crime and security, are a major barrier to doing business in Mexico. Most of
the key growing regions are also located in areas that face security challenges. Given the potential for a
high-quality product, however, and the innovative culture among Mexican berry growers, Mexico shows
long-term potential. With a truck from Guadalajara to New York City traveling a similar distance to that of
a truck from Portland, OR to the same destination, Mexican blueberries are likely to become a closerfresher counter-seasonal alternative for North America.
2012 North American Highbush Production
Mexico & Central America Region

2012 North American Highbush Acreage Growth


Mexico & Central America Region

The leading production regions of blueberries in Mexico are the states of Baja, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacn
and Colima.

Conclusions:
North America Leads Global Production:
North America remains the undisputed leader in global blueberry production both fresh and processed. It
does not however, as we will see in other sections, lead in exports. North Americas growth in production
has largely been driven by internal demand. With the exception of some processed Highbush Blueberry
exports from the Pacific Northwest, North America serves North America today. The rapid expansion of
acreage in recent years has and will continue to bring challenges. Concerns about underperforming fields,
variety selection, labor for fresh harvest, and the ability of the existing post-harvest infrastructure to meet
the needs of the growing community and the market are on track to increase before they subside on the
supply side. The entrance of Mexico to the North American deal will likely cause waves and some

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 23 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

displacement in the next decade as well. The rapid growth of the Northwest and the Southeastern growing
regions will continue to increase their presence in the market as their volumes go up.

2012 North American Highbush Production


North America Region

2012 North American Highbush Acreage Growth


North America Region

Frozen Market to Date:


The North American 2012 season ended with the highest USDA Cold Storage inventory on record at 238.5
million lbs. on August 31. By November 30th this inventory had been reduced to 196.5 million pounds
and the January report for the month of December brought news of an industry record
25 million lbs. moved in the month of December 2012. This record movement from public cold storage
brought inventory down to 171.8 million lbs. To quote John Shelford, the frozen inventory movement
thus far has been nothing short of incredible. Mr. Shelford calculates that at current rates of movement,
the May 2013 inventory figures could be as low as 80 million pounds, lower than the figure for the same
month in 2012. Much of this movement is being attributed to reasonable pricing on the part of sellers.
Also driving this rapid consumption is the continued growth of new products utilizing blueberries both
domestically and internationally. Please reference the tables in the Global Figures section for growth of new products
utilizing blueberries.
US Market Penetration Room for Continued Growth:
In 2012, the Packers fresh trends data reported interesting figures on market penetration in blueberries.
According to the report, 52% of US consumers purchased blueberries in 2011. Additionally, the data show
that 15% of US consumers are reportedly regular consumers of blueberries, buying them often when they
shop, often weekly. These figures indicate significant growth in domestic consumption while also revealing
the potential for continued growth. Marketing experts who contributed to this report found these data
exciting for a number of reasons. In the words of one contributor, the 15% frequent purchaser trend
indicates the potential consumption level of a convert. Meanwhile, the 52% of consumers who
purchased blueberries at least once represent a group with whom consumption could likely increase.
Lastly, with only 52% market penetration, there remains nearly 50% of the US consumer population with
whom blueberries can still be introduced. The general conclusion is upbeat: North American
consumption has grown considerably and there remains significant room for continued growth in
domestic consumption.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 24 of 76

The Export Opportunity:


Increasing exports will be critical for the long term success of North Americas industry. With an average
of only 3-4% of the domestic US crop exported annually, the potential for growth in international markets
is immense both for fresh and processed product. This
is particularly the case in Asia. The challenge for the
2012 North America Acreage Distribution
west remains an issue of market access, tariffs and
promotion. With the Chinese market poised to be a
world leader in blueberry demand in the next decade
and rapidly growing middle classes in highly populous
markets such as India, Indonesia, Taiwan and elsewhere
in Southeast Asia, fresh market access is critical for
continued growth. Tariffs are often a challenge in
processed exports and now also in countries where
fresh market access has been obtained, a standout
example being South Korea where Chilean processed and fresh blueberries are subject to significantly lower
duties and tariffs than Oregon fresh and all US processed blueberries. Beyond access and tariffs,
coordinated promotion efforts to increase awareness of blueberries, their health benefits and other
opportunities in the crop are critical to sustain and increase growth. Considering current projections for
the western crop and the North American crop in general, a focus on growing exports will be critical.
Industry organizations such as USHBC and NABC will need support to achieve these outcomes.
North America Fresh Production by Region

North America Process Production by Region

North America Trends:

Domestic consumption in the US and Canada continues to grow, market penetration at 51%

2012 Fresh market described as exceptional by contributors

2012 season ended with record high public frozen inventory

Record movement of processed inventory since close of 2012 season

Significant potential in export markets, especially to Asia

New variety adoption is most robust in the west and some regions in the Southeast

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 25 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Mexico developing domestic market for blueberries, especially in major cities and food service for
areas serving tourist industry

Mexico showing early potential to provide extended alternative for the Spring months, counter
seasonal production and potentially Fall windows.

Labor remains a major concern for fresh growers throughout the US in particular

SWD has reached all growing regions of North America and is a serious concern in the industry

Replanting increasingly common in traditional regions of Michigan, New Jersey and North Carolina
often utilizing new varieties and improved production systems

Scale and professionalism increasingly differentiates the leading companies

New Products generating new consumption and demand

South America
Data Review:
South America experienced a record season in
2011/2012 led by the continued volume growth of
Chile. Chiles acreage, even amidst some difficult
years, has continued to grow while Argentinas has
actually declined. Upcoming regions such as Peru
and Brazil are beginning to appear in South
America figures. The following points are worth
considering when reviewing these data below:

South America Acreage Increases

South America is the second largest global


producer led by Chile and followed to a lesser degree by Argentina
South American production represents over one quarter of the global crop
South American growth is slowing, especially in the last 2 years
South American production grew 136% between 2008 and 2012 and grew by over 77% in the two
years between the 2009/10 and 2011/12 seasons.

South American Acreage more than doubled from 2005 to 2012, planting over 25,000 acres of
Highbush blueberries in the 7 year period

South America is now the second largest player in the process industry after North America
Chilean production growth has been immense since 2008, growing by over 150% in four years and
adding a total of 132.9 million lbs., the result of heavy planting in the boom years of 2003-2007

Chilean acreage tripled between 2005 from 11,120 acreage to 33,960 over 7 years
Most of Chiles acreage growth occurred between 2003 and 2007, and the rate of planting continues
to slow

Chiles production increase has been largely driven by young acres coming in to production

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 26 of 76

Argentinas production grew considerably between 2010 and 2012, despite decreases in planted and
harvested acreage

Argentinas acreage has continued to shrink since its peak in 2008


Uruguays planted and harvested acreage has also decreased
Peru has established commercial plantings in the last 2 years

Production and Acreage:


South American Acreage Growth; 2011/12 Crop
SOUTH AMERICA
GROWTH TOTALS

Acreage

2012 Production

2005

2007

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

11,120

22,700

26,908

32,250

33,960

154.5

65.9

220.4

6,919

9,400

10,900

9,500

7,410

31.3

14.2

45.5

Uruguay

1,450

1,620

1,850

1,105

4.2

1.8

5.9

Peru

40

60

80

780

0.1

0.1

Brazil

50

200

250

350

0.4

0.4

Colombia

10

15

20

35

0.0

0.0

0.0

18,039

33,650

39,703

43,950

Chile
Argentina

South America

43,640 190.5

81.8 272.4

South America Production & Use Comparison: 2007/08 2011/12


SOUTH AMERICA

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

PRODUCTION

Fresh

Process

Chile

68.14

19.40

Argentina

22.20

3.00

25.20

24.64

2.00

26.64

Uruguay

1.60

0.60

2.20

2.68

0.33

Peru

0.03

0.01

0.04

0.03

Brazil

0.12

0.01

0.13

Colombia

0.01

0.01

South America

92.1

Total

Fresh

Fresh

Process

14.00 123.51 154.51

65.87

220.38

31.30

14.20

45.50

3.01

4.18

1.76

5.94

0.03

0.13

0.13

0.20

0.20

0.40

0.40

0.02

0.01

0.01

0.02

0.01

0.03

23.0 115.1

137.1

16.3

153.4

190.5

81.8

272.4

87.54 109.51

Process

Total

Total

South America Overview


Chile
To start, a note on the Chile narrative: the quality of information available from Chile today is second to
none. The efforts of the Chilean Blueberry Committee and the Chilean exporters association (ASOEX)
have resulted in excellent reports from forecasts to real time information on what is happening on the
ground during season. Some of this information is arguably easier to collect in a country which exports
nearly all of its production. With this said, the amount of information available on the industry is
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 27 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

impressive. Special thanks to the Chilean Blueberry Committee for their quality reports and to Todd
Mauritz for his contributions to the account below of the 2011/12 and 2012/13 Chilean seasons.
2011/12 Chilean Season Summary:
The 2011/12 season in Chile has been characterized as a reasonably good season vis--vis other recent
years. A cool spring led to a slow ripening crop compared to 2010-11 season across all regions except
region V up until week 47. By week 49 temperatures increased and weeks 49-52 saw very high
temperatures, especially in the central and center south growing regions near Chillan. This heat wave
concentrated ripening in Chillan to the south, making it difficult for growers to keep up on their harvests.
The heat caused a lot of issues with soft fruit. Thanks to high processed prices, the soft fruit problem was
resolved, as much of the fruit that was not suitable for export was diverted to the processed channel. As is
often the case, the south had some rain issues, mostly early and late in their season. The biggest challenge
in the south of Chile came from the ashes dropped by the eruption of the Volcano Puyehue. The blanket
of ashes spread across much of the south and ruined many fields, creating an estimated loss of upwards of
5,000 metric tons (11M lbs) to the industry. Some growers were able to salvage their fruit for processes
through extensive washing of the product, but the economic toll of the volcanic eruption was devastating
for many growers.
The Chilean Blueberry Committee crop estimates for the 2011/12 season were modified twice during the
season. The original preseason estimate was 78,000 tons (about 172M lbs.) for fresh exports. By week 1 of
2012, it was lowered to 73,900 metric tons (162.8M lbs.) fresh and again in week 8 to 70,900 metric tons
(156.2 M lbs.) fresh. Final fresh export volumes from Chile ended the season at 70.100 metric tons (154.5M
lbs.). The diversion by market is reported as being
2012 South America Acreage Distribution
79.43% to the USA and Canada, 16.21% to Europe and
4.26% to Asia and the Far East. The leading reasons
for these gradual reductions from the original estimates
were primarily ash from the volcanic eruption, high
temperatures during the middle of the season, and
some serious rain and hail events in the south. There
were no serious frost events impacting the 2011/12
season (unlike the current 2012/13 season). Only
scattered frost events occurred in very small localized
areas and caused problems in fields without frost protection in November.
Most of the Chilean fresh crop was exported by boat, reportedly 92.6 percent. Air freight has become an
export tool largely utilized in the early season to meet commitments in the markets before the season
reaches full swing and boats can be loaded.
2012/13 Chilean Season to Date:
The spring leading into the 2012/13 season in Chile was generally uneventful, with cooperative weather in
the central to the northern regions where the early harvest realized commercial volumes in November.
Disaster struck from Temuco south to Osorno when an unusually late frost swept across the primarily
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 28 of 76

Northern Highbush growing region. There was extensive damage to many fields which were in bloom and
fruit set. This is estimated to have decreased the crop in the south. In the aftermath of the southern
freezes, rains began to fall in the central regions, which is highly uncommon. These December summer
rains devastated the cherry crop and caused serious quality issues in the pack houses. Arrivals of this fruit
were problematic well in to January 2013. These destructive rains were followed by high temperatures in
early January leading to further concerns about arrivals. A great deal of discussion is underway at the time
of the final drafting of this report about the challenge of quality of arrivals from Chile. The Chilean
Blueberry Committee report from week 50 predicted
2012 South American Highbush Production
that mold was likely to be the biggest problem during
the season. Media sources are touching the issue more
frequently. Two opposing forces have arisen in the
Chilean deal. As the market increases its demand for
quality, Chiles need to ship all its crop long distances
by boat grows, along with the reality of increasingly
erratic weather and other real challenges to delivering
quality fruit (see final comments of Chile section).
In October of 2012, the Chilean Blueberry Committee released its first estimate for the season of 84,900
tons (over 187.5 million lbs.). After the freeze, this estimate was reduced in week 49 to 81,900 tons (180.5
million lbs.). The wide-spread rains, heat and weather issues caused a further reduction in the 2012/13
fresh crop estimate to 72,000 tons (158.7 million lbs.) by week 52. The estimate was increased again in
January 2013 to a range between 175 and 180 million lbs. If these estimates hold true through the season,
Chiles fresh exports for 2012/13 will represent a moderate increase over the previous years. The lack of
attractive pricing for processed fruit in the 2012/13 season is motivating many Chilean growers to pursue
the fresh channel, even with fruit that poses higher risks for arrivals. Current challenges indicate that the
2012/13 season is on track to be a difficult one for many growers in Chile, driven by quality and arrival
issues. At the time this report was published the quality issues with Chilean fruit arrivals had been an issue
for many weeks. Signs of a cleanup are underway, but much of Chiles peak has seen serious quality
challenges for the 2012/13 season.
Chilean Local Consumption: With its limited population of less than 17 million people, roughly the
population of the greater Los Angeles, CA area, Chile does not represent a large scale market for consumer
goods. That said, the rising wealthy and middle classes of Chile are increasing their rate of consumption
every year and their demand for blueberries is akin to that of many other products. Even imports of
blueberries during Chiles off season have begun and one can expect to find fresh and/or frozen
blueberries on the shelves when visiting supermarkets in the capital of Santiago. Chiles market will be
small, but real.
Rise of a Chilean Process Industry: With over 65 million pounds of processed blueberries in the
2011/12 season, Chile has arguably become a player in the processed Highbush industry. With upwards of
80 million pounds anticipated for the 2012/13 season though this figure may increase due to difficult
weather conditions in the central and southern growing regions during harvest the North American

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 29 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

industry can no longer claim to be the sole actor in the business. For a vast array of reasons ranging from
extensive plantings of varieties unsuitable for fresh maritime export, labor shortages, problematic weather,
extended export and shipping time frames, difficulties in post-harvest management and rising alternatives
such as Mexico with a closer fresher product (see North America section), much of Chiles blueberry crop
simply cannot be shipped fresh.
In the short term, most of Chiles processed fruit is thus anticipated to be grade outs which cannot be
exported fresh. This is notably different than the focus encountered in North America, especially Northern
Highbush regions like the Pacific Northwest, where vertically integrated companies abound that grow,
process and pack solely processed blueberries with a 100% focus on the business. In some cases, the result
is a notably differentiated and high quality product coming from fields designed especially for uses such as
retail IQF and run through facilities especially designed to receive the product and deliver to the target
market. The Chilean industry today, with the exception of 2 known examples, has no farms planted
exclusively for processed. Virtually all of Chiles processed volume is sourced from product which was not
strong enough to make the boat trip to the market or did not meet fresh grade for other reason. This
does not mean that there is not high quality processed fruit coming from Chile. It does however mean that
product from Chile today is highly variable.
In the medium to long term, many anticipate a transition in the Chilean processed industry, especially in the
south of the country. As climatic conditions, labor shortages and competition from producers closer to the
markets in the same production window make the fresh business in the south of Chile increasingly difficult,
other advantages of the region do not change. The south of Chile in particular has reasonably priced large
tracts of land, excellent soil, water and growing conditions all leading to high yields and good in field
quality Northern Highbush blueberries. While the problems above make fresh export increasingly difficult,
the advantages of the region do lend themselves to large scale, mechanized processed blueberry production.
Energy costs still remain an issue in Chile, but a number of companies are beginning to recognize the long
term opportunities in developing professionalized processed industry in Chile, particularly in the south.
Note on Labor in Chile: Labor has become a major challenge in recent years in Chile. With near full
employment and high demand for people in sectors such as mining and services, many people who
traditionally played a key role in harvesting Chiles fruit crops have now moved on to more attractive
alternatives. The Chilean government is in the initial process of establishing a system to provide work
visas to foreign migrant workers from countries such as Bolivia and Peru. How Chile manages its labor
problems, and the politics of labor (note solutions in the US vs. Canada), will be critical in determining the
ability of Chile to compete globally in the fresh market. This is especially true given the reality that machine
harvest for fresh simply remains too difficult with available technologies, the currently planted varieties are
generally not compatible with significant mechanical handling, and Chiles distance from the market.
Chinese Market Access for Chile: In June 2011 during a visit by former Chinese vice president (and
now General Secretary) Xi Jinping to Chile, Vice Minister Wei Chuanzhong of AQSIQ signed the entry
protocol documents for importation of Chilean blueberries into China. This event made Chile the first
country in the world to obtain legitimate means of exporting fresh blueberries to China, the worlds fastest
growing market for blueberries. Many years of work by the Chilean exporters association (ASOEX) and
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 30 of 76

the Chilean governments bilateral trade efforts made this landmark event possible. As the final approval
of the treaty and establishment of protocols took time to implement, there were limited shipments to China
in the 2011/12 season that served as trial runs. Shipments have notably increased, primarily by air, in the
2012/13 season. As the phytosantiary and political barriers to shipping Chilean fruit to China have been
lifted, the other great challenge has come to the forefront how to ensure quality arrivals of fruit which
must travel 40+ days to arrive in the Asian markets.
2011/12 South American
The challenges in North American arrivals with which
Highbush Acreage Growth
the Chilean industry struggles are only augmented when
shipping by boat to the much more distant Asian
markets. China market access therefore represents the
greatest opportunity and the greatest challenge for the
Chilean industry today. China is anticipated to be the
single most important market for Chiles future. The
question remains how to ensure successful delivery a
high quality perishable product to these selective and
demanding consumers.
Chiles Unique Challenges Demand Unique Solutions
Chiles planting has slowed considerably since the peak growth years between 2003 and 2007. The
production increases in the last 4 years are a result of this extensive planting. As anticipated in previous
reports, Chiles rapid growth has brought with it serious growing pains.
Chile faces unique challenges as an industry. Labor is in diminishing supply, mechanized packing and long
boat trips a norm and weather is becoming less predictable. All these factors often lead to problematic
arrivals of Chilean blueberries at a time when customer and consumer quality demands are increasing all
weeks of the year at the same time that. The many reasons for the difficulties aside, the challenge ultimately
boils down to a single bottleneck, distance from the consuming markets. The best of Chiles growers have
some of the highest yields and best in-field quality in the world. Chiles leading blueberry exporters are
some of the most sophisticated, informed and professional companies in the fresh produce industry. What
separates them from, for example, their North American and European counterparts is what is being asked
of the fruit: a long transit period with over 20 days to the US and over 40 Days to Asia, specially to China
(see section above). As Asia is such a critical part of Chiles future, especially as supply to North America
comes head to head from emerging producers such as Mexico, solving the arrival problems will be more
important than ever.
Changes in varieties will play a major role in Chiles competitive future in blueberries. Improved genetics
with excellent post-harvest, firmness and flavor characteristics now arriving in the country will help to
address these issues for the growers able to reinvest in their future. But varieties alone will not solve the
challenges of Chiles growing pains. Without a doubt, the future winners will develop holistic systems
which not only address the challenges of today but which deliver greater solutions tomorrow. The Chilean
industry has a wide range of companies, farmers, suppliers, service providers and certainly characters.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 31 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

From this rich tradition of fruit people, solutions to the challenges discussed above are likely to arise. The
question for now remains how and when these innovations and solutions will take form.
Argentina/Uruguay
2012 yields in Argentina and Uruguay were disappointing for many and lower than anticipated, but it was
not a bad year for all. With heavy rains, tornadoes, and hail, especially in the growing areas of Buenos
Aires, Entre Rios and Corrientes, growers had difficulty harvesting their crop and meeting quality
standards. In Tucumn the yields were estimated to be 10-25% lower. Fortunately for Argentina there
were higher volumes concentrated in the month of September, the month which traditionally has the
lowest volumes and highest fresh prices. Over the last three years, the volume of Argentine fruit picked in
September has tripled. This is largely a result of three major factors: 1) the adoption of earlier varieties, 2)
improved horticultural practices, and 3) growth in the earlier low chill growing regions of Tucuman and
Corrientes.
2012 also saw a measurable increase in the volume of Argentine blueberries diverted to the processed
market. Estimated to be above 14M lbs., the 2012 processed figure is up from 2011 and fully 7 times
higher than the 2010 figures. Concerns do persist about the suitability of some of the varieties in Argentina
for some processed uses, particularly retail IQF products, but in general reception of processed fruit from
Argentina is welcome according industry participants. The diversion of nearly a third of the Argentine
2012 crop to the processed market is believed to have played a major role in the reasonably good pricing
reported for the season. This is particularly the case later in the season when a larger portion of the crop
was sent processed, keeping volumes more manageable from weeks 48 and later.
Most new acreage growth in Argentina is concentrated in the Northwest of the country in Tucuman and
the new northern growing regions of Corrientes as both have proven more suitable for early season low
chill blueberry production. Growth in these regions has also coincided with the arrival of newer low chill
Southern Highbush varieties. Meanwhile Buenos Aires province continues to decline as does Concordia,
Entre Rios province.
The acreage in Argentina and Uruguay has persistently declined in recent years due to challenges also
addressed in the 2010 report. The region has suffered from difficulties ranging from high bureaucratic
costs, difficult government policies, high input and labor costs, lack of effective management systems in
many fields, poor initial field design, rapid adoption of the wrong uncompetitive varieties early on, and a
host of other issues which have plagued both Argentina and Uruguay since the rapid boom years during
which expectations were high and decision were made quickly. Uruguay acreage is down significantly,
almost half that of the 2010 figure and Argentinas acreage is down more than 30% from its high in 2008.
As mentioned above, total production continues to increase as remaining fields improve their management
systems, new varieties are adopted and the competitive farmers and companies professionalize. Volumes
continue to grow in the September-October window.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 32 of 76

Peru
The development of the Peruvian blueberry industry to date in some ways draws memories of the early
frontier work in Mexico over a decade ago. Farming in Peru occurs at very low latitudes, between 4 and 12
degrees, even lower than central Mexico. At this time there are no reported competitive commercial
plantings in the world below a latitude of 20 degrees. Trials with public varieties, with varying degrees of
success, have been underway for a number of years. Some growers have realized moderate success and
there is an interest in the crop. There are large farming companies in Peru with significant land bases,
water, capital and labor available in some regions of the country. Peru became a signatory to the UPOV
1991 Convention on intellectual property (IP) and plant breeders rights (PBR) in 2011, implementing
global standards for IP protection and enforcement, improving the potential for the countrys growth and
access to new varieties in many high-value crops.
There are also barriers to Peru developing a successful and globally competitive industry. Though
somewhat closer to northern markets than Chile and Argentina, Peru still faces the same freight and
shipping bottlenecks. Additionally, due to med fly quarantines, all fruit shipped to the US must be
fumigated as in Argentina or must undergo extended cold treatment. Although there has been some fruit
harvested in the fields, there is no example of systems in place in Peru for post-harvest and export of
blueberries. The potential of blueberries as a crop is Peru is still in early evaluation stages, although there
are some commercial plantings under way that show potential.
Colombia
The small, slowly developing blueberry industry in Colombia is interesting in that the growth up to this
point is driven entirely by local demand for the fruit. Most of the current planting is in public varieties on
farms near urban centers, especially Bogota, where fruit can be harvested and sold locally. This represents
a growing trend in Latin America of local demand for blueberries beginning to have an impact on growth.
With the growing potential of low latitude blueberries becoming apparent, it is possible that Colombia
could one day become a net exporter of blueberries as well. For the time being, the Colombian blueberry
industry is a local affair.
2012 South America Fresh Production

2012 South America Process Production

Note: The similarity in Fresh and Process distribution is not an error.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 33 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Brazil
Like Colombia, the Brazilian blueberry industry is also driven by local consumption. With its burgeoning
middle class and many urban centers with rapidly growing markets for all consumer goods, blueberries are
increasingly desired among the expanding consumer market. Most plantings are currently concentrated in
the south of the country and introduction of new varieties has been limited to the activities of a marketing
company licensed to university varieties for the territory. Brazil is gradually becoming an important market
for other nearby blueberry producing countries, especially Chile and Argentina.

Conclusions: South America - Looking Forward


In todays market, South America remains the undisputed leader for counter seasonal blueberry supply, and
Chile and Argentina are the only suppliers with any true volume to serve the growing markets. The
landscape is beginning to change however with Chile, the current leader, facing serious structural challenges
to remaining competitive challenges both internal to the industry and external competitive forces such as
the closer fresher Mexico. Meanwhile, Argentinas acreage is diminishing amidst a theatre of simultaneous
decline and parallel professionalization. New growing regions such as Peru, Brazil and Colombia are now
on the radar with Perus large professional producer/exporters eyeing the international off season market
and Colombia and Brazil beginning to produce blueberries primarily for local needs. This trend is likely to
continue and many of the leading companies in South America believe that within the next decade Brazil,
Colombia and other developing markets in the continent will become key markets for their product. In
summary, the character of the South American blueberry industry is changing.
Major growth is anticipated in exports to Asia and Europe, coupled with steady growth in exports to North
America. The European and Asian markets present a challenge in ensuring quality arrivals, and North
America will increasingly source from Mexico as well as South America. The complexities of the challenges
and opportunities facing the South American industry have never been more pronounced. All contributors
noted these trends without exception and emphasized their belief that this environment played to the
strength of professional, vertically integrated and diversified companies of scale in the industry.

South America Trends:

Chile is the second largest producer of Highbush blueberries in the world after the US

Chile leads South America, but faces external challenges to its position and internal challenges to
staying competitive

Chiles fresh market access to China presents a unique and exciting prospect for the industry

In Argentina and Uruguay the industry leaders are consolidating positions and professionalizing

Blueberry production is being explored in Perus

New Varieties will be critical to future success as growers seek to achieve higher yields and efficiencies
but also importantly, better arrivals

Problematic maritime arrivals present the greatest challenge to long term position of South
Americas blueberry industry

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 34 of 76

Asia, particularly China, is predicted to be most important export market in next decade, especially for
Chile

Distance to market and maritime arrivals will be a greater challenge as South American exporters
pursue the more distant Asian market opportunities

Blueberry consumer markets are developing in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and elsewhere in South
America

Consolidation is underway in South America, especially in Chile the 2 largest companies in the South
American industry began a merger in later 2012

Currency exchange rates can be problematic in countries like Chile with high value resources such as
copper pushing up currency value and thus negatively affecting exporters

Economic development increasing costs and often impacting labor availability

Europe
Data Review:
Europes acreage has continued to increase, though its production has been slow to follow. With the
mainland European market beginning to gain momentum, contributors anticipate continued growth. Most
European countries have some Highbush plantings, however the bulk of production and acreage is
concentrated in a few countries. When reviewing these European data, consider the following:

European acreage and production remains small when compared to its total population and the
size of its consumer market

Europes production growth, though starting from lower figures, has been rapid in recent years
growing by 44% from 2008 to 2010 and 21% between 2010 and 2012

Europes rate of acreage growth has been rapid, though also starting from a lower figure, having
gone from 9,736 acres in 2005 to 24,101 in 2012 an increase of almost 150%

Europes leading producing countries are Spain, Germany and Poland, followed to a lesser
degree by the Netherlands together the leading 3 countries represent over 70% of European
production

The European process industry remains small


Fresh remains the primary channel for Europes Highbush crop

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 35 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Production and Acreage:


European Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
EUROPE
GROWTH

Acreage
2005

2007

2008

2012 Production
2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

France

741

810

840

890

980

3.7

0.1

3.8

Spain

494

1,870

2,100

2,600

3,050

21.5

0.2

21.7

99

320

330

480

610

2.7

2.7

1,334

3,000

3,270

3,970

4,640

27.9

0.3

28.2

Austria

100

110

125

205

1.5

0.2

1.7

Denmark

50

50

60

70

0.3

0.3

Netherlands

580

600

1,180

1,565

8.3

1.3

9.6

3,954

4,400

5,063

5,300

5,580

20.1

1.9

22.0

25

35

35

40

0.2

0.2

445

540

600

680

860

4.2

0.2

4.4

Sweden

80

80

90

100

0.2

0.2

Switzerland

50

50

55

130

0.6

0.1

0.7

49

550

550

670

800

2.6

0.1

2.7

4,448

6,375

7,138

8,195

9,350

37.9

3.8

41.7

Baltics

250

290

335

450

1.2

1.2

Poland

3,954

6,700

6,900

7,800

8,645

22.3

3.4

25.7

Ukraine

160

180

190

320

0.4

0.1

0.5

Romania

100

120

130

280

0.4

0.4

Rep. of Georgia

16

0.0

0.0

Others

120

140

160

400

0.5

0.1

0.6

Eastern

3,954

7,330

7,630

8,615

10,111

24.8

3.6

28.4

Europe

9,736

16,705

18,038

20,780

24,101

90.6

7.7

98.2

Portugal
South & Western

Germany
Ireland
Italy

UK
Central & Northern

By Region: European Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop


EUROPE

Acreage

2012 Production

GROWTH TOTALS

2005

South & Western

1,334

3,000

3,270

3,970

Central & Northern

4,448

6,375

7,138

Eastern

3,954

7,330

Europe

9,736

16,705

Cort Brazelton

2007

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

4,640

27.9

0.3

28.2

8,195

9,350

37.9

3.8

41.7

7,630

8,615

10,111

24.8

3.6

28.4

18,038

20,780

24,101

90.6

7.7

98.2

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 36 of 76

European Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012


EUROPE
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

France

2.20

0.23

2.43

3.75

0.22

3.97

3.70

0.10

3.80

Spain

9.20

9.20

17.63

17.63

21.50

0.20

21.70

Portugal

1.00

1.00

2.42

2.42

2.70

2.70

12.4

0.2

12.6

23.8

0.2

24.0

27.9

0.3

28.2

Austria

0.40

0.10

0.50

0.60

0.11

0.71

1.50

0.20

1.70

Denmark

0.10

0.10

0.20

0.28

0.03

0.31

0.30

0.30

Netherlands

3.30

0.30

3.60

2.76

0.28

3.03

8.26

1.30

9.56

16.53

0.33

16.86

18.73

1.21

19.95

20.10

1.90

22.00

Ireland

0.05

0.05

0.13

0.13

0.15

0.15

Italy

3.30

0.10

3.40

3.64

0.22

3.86

4.20

0.20

4.40

Sweden

0.10

0.10

0.20

0.22

0.01

0.23

0.20

0.20

Switzerland

0.20

0.10

0.30

0.20

0.10

0.30

0.60

0.05

0.65

UK

0.65

0.65

2.40

0.10

2.50

2.60

0.10

2.70

24.6

1.1

25.8

28.9

2.1

31.0

37.9

3.8

41.7

Baltics

1.10

1.10

1.20

1.20

Poland

17.40

0.60

18.00

13.84

9.91

23.75

22.30

3.40

25.70

Ukraine

0.44

0.22

0.66

0.40

0.10

0.50

Romania

0.42

0.42

0.40

0.40

Rep. of Georgia

0.01

0.01

Others

0.09

0.09

0.18

0.45

0.10

0.55

Eastern

17.4

0.6

18.0

15.9

10.2

26.1

24.8

3.6

28.4

Europe

54.4

2.0

56.4

68.6

12.5

81.1

90.6

7.7

98.2

South & Western

Germany

Central & Northern

Total

Production & Use Comparison by Region: 2008 - 2012


EUROPE ANNUAL
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

Fresh

Process

South & Western

12.4

0.2

12.6

23.8

0.2

24.0

Central & Northern

24.6

1.1

25.8

28.9

2.1

Eastern

17.4

0.6

18.0

15.9

Europe

54.4

2.0

56.4

68.6

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Total Fresh

Process

2012 Production

Total Fresh

Process

Total

27.9

0.3

28.2

31.0

37.9

3.8

41.7

10.2

26.1

24.8

3.6

28.4

12.5

81.1

90.6

7.7

98.2

Page 37 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Europe Overview:
As with other global regions in 2012, Europe was not spared from harsh weather events. The European
deal, especially the Southern Highbush industry, was dealt a tough blow as February 2012 saw heavy freezes
across Europe and North Africa after a relatively soft winter, which was particularly damaging for
precocious evergreen production in the low chill growing areas of Huelva (Andalusia, Spain) and Morocco
(see next section). February 2012 was one of the coldest
European Acreage Increases
on record in much of Europe, followed by many
additional cold days and nights in the spring. The cold
winter and spring weather did much less damage in
northern Europe as plants were dormant and at times
worked in favor of blueberry growers, as their crop
came through the cold much better than other berries.
While 2012 was not a stellar year in the fields for
European growers, exciting developments are
underway in the mainland European market.
Southern Europe
The clear leader in Southern European blueberry production is Southern Spain, although other parts of
Iberia are beginning to grow. Acreage growth in France remains less boisterous as French consumption
has yet to develop compared to other markets in the northern and central Europe and the UK.
2012 European Highbush Production
Southern & Western Europe

2012 European Highbush Acreage Growth


Southern & Western Europe

Iberia
The harsh weather is estimated to have cost 25% of all spring production in Iberia and delayed the peak
harvest of the Southern Highbush crop 15-20 days. Companies who invested in early varieties suffered the
most in the freezes, but the industry on average received excellent prices during the spring shortage.
Without a serious peak in production, prices held reasonably strong through most of the season. Spanish
growers with frost protection systems were the biggest winners in Europes 2012 Southern Highbush
season.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 38 of 76

In Portugal, the plantings of older higher chill Southern Highbush varieties like Oneal benefited from
higher chill accumulation and had good leafing leading into their fruiting season. In general, Portugal and
northern Spain benefited from the higher chill accumulation and good harvests in 2012. Both regions have
continued to develop in recent years, with most growers focused on mid and higher chill blueberry
varieties.
Northern Spain has a wide variety of mid and high chill growing regions which are increasing in acreage.
Northern coastal provinces like Cantabria and Asturias are proving to have potential for very extended
supply, producing fruit from the summer months with mid and high chill Northern Highbush (such as
Draper and Aurora) and then extending into the fall with some of the newer Rabbiteye varieties with higher
fruit quality (such as Ochlockonee). Increasingly the primary focus of growers in this region is the
September-October window with the goal of shipping better quality fresh fruit to the markets than is
available from Poland and Central Europe at the time. Similar growth is underway in the north of Portugal.
Central & Northern Europe
Central and northern European blueberry growers had a decidedly better crop year than their neighbors to
the south. They faced an upbeat market undergoing rapid changes coupled with increasingly professional
marketing channels. In the aftermath of the 2012 season, mainland European blueberry growers are
markedly optimistic and upbeat about the future.
Germany
German growers had a reasonably good year with increased volume over 2010, though the limited tools
(especially registered chemicals) for combatting anthracnose and mummy berry remain a frustration.
Predictability and reliability in labor is a challenge in Germany, although there is some respite from this
stress as the EU has taken aggressive steps to allow
2012 European Acreage Distribution
free movement of seasonal workers from the new
eastern members such as Romania and Bulgaria.
Polish workers also continue to come in to harvest
the German crop. Average wages for seasonal
workers has increased each year (last data shows an
average wage of 6.70 ($8.80) per hour in 2012).
The last census on seasonal labor showed over
250,000 people working seasonally in Germany in
2009, and that number is predicted to be much
higher for 2012. Most of Germanys production growth continues to be in Niedersachsen and the North
and Northwestern regions. As the climate has become increasingly unpredictable for German growers in
the last decade, many have invested in technology and infrastructure to improve fruit quality and protect
their crop. Virtually all of the growth in Germany is driven by an increase in German demand for
blueberries.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 39 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Italy
The Italian blueberry industry has grown gradually vis a vis other regions, but has nonetheless almost
doubled in size since 2005. The Italian blueberry industry is led by a larger grower cooperative in the north
and another group led by a handful of larger growers. The majority of Italys blueberry plantings are
concentrated in the north near Verona and Trento (Trentino). Some planting has been underway in
Veneto and Calabria. Though July remains the
peak for production, the focus of most growers
2012 European Highbush Production
today is either the early market or the late season
Central & Northern Europe
market, often by utilizing controlled atmosphere
storage. Although Italian blueberry consumption is
growing, much of the Italian production is shipped
to the UK and increasingly to Switzerland,
Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. Italian growers
have a very positive outlook for the future in 2012.
To quote Andrea Pergher, we are very positive
about the European and domestic market. We
believe there will be steady increasing consumption
in the future, led by fresh at the beginning and later probably in processed in other countries where the
production is higher. On the gloomier side, Mr. Pergher was one of many European contributors who
drew attention to concerns about the recent arrival of the Spotted Winged Drosophila (Drosophila Suzukii)
in Italy.
Switzerland
The Swiss blueberry industry remains small but growing. There are a number of government support
programs underway to support blueberry planting as an alternative crop for growers. The primary driver
for planting is good demand in the Swiss marketplace with retailers like COOP reportedly eager to expand
their blueberry offering. Most of the blueberries sold in Switzerland remain imports, even in the summer
months, but local production is growing despite the challenges in available land and inputs.
Austria
The Austrian industry, though also small, has a number of advanced and innovative growers who are
utilizing high end production systems. Competing with lower cost fruit coming from eastern countries is a
challenge, but many growers have found ways to keep their market position through variety selection and
product quality. In general the Austrian market has been a bright spot with increasing consumer demand,
pushing retailers to keep quality blueberries available for year round consumption.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 40 of 76

Netherlands
Of the smaller European countries the Netherlands, as in so many other crops, remains the undisputed
leader and Central and Northern Europes leader in blueberry horticulture. Highly creative and competitive
growers in the Netherlands continue to innovate and develop new systems for all aspects of the crop from
field establishment, containerized production,
2012 European Highbush Acreage Growth
mechanized harvest, variety management, packing,
Central & Northern Europe
cold chain and distribution. Some of the most
innovative blueberry growers in the world are in
Holland. A visit to a Dutch blueberry farm is
often accompanied by some unique surprises.
Some are containerized hydroponics farms while
others look like a traditional farm at first glance but
are set up for mechanized applications and harvest
in ways one does not often encounter in other parts
of the world. There is an increased trend towards
replanting of older fields with some of the
Michigan State University varieties, and great
interest in new varieties being introduced to the market. The largest growing region is in eastern
Netherlands between Venlo and Eindhoven. With the highest average yield per acre in the Northern
Highbush regions of Europe, the Dutch fruit has continued to be highly competitive in the market with the
majority of the fruit shipped fresh, and an increasing portion machine harvested and shipped to nearby
markets.
UK
The mainland European market is indeed growing, but the UK still remains the undisputed leader for
blueberry consumption in the continent. UK retailers are famous for their persistent demand for
differentiation opportunities, quality, traceability, transparency to the consumer and sustainability (e.g.
listing food miles on clamshells). In many regards, the UK has set the bar for the global industry in what a
consumer can expect and what a grower and a shipper can provide to a retailer and their customers. In this
demanding and vibrant market, the UK blueberry growers have built a comparatively smaller but growing
local supply especially during the summer months. Over the last ten years the UK has grown from virtually
no commercial Highbush blueberry production to nearly 800 acres. Good blueberry soils are difficult to
come by in much of the UK and there are concerns that many of the existing fields are not planted in ideal
locations. Many farms have opted for growing blueberries in large containers rather than their native soils,
estimated to represent 30-40% of the production in the UK, the longevity of which remains to be seen.
UK growers were disappointed in their yields in 2012 but very happy with prices (see UK market paragraph
below). Many growers interviewed in the last year have referenced their difficult soils and short growing
season as a challenge in achieving high yields. For this and other reasons, there is an eagerness for
improved varieties than what is currently available.
Scotland is worth a separate mention for 2012, as the region is starting to become a player in the UK
industry. Though the growing season can be even shorter than those of the English neighbors to the
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 41 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

south, the Scottish climate allows for effective late season harvest windows. The challenge today is, again,
genetics as the varieties currently available for late season such as Elliott are not acceptable for the
demanding market they serve. Rains during harvest can also be an issue and tunnels are likely to become
commonplace in coming years as they have elsewhere in the UK. It is early days for the Scottish blueberry
industry, but the growers are on the map and recognized as active players in the market today.
UK Market: In the UK, the leading retailers continued to be focused on product quality and were willing
to pay for it in blueberries. The demand for quality plays out year round in the English market with
retailers paying a premium for quality local UK fruit over polish fruit and also the best counter seasonal
product available from Chile, Argentina and especially South Africa. The UK is the undisputed leader in
European consumption and has grown a great deal. Nonetheless, there is still room for growth according
to Mr. Taylor and other sources such as Kantar. Market penetration of blueberries in the UK is 35%,
meaning that 35% of households buy at least 1 punnet of blueberries once a year. Another interesting
trend in the UK market is that consumers shopped more often but bought less when they went to the
stores. In general, UK market pricing has held steady through the 2012 season and have actually increased
since the low volume point of September 2012. This has played out well for quality counter-seasonal
product, especially thus far since the last report in January 2012. Week on week as compared to 2011, 2012
blueberry prices in the UK averaged 6-7% higher.
Eastern Europe
Without exception, all European contributors to this report anticipate growth in the coming years in
Eastern Europe. Growth is projected to be led by both new local players and operators from the west
eager to expand into lower cost regions. A special thanks to Dr. Stanislaw Pluta for his help on
information on Poland and other nearby eastern countries.
Poland
Poland could easily be included in the Central Europe category, as it is arguably part of the plain of
Central Europe before the mountain chains which truly separate west from east. Historically it has been
presented as part of the Eastern European blueberry industry due as much to the politics and economic
realities of the last two decades. As a developing country after the fall of the Soviet Union, blueberries
became one of the popular crops in the ensuing years. Land, water and labor were widely available and
costs were comparatively low. Some westerners came in to add to the growth while a number of large
producers took significant positions in the crop. Many smaller growers also planted, especially during the
2000s. By 2007, Poland had the largest acreage of any European country. As Polands economy has
developed, the cost of land and labor have risen and the industry is starting to experience some of the same
challenges of its western neighbors. Additionally, growers must deal with extreme winter conditions,
reaching temperatures as low as -40C some years. These harsh winter conditions and threat of spring
freezes has often limited Polish production.
There is a significant divide between the professional operations with GlobalGAP and other key
certifications which allows them to ship fresh fruit to any European market and growers who do not have
the benefit of those systems and certifications. This system has favored larger and more professional

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 42 of 76

producers. The uncertified fruit, estimated to represent about 15-20% of the production, tends to be sold
locally. Prices for certified fruit in the European markets were quite good in 2012 and most growers report
higher yields than 2011.
While in the short term certifications and traceability are a limiting factor for some growers, the long term
challenge remains the increasing costs of production. Land costs have increased, especially near centers of
population, but are still comparatively low. The biggest
2012 European Highbush Production
challenge is labor. In a country which less than a
Eastern Europe
decade ago was a net labor exporter to its neighbors in
the EU, labor availability and cost of labor is an
increasing challenge in Poland. It is predicted that the
future of the Polish industry will be similar to that of
other countries in the West with machine harvesting for
fresh becoming an imperative rather than an option.
The challenge is finding varieties that are sufficiently
cold hardy to make it through the Polish winter and are
conducive to machine harvesting for fresh.
Yields in Poland are notably low considering the planted acreage. This is reportedly due to a variety of
factors. For the many small growers in Poland, a lack of knowledge and experience combined with limited
resources often leads to slow developing fields with low performance. The greatest challenge throughout
Poland is the extreme winter cold and the spring frosts which limit the crop in most of the country each
year. For these and other reasons, most in the European industry to not anticipate most Polish growers to
increase average per acre yields in the coming years.
Dr. Stanislaw Pluta points out a number of other challenges for the industry as well. A lack of available
tools for disease control is making fungal pests like anthracnose a serious issue. Additionally, there is a lack
of packing capacity for the anticipated volume in the coming years. Polish consumption is growing but
most of the fruit must still be exported to markets with higher consumption rates. Growing domestic
consumption in Poland will be important in the coming years.
In the whole and in spite of the concerns listed above, Polish growers, like their neighbors, are reportedly
optimistic about the future. Trends in increased mainland European consumption and increased processed
blueberry usage are all leaving growers hope that there is still a good future in blueberries if they can
develop solutions to their current and future challenges.
Baltics, Romania, Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Others
Putting aside the Baltic States and to a lesser degree Romania, the eastern European countries on the list
today are largely newcomers. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have followed the growth trends of Poland on
a smaller scale. Romanias early development was sparse and the most notable activity was actually driven
by foreign investment from a Chilean company. In recent years Romania has become more active with
both new local and foreign blueberry investors.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 43 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

The new east is a dynamic mix of new countries with new players and some familiar ones from Western
Europe or elsewhere. The Ukraine has arisen as a potential player in the blueberry industry, particularly in
the last 5 years. There are professional farming
2012 European Highbush Acreage Growth
companies in other crops in the Ukraine and some of
Eastern Europe
them have begun to take positions in blueberries.
Some of these companies show potential while other
projects remain in question. The market for the
Ukrainian fruit is primarily domestic and Russia, a
major growth market for blueberries in greater Europe
with no significant blueberry production of its own to
speak of. The Republic of Georgia is also showing
exciting potential. With a young dynamic population
and policies friendly to foreign investment, many
industries are considering Georgia as a center of activity in the Black Sea. A number of years ago the
Government of Georgia began supporting trialing and research efforts to evaluate the potential of
blueberries. Some of these trials have been highly successful in the Georgian climate which in the Black
Sea region is similar to that of North Carolina or the Sacramento Delta of California. There are some
regions in Georgia where even citrus can be grown. These early successes are now drawing attention from
local and foreign companies looking for a cost effective region to grow fresh fruit not only for the
European market, but also for Russia, the Black Sea region and the Middle East. There is also early work
underway in processing blueberries in Republic of Georgia.
Meanwhile in the Balkans in countries such as Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, blueberries are being
adopted as an alternative crop for local growers. Many of these growers, especially in Serbia, are long time
raspberry growers who are looking to balance their risk into another crop. There has been small acreage in
the Balkans for many years while notable commercial activity is more recent. Reporting for 2012 on this
region is spotty and is therefore included in the other section of the Eastern Europe category. More
information will hopefully be available in future reports. Other countries with rumored activity include
Hungary and Belarus. There are unsubstantiated reports of government support of large scale propagation
and planting efforts underway in Belarus. Again, more information can hopefully be provided in
forthcoming reports.
2012, the Year SWD Arrived in Europe: Another key standout from European contributors this year
was the concern about the arrival of SWD across Europe. From the UK to Italy, Poland to Spain, the
spotting wing drosophila SWD fruit fly did damage to the blueberry crop across the continent. Other
crops suffered more, but the impact was noticeable in blueberries. As in North America, the European
industry is beginning to take an organized approach to this new and challenging pest. A number of
contributors asked directly what could be done to work more with their North American counterparts on
the invader. The author strongly advocates increased communication and collaboration on a more

international level to share information and cooperate however possible to begin developing
solutions for the SWD issue.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 Europe Fresh Production

Page 44 of 76

2012 Europe Process Production

Conclusions:
Mainland Europe Market: A Waking Giant? There is exciting news across the board from contributors
on the increasing demand for blueberries in the Continental European market. For well over a decade
now, the UK has been the primary driver for increased blueberry consumption. Finally it appears that
mainland Europe is starting to regularly consume blueberries. Part of this development is attributed to the
uptake by retailers of a berry patch strategy, already common in North American supermarkets.
Recognizing the clear opportunity to boost profits, some European retailers, especially higher end retailers
in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia have made a conscious decision to
offer the fresh berry category year round. Often, blueberries are the lead offering in their promotions.
Germany leads the new wave of consumption: Blueberry consumption is increasing in Europe and
especially in Germany with 2012 being the best year thus far. Upon being asked to give an example in an
interview, one contributor stated, to get a feeling what high reputation blueberries have in peoples minds
in German speaking Europe you only have to Google Blueberries in the net. As especially in Germany
people are quite educated about nutrition, Blueberries are well seen. In our newsgroups (consumer attitude
surveys) we made with consumers, Blueberries are always the number one product regarding health aspects
and everybody knows that they renew your body.
Plenty of Room for Growth: Despite this exciting uptick in berry and especially blueberry demand in
mainland Europe, berries remain the number 5 category, compared to the UK where berries are the
number 1 category in the produce section. Even in the leading market of the UK, market penetration
remains lower than the US at 35%. There is still plenty to do and plenty of room for growth.
Contributors referenced the growing trend of regional brands and emphasis of the supermarkets on
regional production. There remains an advantage for local producers as European consumers will always
tend toward local production when it is available. The trend may offer some protection for growers in
places like Germany and Austria from competition from Eastern Europe in the summer months. The
establishment of the berry category in European retailers is clearly catching on and when local supply is
not available, those retailers are turning to their key suppliers to deliver consistent quality blueberries to
their shelves every day. The new wave of blueberry consumption is just starting to arrive in central and
northern Europe and there is plenty of work to do, but with near 750 Million consumers, an aging

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 45 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

population, a culture which values health and increasing awareness of the blueberry health message, there
are exciting developments in the European blueberry market.
Where will the fruit come from? In discussions with contributors about the European industry,
conversations about the growth in European demand are inevitably followed by the question of where the
increased production will come from to serve this growing market. While off season exports play a major
role, indeed UK consumption is higher during the Chilean season in most years than in the summer
months, Europes market must be served during the spring, summer and early fall from production closer
to home. The growth of local production in Germany to serve domestic demand provides some insight
into the future, but there are limits to growth in most the western European countries. The large tracts of
farmland utilized in intensive horticulture found in the Americas are simply not abundant in Western
Europe. Additionally regulations, labor and other costs bring in to question the viability of large scale
farming to meet European demand for blueberries in the coming years.

Europe Trends:

Mainland Europe is beginning to notably increase consumption

The UK remains the primary market for Highbush blueberries in Europe

German acreage growth driven by German demand for local fruit

Netherlands continue to play competitive role a summer supplier for local, UK and German markets

Poland leads in acreage but average yields are notably low and likely to remain so

Spain leads in productivity

Eastern Countries beyond Poland beginning to develop

European market is very selective in quality and flavor

Lack of available tools and difficult weather in Northern and Eastern Europe respectively have made
achieving high yields difficult for many growers

Greatest unknown: If the European blueberry market truly booms, where will the production growth
occur to meet the demand?

New Promotional efforts are working in much of Europe and blueberries are increasingly
ubiquitous in advertising and new food products

Mediterranean & North Africa


Data Review:
The leading production area in the Mediterranean and North Africa region today is Morocco. Note the
growth of Morocco to serve the European spring and the growth in Turkish acreage.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 46 of 76

Production and Acreage:


Mediterranean & North Africa Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
MED. & N. AFRICA
GROWTH TOTALS

Acreage
2005

2007

2012 Production

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

Morocco

170

180

450

800

4.9

4.9

Egypt

20

25

35

40

0.1

0.1

Turkey

120

150

220

0.4

0.1

0.5

Israel

25

30

35

35

0.1

0.1

Tunisia

0.0

0.0

Others

215

355

672

1,098

5.4

0.1

5.5

Med. & N. Africa

Mediterranean & North Africa Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012
MED. & N. AFRICA
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

0.30

0.30

1.76

0.02

1.79

4.90

4.90

0.09

0.01

0.10

0.05

0.05

Turkey

0.50

0.50

0.13

0.01

0.14

0.35

0.10

0.45

Israel

0.01

0.01

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

Tunisia

0.02

0.02

Others

0.10

0.10

0.8

0.8

2.2

0.0

2.2

5.4

0.1

5.5

Morocco
Egypt

Med. & N. Africa

Total

Mediterranean & North Africa Overview:


Morocco
As outlined in the 2010 report, the move to Morocco to grow vegetables, tree fruit, citrus, avocados and
berries has become a dominant trend in supply strategies for Europe. The high costs of farming and labor
difficulties in Spain have driven a move by some European companies to develop operations in Morocco.
This is also development by local companies. Although Moroccos acreage remains small, the industry is
growing fast and as the fields in question are quick-to-produce Southern Highbush, the volumes will follow
shortly thereafter. Contributors continue to anticipate Morocco to be an important supplier of spring
blueberries throughout Europe in the medium to long term.
Egypt & Tunisia
Two years after the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, the agriculture export sectors are finally coming back
to life as the political situation calms. Little has happened in these countries in blueberries since the 2010
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 47 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

report, but activity is now reportedly increasing with additional trials and some commercial planting efforts
underway. Water and soil quality can be a challenge in many growing regions in these countries, but labor
is abundant and the climate highly conducive to low chill blueberry production. Tunisian growth in most
high value crops is geared toward exports to Europe while Egyptian products are increasingly marketed in a
much wider band from Europe to the growing middle eastern markets and even to the domestic market in
Egypt, a country of 80+ million people with a growing middle class.

2012 Mediterranean & North Africa


Highbush Production

2012 Mediterranean & North Africa


Highbush Acreage Growth

Turkey
The 2010 report referenced the impact of the Turkish horticulture industry on the table grape, stone fruit
and cherry industries. The potential of growing blueberries remains noteworthy and commercial trials are
underway throughout the country. The plantings at this time are geared toward supplying the local market
in the many urban centers in the highly developed country of 70 million people. Awareness of blueberries
in the Turkish market is high, though tariffs on imports make supplying from outside of the country
difficult. Prices for locally produced fruit are thus very high. Large scale blueberry operations in Turkey
have yet to develop and the plantings are still comparatively small and spread throughout the country.
Discussions about the potential of Turkey occurred in a number of interviews with contributors but activity
on the ground remains limited.

Mediterranean & North Africa Trends:


Middle Eastern Market: Market demand in the Middle East is growing, especially in the developed urban
centers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Turkey: The potential of Turkey both as a production region and a market for blueberries has been
mentioned but little activity of any scale has occurred to date.
Morocco on the Rise: Moroccos blueberry industry continues to grow and is beginning to deliver
commercial volumes to the European market. Barriers to entry in the crop are diminishing.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 48 of 76

Southern Africa
Data Review:
South Africa is the sole commercial producer of Highbush blueberries in Southern Africa. Trials in other
countries continue. Note the continued acreage and production growth of the Republic of South Africa.

Production and Acreage:


Southern Africa Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
SOUTHERN AFRICA
GROWTH TOTALS
South Africa

Acreage
2005

2007

2012 Production

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

740

800

900

1,120

1,140

3.0

0.5

3.5

Angola

10

10

0.0

0.0

Zimbabwe

0.1

0.1

Others

740

810

910

1,124

1,146

3.1

0.5

3.6

Southern Africa

Southern Africa Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012


SOUTHERN AFRICA

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

PRODUCTION

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

South Africa

1.10

0.44

1.54

2.10

0.20

2.30

3.00

0.50

3.50

Angola

0.01

0.01

0.00

0.00

0.01

0.01

Zimbabwe

0.00

0.00

0.05

0.05

Others

1.1

0.4

1.6

2.1

0.2

2.3

3.1

0.5

3.6

Southern Africa

Total

Southern Africa Overview:


Republic of South Africa
At the time this report is being written, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) remains the only country in
southern Africa with a commercial Highbush blueberry growing and export industry. There has been no
news from trials in Angola. Meanwhile, trials in Zimbabwe continue and there are rumors that some
commercial activity may be underway there. The growing and exporting of RSAs blueberries remains
largely consolidated and focused on quality counter seasonal fruit which has allowed up to now a point of
differentiation in the target market of the UK. New players are beginning to enter the industry however,
though progress can be difficult due to the extreme difficulty in passing through legal and phyto-sanitary
barriers to introducing plant material to the country. The industry remains small but has been recognized
in the market for it quality during the Argentinian and Chilean seasons. This interest in RSA fruit is likely
to drive an increase in activity and the number of players in the coming years.
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 49 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 Southern Africa


Highbush Production

2012 Southern Africa


Highbush Acreage Growth

Also worth noting is the continued development of a small but growing domestic market for blueberries in
South Africa. As the market demand has grown, imports from the Northern Hemisphere have continued
as mentioned in the 2010 report. As in other exporting countries with strong natural resource extraction
industries like Chile, the value of the Rand remains a challenge for competitive exporters in the fruit
business. Labor reliability can also be a challenge in RSA, as can bureaucracy. Challenges aside, the unique
growing conditions in South Africa, its attractive market window, product quality and proximity to Europe,
the Middle East and South Asian markets make it likely that RSA will see continued growth.

Southern Africa Trends:


Continued Gradual Growth in RSA: Barriers to rapid growth remain but there is momentum for
continued growth.
RSA Market: South African consumer demand for blueberries continues to grow.
New Regions?: Although only trials are underway at this time, a number of contributors noted that other
countries in Southern Africa could one day host commercial blueberry production.

Asia & The Pacific


Data Review:
The growth of Chinas acreage and production overshadows the data from Asia & Pacific region
Asia led by China, has shifted from being a small producer to the Acreage leader in the Asia & Pacific
territory in less than 5 years.
Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand are the only countries with commercial production in the
region

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 50 of 76

2012 Asia & Pacific Highbush Production

2012 Asia & Pacific Highbush Acreage Growth

2012 Asia & Pacific Fresh Production

2012 Asia & Pacific Processed Production

The Pacific

2012 Asia & Pacific Acreage Distribution

Data Review:
Pacific regions production
continues to grow, led by
Australia
Pacific region reported
acreage growth has been rapid,
though from a small base, almost doubling in 2 years since 2010
Australian production has doubled since 2008
Australian acreage has increased by nearly 70% in two years since 2010
New Zealands acreage and production have continued with incremental growth
Fresh remains the focus for the Pacific regions production and acreage
Some trialing is underway in countries such as Indonesia

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 51 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Production and Acreage:


Pacifica Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
PACIFIC
GROWTH TOTALS

Acreage
2005

2007

2012 Production

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

Australia

1,384

1,450

1,470

1,530

2,590

9.47

0.66

10.13

New Zealand

1,050

1,290

1,290

1,450

1,730

3.08

1.10

4.18

Indonesia

0.01

0.01

Philippines

10

10

2,434

2,750

2,770

2,982

Pacific

4,325 12.56

1.76 14.32

Pacifica Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012


PACIFIC
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Australia

4.40

0.88

5.28

5.70

0.90

6.60

9.47

0.66

10.13

New Zealand

2.00

1.50

3.50

2.00

1.50

3.50

3.08

1.10

4.18

0.01

0.01

0.01

0.01

6.4

2.4

8.8

7.7

2.4

10.1

12.6

1.8

14.3

Indonesia
Philippines

Pacific

Total

Pacific Overview:
Australia
With a population of 22 million people, the comparatively small market of Australia consumes a surprising
quantity of blueberries. Indeed, after the UK, Australia has some of the highest per capita consumption of
blueberries in the world, largely in fresh form. The health message is thoroughly entrenched and market
penetration is high. Supply of fresh blueberries is primarily domestic and from New Zealand due to
phytosanitary restrictions on imports from most other producing countries. Frozen imports to Australia
have been allowed from North America and Chile. As demand for blueberries continues to grow and
limitations on imports persist, existing producers are seeking to extend their seasons and new players are
entering the business. As most of Australias climate is suitable only for Southern Highbush and
Rabbiteyes, the primary production period in the country is September through December. Northern
Highbush is currently supplied from Tasmania and New Zealand. Competitive genetics have been tightly
controlled for most of the industrys history. As a result, the entrance of new players in blueberries has
been limited. Prices for blueberries are high in Australia, as are costs. Labor costs in the Australian
blueberry industry are some of the highest in the world, if not the highest. Some contributors have
expressed concern about the long term effects of the high cost structure built in to the industry. In the
meantime, demand remains strong for blueberries in Australia and the industry continues to grow.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 Pacific Highbush Production

Page 52 of 76

2012 Pacific Highbush Acreage Growth

New Zealand
New Zealands population, though comparatively quite small, is still familiar with blueberries and as a result
consumes a portion of its domestic production. The bulk of NZs production is exported however.
Historically NZs exports were geared toward the North American and Japanese markets. As the Chilean
industry has come to assume the dominant position it occupies today, NZ has turned to focus on the
domestic and Australian market while also seeking to service the quality conscious markets in Asia and the
Middle East. Most of NZs recent growth has been in the further south for late production, although
frosts have been a challenge. Some planting is reported to be underway elsewhere in the more traditional
regions as well. The greatest differentiating trait of the NZ industry is their creative and innovative
approach to farming the crop. NZ farms tend to incorporate mechanization in ways that are not
commonly seen and the focus on quality has helped ensure the industry has a place in the global market.

The Pacific Trends:


Australian market has some of the highest per capita consumption in the world
Demand from Asia is anticipated to impact the NZ and Australian industries
Obtaining access to the mainland China market is considered increasingly important for the Australian
and NZ industries

Asia
Data Review:
Asia has one the fastest growth rates in the world if reports are accurate
China is the fastest growing region in Asia
China production has increased by a factor of 6 since 2008, if data are correct
China acreage tripled in two years if reports are accurate
Japan production and acreage continues to grow incrementally new are plantings entering
production

South Korea has achieved commercial production, albeit comparatively small


Trials continue in other Asian countries

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 53 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Production and Acreage:


Asia Acreage Growth; 2012 Crop
ASIA
GROWTH TOTALS

Acreage
2005

2007

2012 Production

2008

2010

2012

Fresh

Process

Total

China

642

3,275

2,900

8,645

29,800

18.0

7.0

25.0

India

60

80

105

0.3

0.3

1,112

1,300

2,090

2,230

2,970

5.4

1.2

6.6

40

50

180

415

1.7

0.2

1.9

1,754

4,615

5,100

11,135

33,290

25.4

8.4

33.8

Japan
South Korea

Asia

Asia Production & Use Comparison: 2008 - 2012


ASIA
PRODUCTION

2008 Production

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Fresh

Process

China

1.76

2.30

4.06

3.00

3.60

6.60

18.00

7.00

25.00

India

0.20

0.20

0.30

0.30

Japan

4.00

0.05

4.05

4.90

0.20

5.10

5.40

1.20

6.60

South Korea

0.10

0.10

0.50

0.50

1.70

0.20

1.90

5.9

2.4

8.2

8.6

3.8

12.4

25.4

8.4

33.8

Asia

Total

Asia Overview:
China
It is extremely difficult to obtain accurate reports on true commercial acreage and production from
China. There appears to be a widespread tendency for exaggeration in government reporting.
Additionally, there exists the challenge of private companies reporting not only what has been executed, but
also what is planned for the future as present acreage and sometimes production. If the acreage growth
presented in this report is accurate, then the acreage has increased over 166% in the last 2 years. Similarly
in production figures, if these data are accurate then Chinas production increased by nearly 280% in two
years. Although this rate of growth is by no means impossible, it does call into question the accuracy of the
2010 data, the 2012 data or both. For this reason the author strongly recommends that China acreage and production
data presented in this report be treated as reflective of trends rather than hard data.
Note: Chinas growth in blueberries is led primarily by companies focused on supplying the
growing domestic demand not exports.
One of the dominant themes in discussion with contributors from all around the world for the 2012 report
was the enthusiasm for the potential of the Chinese market demand for blueberries. This does not
necessarily imply however that the world is easily serving this growing demand. While Chinese fresh
market demand continues to grow rapidly, the limitations on fresh imports to China significantly limit
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 54 of 76

availability of fresh product for much of the year in the Chinese market. Frozen imports from North
America and Chile are permitted and growing each year. The largest blueberry markets in China today are
in the largest cities, Beijing and Shanghai, where per capita consumption is estimated to be around 46 grams
(about 1.6 oz.) per person. Per capita consumption in greater China remains small, reportedly around 7
grams per person, and reflects the early stages of the developing market.
Domestic production is growing rapidly as corporations, businesses, growers and investors seek to serve
the booming market and capitalize on the opportunities the blueberry industry provides. Many of these
opportunities are not solely in the production and sale of the fruit, but also come in the form of other
benefits which reflect the uniqueness of China.
Drivers behind regional distribution: Commercial blueberry acreage is growing in numerous Chinese
provinces. This regional distribution is driven by a number of factors. The first driver for production
developing in various provinces is the predictable effort to take advantage of the local growing conditions.
Less familiar for other parts of the world is the drive to serve metropolitan population centers which are
nearby. As logistics and cold chain can be a
2012 Asia Highbush Production
challenge in China, producing closer to
population centers is a great advantage
compared to other countries. The final and
most unique driver in China is driven by local
and provincial governments seeking to
support the development of local blueberry
industries, in an effort to position their local
polity as a leader in Chinese blueberries. This
trend is an excellent indicator of the image and
growing popularity that blueberries have achieved in the country. Beyond the economic benefits of
developing high value crops in an area through tax revenues, generating average worker wages and
attracting investment, positioning a region as a blueberry county or blueberry city allows the area to be
associated with the positive image of blueberries. In brief, the central planning involving government
and private sector cooperation characteristic of Chinas economy is also alive in the Chinese
blueberry industry. As China rapidly develops and the ranks of the wealthy and middle classes swell, the
enthusiasm and awareness of blueberries is growing quickly.
Much of the Highbush blueberry development in China is driven less by agribusiness enterprises and often
more by local government initiatives and/or commercial real estate development ventures that incorporate
blueberries into their projects. The inclusion of high value agricultural crops such as blueberries in land
development initiatives often aids in the acquisition of larger tracks of land for commercial and residential
developments with provincial governments. As a result, many blueberry projects in China today are
appendages to commercial and residential real estate developments. Profits in the Chinese agriculture
sector are subject to highly attractive tax regimes and as a result provide an appealing investment. As
blueberries represent to many the pinnacle of high value agriculture endeavors, there is keen interest in
adding them to the portfolio for large and successful companies in China.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 55 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

New players from other sectors of the booming Chinese economy are also entering the economically and
politically attractive blueberry industry. A number of the leading Highbush blueberry projects in China are
led by large and well known firms in technology, industrial manufacturing and commercial development.
In 2012 a large private holding company with well-known companies and branding in the technology sector
purchased the majority of the shares of Chinas largest producer/marketer of blueberries. It appears likely
that much of Chinas blueberry growth may be led less by traditional farming companies as in other
countries, and more by large corporate entities seeking to diversify into agriculture or take advantage of
land access for other commercial development via the crop.
Regional Distribution: Planting distribution in China is difficult to track and reports, as stated above,
vary greatly between sources. For the sake of simplicity, the author proposes dividing them into the
following categories: Far Northeast, Northern Coast, Coastal South and Inland South. The following
provides a brief outline of these different regions, their provincial makeup and what differentiates them:

Far Northeast: Consists of Heilongjiang, Jilin and the northern reaches of Liaoning province. These
growing regions are characterized by hot, humid and wet summers and extreme winter cold with heavy
spring frosts. These adverse growing conditions have significantly limited the options for which
varieties can be grown and the management systems that can be implemented. Many of these fields are
not true Highbush blueberries but rather half highs and cultivated lowbush (see below and the
Global Wild section of the report). These types of factors make evaluating Chinas true Highbush
acreage very difficult.

Northern Coast: Consisting of the growing areas in Shandong and coastal Liaoning provinces. If
China was to have a flagship growing region, Shandong province would be the leading candidate.
Although still very cold in the winter months and beset with challenging spring frost events and hard
dry winds, Shandong and coastal Liaoning are able to grow most Northern Highbush varieties and are
able to take advantage of their reasonable proximity to both leading markets in Beijing and Shanghai.
Many growers have invested in tunnels and greenhouses both to protect their crop and achieve earlier
production. The varieties of focus at this time are Duke and Bluecrop. Most of Chinas largest
blueberry operations are headquartered in Shandong province near the cities of Qingdao, Rizhao and
Weifang. The monsoon rains are common during the summer harvest season in this region.

Coastal South: Blueberry growing in this region is concentrated in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang
and Fujian provinces. A separate group of university researchers led the early development of the
industry. Most of the growing in these areas consists of traditional Southern Highbush and older
Rabbiteye varieties. A number of larger plantings led by commercial real estate companies are
underway.

Inland South: Of the four regions created in this report, the author has the least information about
this area. The region consists of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. Most of these areas are
truly lower chill regions and planting reportedly consists of Southern Highbush and Rabbiteyes.

Note on Chinese Wild and Cultivated Lowbush: The inclusion of the production figures on the
Chinese Wild and Cultivated Lowbush make estimating Highbush acreage and production all the more

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 56 of 76

difficult in an already opaque and fractured industry. Chinese Wild and Cultivated Lowbush blueberries are
included in the Global Wild section of this report.
Note on land, water, varieties and labor in China: Although blueberries are an attractive crop to
develop in many provinces, this does not necessarily mean that the ideal land and water is available for the
projects. Policies of the central government in
2012 Asia Highbush Acreage Growth
China dictate that the majority of Chinas best land
and water be reserved for the production of key
staple food crops in the interest of food security.
As a result, a large portion of the blueberry fields in
China today are planted on what most in the global
industry would consider very marginal sites.
Additionally, although China has a large population
and labor is notably inexpensive, local supply of
labor in different growing areas can be a limiting
factor. Many farming operations encounter
limitations on their ability to grow when local communities cannot supply sufficient labor to harvest more
acres than currently planted. As transporting labor to farms where it is needed is not customary in China,
the size of farms is often limited by the size of the labor pool within walking or bicycle distance. The
continued exodus of workers from rural areas to work in the factories near urban centers also limits labor
supply. The absence of mechanization in Chinas existing blueberry operations exacerbates these issues.
Also challenging for the Chinese industry is poor plant quality, the mixing of varieties and lack of available
competitive varieties. The same intellectual property issues which pervade the technology, music or movie
industry are a concern in agriculture and blueberries are no exception. China is simply not a safe place to
introduce proprietary varieties and there is little benefit to doing so. The variety mixing issue stems from
rapid growth without the presence of an experience professional nursery sector. All of these issues
combined have led to challenges in Chinese blueberry farms achieving competitive yields and quality.
These issues look likely to persist in the coming years. For this reason it is important to recognize that
high acreage numbers in China today and in the coming years will not necessarily result in high
production numbers.
Predictions for Chinese acreage growth are astounding if the numbers are taken literally. Many
government and private reports alike reference claims that 150,000+ acres will be planted in China in the
next decade making China the world leader in blueberries. Considering the information in the previous
paragraphs and the general challenge every industry faces when they undergo rapid growth, the term
leader is likely best to be taken lightly. The author believes that it could be possible that there may be
100,000 or more acres planted in the next decade in China. The likelihood that the majority of these acres
would be globally competitive in yields, cost and quality is a different story.
Food safety is a major concern among Chinese consumers. This issue drives retailers and consumers to be
cautious with domestic produce, and eager for imports from countries with reputations for safe food
supply. This potentially an advantage for exporters, even as Chinese production increases.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 57 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

These limitations on productivity and consistency in quality in China leave room for continued growth in
supply via imports. The Chinese fresh and process market is clearly not solely an opportunity for counter
seasonal supply from countries like Chile, but possibly from northern Hemisphere countries as well. China
has the worlds largest population, the worlds second largest economy and the fasted growing middle and
wealthy classes in the world. Chinese consumers are health conscious, demand quality and believe in eating
healthy food. Considering the continued market growth and the challenges in achieving domestic
volumes to meet demand, the Chinese market looks to present a significant opportunity for
exports from many producing areas if and when market access can be achieved.
India
India also presents exciting medium to long term potential as a consuming market. The growing middle
and wealthy classes in urban centers such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi all represent examples of market
opportunities. With many Indians returning from careers abroad in North America, Australia and Europe
to work in the growing sectors of the Indian economy, they often bring with them a familiarity with
blueberries. Planting in India still consists primarily of trials, although there are reports of small
commercial plantings underway. A number of these plantings are rumored to be connected to Indian
blueberry grower communities in British Colombia and Australia. In the two years since market access for
North American fresh blueberries has been achieved in India, thanks to the work of the USHBC and TJP
Market Development, shipments have continued as exporters explore the market. Growing the fresh
market in India is not without its difficulties, as cold chain in the country is limited and retail systems with
centralized distribution systems have yet to develop. In cities near ports where freezer storage is available,
there has been success reported in shipping frozen product. Contributors who discussed India all generally
referenced the opportunity in developing markets for more shelf stable products in India. As land
ownership is very fragmented in India and there is limited large scale professional agriculture production in
the country, India with its growing urban consumer base presents a market opportunity in the coming
years.
Japan
Japan has now earned the position of the established blueberry market of Asia. Per capita consumption
continues to grow in the country with an aging population and some of the highest consumer purchasing
power in the developed world.
Domestic production in Japan has continued to grow quite rapidly for a country with limited large scale
farming. Production remains fresh focused and the majority of plantings are in Southern Highbush and
Rabbiteyes, as the climatic conditions in the largest growing regions is akin to that of Georgia or Buenos
Aires province in Argentina. The arrival of summer monsoon rains stops short fresh production by late
June early July, leaving room for summer imports from north America. Some production in the northern
reaches is timed for after the rainy season. The average size of a blueberry grower in Japan is less than 1
hectare, making the growing acreage number all the more impressive for the country. A large percentage of
these fields are u-pick, which is quite popular in Japan. Many of these growers are reportedly still learning
the crop and have not yet identified the best varieties and management systems for their growing
conditions.
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 58 of 76

Consumer awareness of blueberries is very high in Japan and demand for locally produced product when
available is extremely high. Being price competitive with imported product can be a challenge for many
Japanese growers, but the desire for Japanese blueberries often balances the price differential. A number of
promotional efforts are underway to promote local Japanese blueberries in schools and elderly
communities.
The majority of imports to Japan are sourced from Chile, the US and Canada. Australia was also a key
supplier to Japan until recently when Australian blueberry imports became subject to phytosanitary
restrictions, which has halted imports from Australia.
Impact of the 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Meltdown: The Tohoku earthquake,
Tsunami and Fukushima meltdown of March 2011 had a devastating impact not only on the many
residents of communities affected by the disasters, but also on a large number of Japanese blueberry
growers. Many of the farms in the wake of the Tsunami were those of Japanese blueberry growers.
Additionally, a large number of blueberry farms were in range of the Fukushima power plant. The
downstream impact of the meltdown of the reactor has had a negative impact on consumption of
blueberries from this region. The publication of studies showing higher levels of radiation in blueberry
fruit, likely due to increased uptake perhaps due to high antioxidant levels, than that of other crops grown
in the area has made it difficult for these growers to sell their crop. This has been devastating for growers
seeking to recover from the damage wrought by the earthquake and tsunami combined with a general
economic downturn after the disasters. Many of Japans blueberry growers were impacted by the disasters
of 2011 and sadly, many continue to be so. Many of the growing regions in the world have faced
challenges in recent years, but none like the devastation that faced many Japanese blueberry growers.
South Korea
As South Korean blueberry demand has boomed, domestic production has continued to develop. The
Korean market has some interesting traits which are unique and worth noting. Many consumers purchase
blueberries in supermarkets as in other parts of the world, usually seeking out high quality fresh and frozen
polybag fruit, similar to Japanese retailers. However, other forms of purchasing are also common. For
example, many Korean consumers purchase blueberries via television shopping shows and online
purchases both of fresh and frozen blueberries. Many local growers sell fresh blueberries directly to
consumers not only via local farm stands and u-pick operations, but via online sales on their websites.
Korean frozen & fresh demand & Tariffs: As domestic fresh production remains limited and fresh
imports have also historically been highly regulated or blocked through phytosanitary barriers, IQF frozen
blueberries have become a popular item in South Korea. As the market has grown, so have imports.
Initially this frozen market was served by North American growers and packers. As Chile has entered the
processed industry however, they have come enjoy a competitive position in the market with lower tariffs.
Chile is a number of years ahead of the US in a tariff reduction regime via a bilateral trade agreement, and
as a result the price of processed Chilean blueberries is lower after applying tariffs than North American
blueberries. Fresh market access to Korea is currently limited to Chile and the State of Oregon in the US
(see US section on Oregon access to Korea).

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 59 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

South Korea domestic production is primarily concentrated in the northern half of the country in
Northern Highbush varieties. Some reports indicate that Korean acreage may be much higher than the numbers in
this report, potentially twice as high as reflected in the data. Southern Highbush production is concentrated in the
southerly reaches of the country. The timing of harvest in Korea begins in late spring and continues
through July. Summer production can be a challenge in Korea, similar to Japan and China, with monsoon
rains often making harvest and quality difficult. During Oregons first commercial export season to Korea,
domestic Korean producers took a competitive position on pricing in response to the arrival of the new
imports.

Asia Trends:

Demand for blueberries throughout Asia is growing fast and is predicted to accelerate

Asias production growth is not on track to meet the growth of market demand

Chinese production is growing, but yields are not likely to reach the norms of other countries anytime
soon

Chinese production growth is not likely to increase as rapidly as the acreage increases

China could become the worlds largest market for blueberries in the next decade - demand is

on track to exceed domestic supply

Japanese consumption and local production continues to grow

Many growers in Japan still suffering after the disasters of 2011

South Korean market has become the next Japan for exporters

Indias market is likely to grow more gradually until the right blueberry products that fit the needs and
limitations of the market can be identified

Asian consumers are often more selective than North Americans about berry quality and flavor

Global Highbush Blueberries


Data Review:
Global Highbush blueberry volumes surpassed 1 Billion Pounds in 2012
Global blueberry production growth is accelerating Global Highbush production grew by 146.3
million lbs. between 2008 and 2010, and nearly 275 million lbs. between 2010 and 2012

Global Highbush production increased by nearly 70% between 2008 and 2012
Rapid Growth in Fresh and Process of the 275 million lbs. increase over the last two years, 49%
went process and 51% was fresh, a near even split.
o This development marks a clear break from the dominance of fresh in recent years

Fresh remains the driver for global usage but process is still growing fast
The Americas represents 85% of global Highbush production
Growth in global process volumes is led by the Pacific Northwest of North America, the
Southeastern US and Chile

South America, especially Chile, is now a player in the global process market

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 60 of 76

South America acreage growth was static between 2010 and 2012
North America, Europe and Asian acreage is still growing rapidly
Asia is growing very fast from a low reference point, but is likely to encounter challenges in
achieving commercial volumes and competitive supply systems in the near future

Global Highbush Acreage and Production


WORLD ANNUAL
GROWTH TOTALS

2005

2007

2008

2010

2012

North America

71,075

85,617

95,597

108,931

123,635

303.0

188.3

491.3

342.2

257.4

599.6

South America

18,039

33,650

39,703

43,950

43,640

137.1

16.3

153.4

190.5

81.8

272.4

9,736

16,705

18,038

20,780

24,101

68.6

12.5

81.1

90.6

7.7

98.2

Europe

Acreage

2010 Production

2012 Production

Fresh Process Total

Fresh Process

Total

Med. & N. Africa

215

355

672

1,098

2.2

0.0

2.2

5.4

0.1

5.5

Southern Africa

740

810

910

1,124

1,146

2.1

0.2

2.3

3.1

0.5

3.6

4,188

7,365

7,870

14,117

37,615

16.3

6.2

22.5

38.0

10.2

48.1

103,778 144,362 162,473 189,574 231,235 529.3 223.6 752.9

669.8

Asia & Pacific

World Acreage

World Acreage Distribution 2010

World Acreage Distribution 2012

Note the changes in world acreage distribution between 2010 and 2012
World Acreage Increases 1995-2012

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

357.7 1,027.4

Page 61 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Global Highbush Crop and Usage: 2008 vs. 2010 vs. 2012
WORLD ANNUAL
PRODUCTION

2008 Production
Fresh

Process

2010 Production

Total

Fresh

Process

2012 Production

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

North America

229.40

186.35 415.75 303.00

188.30 491.30 342.20

257.40

599.60

South America

92.10

23.03 115.13 137.07

16.33 153.40 190.54

81.84

272.38

Europe

54.43

1.96

56.39

68.64

12.50

81.14

90.57

7.65

98.22

Med. & N. Africa

0.81

0.81

2.18

0.04

2.23

5.42

0.10

5.52

Southern Africa

1.11

0.44

1.55

2.10

0.20

2.30

3.06

0.50

3.56

Asia & Pacific

12.27

4.73

17.00

16.30

6.20

22.50

37.96

10.16

48.12

World Production

390.1

216.5

606.6

529.3

223.6

752.9

669.8

357.7 1,027.4

Global Highbush Summary & Review:


The greatest standout of this years global data is the rate of volume increases. The 2010-12 world
Highbush volume increase of near 275 million lbs. is close to twice the volume increase witnessed in the
previous 2 years between 2008 and 2010. This volume growth is unprecedented. The accelerated
production increase is the clear result of the extensive planting over the last decade coming into
fruition.
2012 World Fresh Production

2012 World Processed Production

The rapid increase in processed volumes combined with a large Wild crop in 2012 (see next
section) help explain the volatility in the 2012 process market. The arrival of Chile as a player in the
process deal will likely increase the competitiveness in the market.
Considering the rate of volume increases in both fresh and process globally, it will be all the more
important for industry organizations and private companies alike to promote awareness of blueberries,
open new markets, lower trade barriers and develop new consumption.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 World Highbush Production by Region

2012 Total World Highbush


Fresh vs. Processed

Page 62 of 76

2012 World Acreage Growth by Region

World Acreage Increases 1995-2012

The following pie charts compare 2010 with 2012 global data for acreage, fresh, processed and total production.
Note the shifts which have occurred in the last 2 years.
2010 World Acreage Distribution

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Acreage Distribution

Page 63 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2010 Total World Production

2012 Total World Production

2010 Total World Fresh Production

2012 Total World Fresh Production

2010 Total World Processed Production

2012 Total World Processed Production

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 64 of 76

Global Wild/Lowbush Blueberries


Global Wild Crop
2008 Million Lbs.

Fresh

Process

2010 Million Lbs.

Total

Fresh

Process

2012 Million Lbs.

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

Quebec

2.0

78.0

80.0

2.0

28.0

30.0

1.0

60.0

61.0

PEI

0.0

9.8

9.8

0.0

9.0

9.0

0.0

14.0

14.0

Nova Scotia

0.0

40.0

40.0

0.0

27.5

27.5

0.0

45.0

45.0

New Brunswick

0.0

33.7

33.7

0.0

25.0

25.0

0.0

35.0

35.0

New Foundland

0.0

1.7

1.7

0.0

0.5

0.5

0.0

1.0

1.0

Maine

0.5

89.5

90.0

0.5

64.5

65.0

0.5

100.0

100.5

China

0.0

6.6

6.6

0.0

10.0

10.0

1.0

9.0

10.0

Europe

0.0

25.0

25.0

2.0

15.0

17.0

4.0

39.0

43.0

Total Wild

2.5

284.3

286.8

4.5

179.5

184.0

6.5

303.0

309.5

Wild Crop Review:


The Wild industry had an exceptional crop year in 2012. Virtually all major producing regions saw
significant increases over previous years. This is largely due to cooperative weather conditions and high
harvest figures amidst a buoyant market for Wild blueberries. As mentioned in the section below, Wild
blueberries are increasingly treated as a niche product. North America is the clear global leader in Wild
blueberries, although Europe and China all have their own wild species which are also harvested for the
specialty wild blueberry market.
North American Wild:
North Americas Wild blueberry industry has become highly consolidated with four major companies
dominating the production and marketing of the crop. The year to year variability of the Wild crop has led
to concern among buyers who need to secure supply for product which utilize Wild and/or smaller
blueberries. Consolidation among producers and sellers has also had a stabilizing effect on the market and
pricing. North Americas Wild blueberries are increasingly treated as a niche product and sellers have
been able to maintain pricing successfully in even with an larger crop and position it apart from
Highbush.
2012 marked a notable separation between Wild and Highbush markets, especially considering the global
nature of the market. Wild blueberries maintained a surprising separation in pricing structure and
distinction in the processed market, particularly in North America. Pricing for the 2012 crop was
notably above Highbush, reportedly in a range of $1.65-$1.75 for finished product. A number of
contributors to this report noted the significance of this trend. Historically, Highbush and Wild volumes
have had a profound impact on one anothers respective pricing. Down lowbush volumes arguably
helped hold Highbush pricing up in 2010 for example. Yet in 2012, the Wild blueberry crop saw a good
crop and experienced high demand largely independent of what was happening in the Highbush processed
market. Informed contributors to this report believe this trend is likely to continue.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 65 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Contributors also predict that acreage of Wild blueberries is likely to continue growing gradually as land
continues to be cleared and plantings increased in areas like Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and
Quebec. The Wild industry is not without its challenges however. The Spotted Winged Drosophila is
potentially a much larger challenge for Wild than for the Highbush industry.
Chinese Wild and Cultivated Wild
Vaccinium Uliginosum L. and Vaccinium Vitis Idaea are native to China, particularly the forested northern
provinces of the country. The native Vaccinium Uliginosum is often dark redish blue, red or dark blue and
often referred to as (pronounced Lan Mei). Lan Mei is the most common word used for
blueberries in China. Meanwhile the Vaccinium Vitis Idaea, or Lingonberries, are a deep red and also
native to the northern reaches of Europe, especially Scandinavia. These berries are harvested most often
by villagers who live near the forested areas where these species grow. The fruit is then sold on to brokers
who process the fruit or resell it to processors who sell the finished product. Most of the fruit is now sold
domestically, often as a health product in teas, powders, dried fruit, extracts and even cosmetics. Annual
production is largely contingent on the amount harvested from the wild and the impact of winter weather
on the crop.
Another interesting segment of Chinese domestic blueberry production is the Cultivated Lowbush
industry. In the far northern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and the continental north of Liaoning the
extreme winters have proven a challenge for
2012 Global Wild Overview
traditional highbush production. Early trials
conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s,
especially by Jilin Agricultural University, showed
that the cold hardy Lowbush and Half High
cultivars were more likely to crop and survive in the
harsh conditions. Most of these varieties are
considered ornamentals in the rest of the world
while a few others represent exemplary selections
from Wild patches in North America sourced from
the USDA germplasm repository in the 1990s. Cold hardiness, increased likelihood of protection from
snow cover (due to plant height) and apparent tolerance of difficult soil and moisture conditions have led
to the large scale planting of Cultivated Lowbush (in rows) and Half High blueberries. Because of the
mixed information available from China, it is likely that most of the cultivated lowbush
production from China is represented in the Highbush production and acreage figures for China.
European Wild
The majority of the Wild Blueberries of Europe are commonly referred to as Bilberries (Vaccinium
Myrtillus) and grow wild in fields and forests of Central, northern and into the far reaches of eastern
Europe. Tracking the European Wild crop is perennially difficult as the fruit is generally harvested by local
people who live near the wild patches who then sell the fruit on to brokers. Many countries, especially
those in Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and other eastern European countries have long
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 66 of 76

traditions of consuming Bilberries in jams and baked goods, often as seasonal holiday foods. The Bilberry
Bun in Poland and Bilberry preserves of Scandinavia, Germany and even the UK have a long cultural
tradition.
Reports from Poland indicate that the Polish harvest of Wild Vacc. Myrtillus was around 10,000 metric
tonnes (just over 22 million lbs.) which was primarily destined for the domestic market for confectionary
and baked goods (such as the Bilberry Bun). In Russia, Ukraine and Scandinavia, the numbers are more
difficult to track, but indications are that the harvest was at least an additional 6,000 metric tons (over 13.2
million pounds). As the economy was depressed in parts of Europe in 2012, many people, especially those
living in rural areas, were inclined to go to the forests to harvest wild blueberries and capture additional
income. The harsh winter and early spring freezes of 2012 reportedly had a deleterious impact on the
Vaccinium Myrtillus crop indicating that the harvest would have been even larger if there had been more
fruit in the wild. This high harvest in a down crop year is another indicator of the increasing demand for
blueberries throughout continental Europe and Russia.

Global Crop: All Highbush and Wild Blueberries Combined


2008 - 2012 Combined Highbush and Wild
2008 Million Lbs.

Fresh

Process

2010 Million Lbs.

Total

Fresh

Process

2012 Million Lbs.

Total

Fresh

Process

Total

North America

231.9

439.1

671.0

305.5

342.8

648.3

343.7

512.4

856.1

South America

92.1

23.0

115.1

137.1

16.3

153.4

190.5

81.8

272.4

Europe

54.4

27.0

81.4

70.6

27.5

98.1

94.6

46.7

141.2

Med. & N. Africa

0.8

0.0

0.8

2.2

0.0

2.2

5.4

0.1

5.5

Southern Africa

1.1

0.4

1.6

2.1

0.2

2.3

3.1

0.5

3.6

12.3

11.3

23.6

16.3

16.2

32.5

39.0

19.2

58.1

392.62

500.81

893.43

533.80

403.07

936.87

676.25

Asia & Pacific


TOTAL

The following charts compare the global division of


processed blueberry production first isolating Highbush
and then combining Wild and Highbush volumes and
grouping them by region.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

660.65 1,336.90

2012 World Highbush & Wild


Production by Region

Page 67 of 76

2012 World Highbush


Processed Production

2012 World Highbush


Fresh vs. Processed Production

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 World Highbush & Lowbush


Processed Production

2012 World Highbush & Wild


Fresh vs. Processed Production

Global Highbush and Wild Blueberries Combined Standout Data:

North America leads global Highbush and Wild production

North Americas Wild and Highbush process crop exceeded 500 million lbs. in 2012

The combined Highbush and Wild crop in the Americas surpassed 1 Billion pounds for the first
time in 2012.

Highbush and Wild figures combined reflect an equal division of fresh and process for the 2012
global crop

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 68 of 76

Global Figures: Global Overview of Key Data


Note in the table below that the countries with the highest production saw significant planting between 2005 and 2010 in
particular. Also note countries with lower production but which have recently added significant acres.
2005
Acres

2007
Acres

2008
Acres

2010
Acres

2012
Acres

2010 Million Lbs.


FR

PR

2012 Million Lbs.

Total

FR

PR

Total

United States

57,895

67,572

76,492

86,248

95,065 242.0 154.3 396.3 279.9 192.3 472.2

Chile

11,120

22,700

26,908

32,250

33,960 109.5

14.0 123.5 154.5

65.9 220.4

British Columbia

13,000

17,500

18,300

21,020

25,500

56.0

34.0

90.0

50.0

65.0 115.0

Argentina

6,919

9,400

10,900

9,500

7,410

24.6

2.0

26.6

31.3

14.2

45.5

Poland

3,954

6,700

6,900

7,800

8,645

13.8

9.9

23.8

22.3

3.4

25.7

642

3,275

2,900

8,645

29,800

3.0

3.6

6.6

18.0

7.0

25.0

3,954

4,400

5,063

5,300

5,580

18.7

1.2

19.9

20.1

1.9

22.0

Spain

494

1,870

2,100

2,600

3,050

17.6

0.0

17.6

21.5

0.2

21.7

Mexico & Cen. Am.

180

545

805

1,663

3,070

5.0

0.0

5.0

12.3

0.2

12.5

1,384

1,450

1,470

1,530

2,590

5.7

0.9

6.6

9.5

0.7

10.1

China
Germany

Australia
Top 10 Acreage

99,542 135,412 151,838 176,556 214,670 496.1 219.9 716.0 619.4 350.6 970.0

2012 Top Ten Highbush Acreage by Country

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 Top Ten Highbush Production


Fresh vs. Process

Page 69 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2012 Leading Varieties Globally


Category

Variety Names

High Chill

Duke, Bluecrop, Elliott, Draper, Aurora

Mid Chill

Legacy, Briggita

Low Chill

Oneal, Star, Sharpblue, Jewel, Misty,Emerald

No Chill

Biloxi, Private Programs

REs

Brightwell, Tifblue, Ochlockonee, Premier

New Product Introductions Using Blueberries


North America

New Product Introductions Using Blueberries


Worldwide

Foremost Global Trends


Consumption and production increasing globally:

European market beginning to grow

New centers of consumption developing around the globe: Asia (China, Korea, Taiwan), India, Middle
East, Russia, LATAM (Brazil and Mexico), Republic of South Africa

Chile is becoming a supplier in the processed industry.

Chinese consumption vs. Chinese production there will be a rough road to success and contributors
predict it will take more than 10 years to achieve competitive domestic supply

Challenges of Rapid Growth

Many fields in rapidly growing regions are likely to underperform in yields, efficiency, costs and quality

Rapid acreage growth will not necessarily result in high production in all regions

Global Pressure for Improved Quality

Driven by consumer demand, retailers and some shippers.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 70 of 76

Also driven by new genetics and growing regions which are affecting quality expectations (e.g. fresh
blueberries from Mexico vs. boat shipped blueberries from Chile)

Pests & Diseases

Continued expansion of the SWD fruit fly issue worldwide

In a global market it is nearly impossible to completely prevent the gradual movement of some pests
and diseases around the world.

As the number of acres of blueberries increases globally, as with any crop, the likelihood of more new
diseases discovering blueberries increases.

Additionally, increased regulations limiting available tools for controlling diseases, especially fungi and
bacteria which attack plants and fruit, existing maladies can become more of an issue such as
anthracnose and mummy berry in Europe.

Increased chemical resistance is predicted to increase in many blueberry specific diseases

New Growing Regions: bringing new solutions to meet market demand


This trend is taking shape in 2 forms:
1) New growing region utilizing existing traditional production systems and genetics
These new growing regions using traditional growing systems are developing primarily to meet new
demand in new parts of the world.
Chinese blueberry production growth is driven by strong domestic demand and limitations on
imports. Though there are many challenges on the production side to achieving competitive quality
and yields, the driver behind the growth is clear: Chinese consumers want blueberries.
Black Sea Region: Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and Middle Eastern consumers are aware of
blueberries and want them available just as they are in North American and European markets.
This is driving new plantings in what can generally be called traditional Northern Highbush and
mid chill growing systems.
2) New growing regions in new growing conditions utilizing new production systems and different
genetics.
These new growing regions are seizing the opportunities presented by new genetics and new
growing systems in areas with available resources and comparative or unique advantages in cost,
quality, labor, resources and/or market proximity. The best example is the nascent rise of low
latitude blueberries in countries such as Mexico.

Predictions: Global Highbush Crop Predictions


Markets
China is likely to be the worlds largest market for blueberries in 10 years
European market likely to begin a steady curve of consumption growth

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 71 of 76

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Latin America will be not only a major producer but an important market, especially Brazil, Mexico,
Colombia and Chile
Expect to see new centers of consumption develop. Likely candidates include: Saudi Arabia, United
Arab Emirates, and Russia.
Supply Side
Anticipate continued rapid volume growth, but not necessarily at the rate experienced between 2010
and 2012
Mexico and other low latitude countries like it will become suppliers in the next decade and challenge
the positions of regions which supply during the Fall, Winter and Spring months to the Northern
Hemisphere
Chile will continue to undergo a corrective period. Bottlenecks are likely to drive consolidation.
China will struggle to produce large volumes of fruit at competitive pricing and quality for at least the
next 5-10 years
Europes growth in consumption will require increased supply and drive growth in new or existing
regions best suited to deliver
Pacific Northwest is on track to lead in the Highbush processed market
Wild blueberries will occupy a niche position in the global market
Consumption Channels
Fresh consumption boom will continue globally
New products, which are more shelf-stable and require little or no cooling, will increase dramatically
Processed market will become more global and increasingly differentiate by quality usage will reach new
highs if pricing is manageable for buyers, supply is consistent, and producers and quality needs are met
Food service will be the next frontier in more mature markets

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 72 of 76

Global Highbush Crop Predictions by Region


World Production
Growth Predictions

2005

2007

2008

2009

2010

2007 Predictions

393.3

493.9

572.0

692.0

806.0

2008 Predictions

393.3

493.9

606.8

805.5

2010 Predictions

393.3

493.3

606.8

2012 Predictions

393.3

493.3

606.8

North America

305.0

358.0

South America

35.0

Europe

42.1

Med. & N. Africa


Southern Africa
Asia & Pacific

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

1,002.0

1,191.0

1,343.0

656.8

752.8

852.6

938.0

1,058.5

1,229.0

1,368.0

656.8

752.8

850.0

1,027.4

1,083.0

1,208.5

1,326.0

1,377.0

1,453.0

415.8

440.0

491.3

540.0

599.6

620.0

690.0

735.0

770.0

805.0

64.0

115.1

130.0

153.4

190.0

272.4

280.0

300.0

330.0

350.0

370.0

54.0

56.6

65.0

81.0

85.0

98.2

110.0

122.0

135.0

150.0

165.0

0.5

0.8

1.0

2.2

5.0

5.5

8.0

10.0

13.0

16.0

18.0

1.0

1.1

1.6

1.8

2.3

3.0

3.6

5.0

6.5

8.0

11.0

15.0

10.2

15.7

17.0

19.0

22.5

27.0

48.1

60.0

80.0

105.0

80.0

80.0

Note on 5 Year Growth Predictions: The above table outlines the data behind the graphs predicting
global production growth below. Predictions for global growth were made in 2007, 2008, 2010 and now in
2012. The details of the 2012 5 year projections are outlined in green below the cumulative figures for
each year. The previous years predictions are above it in bold. Note that the predictions for the next 5
years of growth, albeit trending upward, are not necessarily as pronounced as in the previous 5 years. This
is primarily due to the following factors:
1) Rapid Growth = Underperformance: Much of the acreage planted in the last 3-4 years has been
executed quickly and not all is likely to have competitive yields
2) Planting slowing in key territories: Planting is gradually slowing in some of most productive regions
(e.g. Chile, California, Argentina)
3) There is no such thing as a perfect season climatic and other disruptions are inevitable
4) Uncompetitive acreage likely to be phased out

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

Page 73 of 76

2008 World Production Growth Predictions

2012 World Production Growth Predictions

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

2010 World Production Growth Predictions

Global Market Growth

Conclusions
Supply & Production is Changing Fast, Demand & Consumption as Fast or Faster
The supply side of the global blueberry industry is indeed changing rapidly. New production regions are
entering the industry both in traditional growing conditions like China, Romania and the Republic of
Georgia and new frontier geographies in low latitudes such as Mexico and Peru. Established production
regions are retooling and professionalizing with new technologies and improved varieties. Global
production is increasing to meet heightened demand and seize the open opportunities which so many
growers, companies and investors see in the crop. Existing players are scaling up and newcomers to the
business arrive every year.
Blueberry production is increasing rapidly around the world. This presents serious challenges, even with
high demand and boisterous markets. Contributors agree that there will be disruptions and challenges,
winners and losers, and good and bad years. If recent frozen inventory movement is any indicator, price
points will be critical as well as quality, health message, product awareness and promotion. The enthusiasm
expressed in this report should be measured next to the challenges that will come with continued rapid
growth. That is the unsettling news.
There is certainly plenty of good news. Global Consumption is changing and expanding at breakneck
paces and in ways that few would have anticipated. New products utilizing blueberries are entering the
Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council

2012 World Blueberry Acreage & Production Report

Page 74 of 76

shelves around the world and often in markets where the fruit was largely unknown a decade ago.
Mainland Europe is finally beginning to wake from its slumber and catching the blue wave, while China is
on track to become one of the worlds largest consumers, if not the largest consumer of blueberries, within
a decade. Behind all this remains the open ended questions: What is adequate supply for the growing
global market and what is the ideal rate of growth? What type of product does the market of the future
really want? Where is it wanted? How will the industry tackle issues such as food safety and traceability?
How will different territories deal with labor availability and resource scarcity? Plenty of innovation is
underway and many of these problems tend to resolve themselves in time as free market forces run their
course. No doubt there will be some difficult years ahead with growing pains in familiar and not so familiar
places.
Contributors to this report have expressed buoyant optimism about the future, even in the face of the
difficulties mentioned throughout this document. Ultimately they are happy to be in the blueberry business
and involved in a crop which is recognized for its distinctive flexibility and ease of use, lustrous, fun
dynamic image and uniquely endowed with a positive health message. To paraphrase the words of so many
annual contributors, this is a great time to be in the blueberry industry.

Cort Brazelton

2013 North American Blueberry Council