07 Oct 2023

Blueberries at Fruit Attraction 2023: opportunities still outperform challenges


Fruit Attraction has just caught the berry industry in tough period due to the major shortage of Peruvian blueberries. 

Peruvian blueberries were short even at the stand of Agrovision at Fruit Attraction 2023

But this has not dampened the general mood of the visitors and the exhibitors, who found the Madrid event very interesting and stimulating.

Nikos Genalis: water and climate challenges are not weakening the enthusiasm

According to Nikos Genalis, Operations Director (Europe, Middle East and North Africa) at United Exports, "Fruit Attraction has once again proven to be a resounding success. It is evident that there has been a substantial level of participation, particularly from the berry sector, with a notable emphasis on Spanish producers who have shown strong support for the Fruit Attraction event. 

This is reflected in the significantly larger booth spaces compared to those at the Berlin fair. The decision to favor this event is attributed to factors such as climatic suitability, food quality, and timing, which are more favorable to producers in the southern regions.

Nikos Genalis (first from left) with the OzBlu team in Fruit Attraction 2023

The predominant topic of discussion within the berry industry has been the concerning water shortage and its implications for the current season and future ones. Additionally, rising prices, primarily driven by labor costs, have presented significant challenges for sustaining operations and making long-term investments in the sector.

It's worth noting that Morocco continues to exhibit a highly aggressive approach to expansion, particularly in the blueberry segment. However, there have been setbacks due to exceptionally high temperatures in the southern regions of Morocco, resulting in potential losses of around 25 to 30% in blueberries and possibly raspberries.

Despite these challenges, the overall outlook for the sector remains healthy, characterized by enthusiasm, albeit tempered by some valid concerns."

Sekoya premium blueberries targeting 10% by 2027

Hans Liekens, Value Chain and Retail Manager at Sekoya Blueberries, interviewed on the second day of Fruit Attraction, revealed "It's another busy day as we navigate the fair. It's truly remarkable to witness the rapid growth of the blueberry market. I'm constantly amazed to see an increasing number of supermarkets embracing premium blueberries and expanding this category. One of the appealing aspects of events like this is the packed agenda, and the most exciting moments often emerge from unexpected meetings, making each visit thrilling."

Just two weeks ago, we were in Asia, and the trend for premium blueberries is global. I'm observing it in Europe across five to seven countries where we are in the final stages of negotiations to launch our premium quality stamp. Things are progressing at an impressive pace because delivering consistent quality is truly at the core of our mission.

By 2027, Sekoya aims to account for 10% of the market. This ambition is driven by the remarkable growth we've witnessed. Last year, we produced 20,000 tonnes, and by 2027, we anticipate reaching a production level of 200,000 tonnes. The market is expanding rapidly, both in terms of consumer demand and production capacity. We are committed to keeping pace with these developments."

The Peruvian season is showing the need of better varieties

Juan Antonio Lorenzo Sigüenza, Key Account Manager at Fall Creek, points out that "this year the Peruvian blueberry production didn't arrive on time and in volume. So prices have increased a lot since the summer. This means that everybody is eager for new planting, better varieties and better genetics and Fall Creek really has a point there. 

Juan Antonio Lorenzo Sigüenza, Key Account Manager at Fall Creek The visitors have proven that Fruit Attraction is a real success and there is very good prospects for the global blueberry industry. 

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