Agronometrics in Charts: Lower volumes but better quality in sight for Chilean blueberries

In this installment of the 'Agronometrics In Charts' series, Sarah Ilyas surveys the progress of the Chilean blueberry season. Each week, the series looks at a different horticultural product, focusing on a specific origin or theme and visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

An estimated 98.228 tons of fresh blueberries from Chile are expected for the 2022-2023 season, according to the Chilean Blueberry Committee. The projection was made within the framework of the "Blueberries" block carried out at Fruittrade 2022. Peak arrivals in the US market are expected around the last week of December and the first week of January. 

At the beginning of the year, Chilean exporters of fresh blueberries reached an agreement to implement a charter service to the US market called "Blueberry Express." The service includes charter ships by virtue of which a percentage of the cargo will be transported in refrigerated warehouses, which would guarantee the maintenance of the cold chain, additionally services at the port of destination would ensure rapid delivery to customers, optimizing the arrival of the fruit to the consumer. The estimated volumes for the 2022-23 season have decreased by 8% compared to last season, when exports reached 107.187 tons. The main cause of the drop in volumes is the industry's rigorous focus on supplying only premium quality blueberries to its exports.tion

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here).

Frozen blueberry exports are expected to increase, reaching 60 thousand tons or more, according to Isabel Quiroz, executive director of iQonsulting. This represents an increase of more than 14% compared to the previous year, maintaining the growth trend and also the diversification of markets. The frozen blueberry from Chile maintains the sweet flavor of the fruit, which, added to a majority percentage of manual harvest, favors the quality that is appreciated and recognized in the world”, he added.

Prices in the last season saw a sharp drop between weeks 3 and 8 (from $32,33 per pack to $12,75 per pack), before stabilizing at $10,50 per pack in weeks 9 and 10. In line with Due to the expected decrease in volumes this season, prices could be expected to be more or less similar or slightly higher compared to the previous season.

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Lower temperatures have improved the quality of the fruit this season and the increased availability of labor has increased efficiency within the supply chain. To maintain competitive advantage and the growing demand for Chilean blueberries, new technological tools must be prioritised. Thus, a study was conducted to evaluate and value the useful life and quality of eleven varieties (both new and traditional) currently used in the Chilean industry for export. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential postharvest life of these varieties using refrigeration and the use of perforated bags as base technologies during two simulated transport and marketing periods. “Our number 1 priority is to deliver the highest quality blueberries to our international markets. Planting and exporting the right varieties is key." says Andrés Armstrong, Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee.

In our 'In Charts' series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by doing click here.

All US domestic farm product prices represent the cash market at the point of shipment (ie, packing house/climate-controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, price data represents the spot market at the port of entry.

You can track the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool created to help the industry make sense of the massive amounts of data professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and graphics in this article helpful, please feel free to visit us at www.agronometrics.com , where you can easily access these same charts, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

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