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European production and consumption of blueberries

The Belgian research centre pcfruit conducted research into the profitability of growing blueberries. The current (global) market was examined and future opportunities assessed, reports the Boerenbond Farmers Association. Firstly, global production, consumption, exports and imports were mapped.

The United States is the world's leading producer. However, in recent years, the Americans have lost some of their market share. There has been steady growth in Asia and Central America, so 2016 could be the first year in which North America would account for less than 50% of new plantations.

After the United States, the largest producers of blueberries are Canada and Chile. There is also a significant expansion of the area dedicated to this product in Europe. Between 2012 and 2016, it grew by 65%, and production almost doubled.

Increase in consumption
The growth in production is linked to the strong increase in consumption. From 2006 to 2010, growth was somewhat limited: from around 60,000 tonnes in 2006 to 80,000 tonnes in 2010. Since then, however, consumption has increased significantly: in the period up to 2017, it almost doubled in Europe.

This growth has been due first and foremost to the many health benefits of blueberry . On average, Belgians eat about 441 g of blueberries per year. In the United States, more than 1 kg per person. Based on average consumption, there is therefore still room for growth for the Belgian population.

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Price formation
The research also analysed the prices of blueberries in shops, in Belgium. Those between April 2018 and April 2019 were considered.

In Figure 2, you can see that Delhaize and Albert Heijn's prices are relatively constant. Those of Colruyt, Aldi and the weekly market fluctuate more throughout the year.

Extension of cultivation
It is not only the cultivation of blueberries in the open field that is increasing. More and more blueberries are also being cultivated off-site. This cultivation method not only allows more flexibility, but also the possibility of extending production in a modular manner. It also allows cultivation in any type of location. The disadvantage of cultivation above ground (on substrate) is that conventional open-field cultivation allows higher yields.

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Read the full article: Europe's area dedicated to blueberries is growing rapidly

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Photo by Aliona Gumeniuk on Unsplash

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