31 Oct 2022

Export of Chilean blueberries set to drop 8% in 2022-23

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The Chilean Committee for blueberries of the Association of Fruit Exporters (Asoex), together with the consulting firm iQonsulting, released its export estimate for the 2022-2023 season, highlighting that shipments of blueberries fresh are expected to reach 98,228 tons, down 8 percent from the previous season.

MEASURES CONCERNING THE MARKET

Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Committee for blueberry, explained that "the Chilean blueberry industry has incorporated technologies and adapted its offerings to current competitive conditions in international markets.

One of the actions has been the renewal of its varieties, which has involved abandoning some varieties for export of frozen products and also for other industrial uses, while planting new varieties with better post-harvest."

Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Committee of the Chilean blueberries .
Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Chilean Committee of blueberries .

Armstrong specified that the past season, in which blueberries fresh exports were impacted by major logistical problems, accelerated the process of adjusting domestic supply.

For this reason, he commented that although substantial improvements in logistics services are expected this season, the volume to be exported will decrease, prioritizing fruit conditions.

On the other hand, Isabel Quiroz, executive director of iQonsulting, added that blueberries frozen exports are expected to increase, reaching 60,000 tons or more. "This represents an increase of more than 14 percent over the previous year, maintaining the growth trend and also the diversification of markets," she noted.

Isabel Quiroz, CEO of iQonsulting.
Isabel Quiroz, CEO of iQonsulting.

Isabel Quiroz pointed out that this season presents better conditions for the export of blueberries fresh, such as cooler temperatures that favor fruit quality; there is also a greater availability of workers for harvesting, packaging, and logistics operations, factors that made last season particularly difficult.

A COMPLICATED SEASON FOR THE BLUEBERRIES

Mauro Magnasco, general manager of El Torreón Export, based in San Carlos, recalled that last season was one of the most difficult for the sector, in which the "rubber band" of U.S. tolerance for heterogeneous quality broke down, which caused many North American supermarkets to reject Chilean blueberries . This, in the context of the logistical crisis that delayed shipments, encouraged the loss of product quality.

"To all those who have planted blueberries and don't have the courage to export them again, the only alternative left is to sell them for pulp or frozen, and of course it's not a bargain, because these two industries pay so little that they barely serve to cover fixed costs; but evidently this year the supply for IQF and frozen will be much higher, and the price will probably drop and thus less money will be recovered," he said.

Mauro Magnasco also explains that given the high risk involved in exporting and the high costs, he will prioritize fruit quality, focusing on varieties that have a longer post-harvest life, that is, with a higher probability of arriving at their destination in good condition. "We will continue to focus on export, but only with the safest varieties," he concluded.

Source: Blueberries Consulting
Blueberries Consulting is part of the global network of Italian Berry

Photo: iQonsultingBlueberries Consulting.

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