The 2023 State of the Global Blueberry Industry Report by the International Blueberry Organization (IBO) highlights a recent surge in highbush production and the challenges faced, such as rising costs.
Peter McPherson, the chairman of IBO, stated, “As an international growers organization dedicated to serving global blueberry growers’ interests, our mandate includes providing information to foster transparency and informed decision-making. This is crucial as we collaborate to boost consumption and ensure a healthy future for the industry.”
The report reveals that despite a 77% increase in highbush production since 2018 and fluctuating blueberry prices, the industry has encountered significant challenges. Rising input costs of 20-30% in 2022 and, in some cases, even doubled non-harvest costs have squeezed margins. However, the tide appears to be turning, with costs showing signs of normalization.
The report also underscores the growing importance of strategies like demand promotions, highlighting Poland’s success, focusing on field efficiency, and a steadfast commitment to quality. Emerging trends, including machine harvesting and a heightened focus on environment, social, and governance (ESG) factors, are gaining attention. Furthermore, recent health research on blueberries provides fresh insights.
Cort Brazelton, the chief editor and co-author of the report, emphasized, “A well-informed industry is a resilient one.” He expressed pride in offering the report free to the industry, thanks to advertising sponsors. The depth of analysis and insights is poised to be a valuable resource for stakeholders, helping them make informed decisions and navigate the industry’s shifting dynamics.
Colin Fain, who led the report’s development, highlighted that it showcases the “evolution and dynamism” of the blueberry industry. Beyond mere numbers, the report draws connections, reveals global trends, and equips stakeholders with knowledge.
“From plantings and production to trade dynamics, we’ve delved deep, providing a comprehensive overview that allows the industry to chart its path in an ever-changing marketplace,” Fain added.”