Jun 24, 2016Blueberry production expected to surpass 1.4 billion lbs.
The blueberry industry is projecting a 25 percent increase in North American production over a four-year span, growing from 750.2 million lbs. in 2015 to 940 million lbs. in 2019. North American production for 2016 is projected to again surpass 750 million lbs., with global production anticipated to surpass 1.4 billion lbs.
According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), demand has created a nearly billion dollar industry in the U.S. top-producing regions, including California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.
North American consumption and purchases continue to keep pace with supply, USHBC said. Specifically:
- North American per capita blueberry consumption grew nearly 50 percent between 2010-2015.
- Fresh blueberry sales at U.S. retail amounted to $1.5 billion in 2015, up 7 percent versus 2014, making blueberries #2 in fresh berry dollar sales.
- Frozen blueberry sales reached $189.6 million in 2015, up 4 percent versus 2014, making blueberries #2 in frozen fruit dollar sales.
- In 2013, Americans were nearly twice as likely as they were in 2004 to buy blueberries in the coming year and 84 percent cited awareness of blueberry health benefits, up 115 percent over 2004.
Approximately 10 percent of the total U.S. highbush crop is exported each year, with fresh exports totaling more than 79 million lbs. in 2014, up 60 percent from 49.3 million lbs. in 2005.
The USHBC aims to increase industry export figures substantially in the coming years by expanding existing export markets and opening new markets where fresh blueberries from the U.S. aren’t currently available, including Australia, Chile, China, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.