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Overview global blueberry market.

Blueberries end of the harvest in Chile.
Blueberries end of the harvest in Chile.

The Peruvian blueberry season is over and now the market is mostly dominated by Chile. However, this South American country has a shortage of labor for the harvest and traders expect the volumes going to Europe to decline from week 7 onwards. Afterwards, the season will shift to countries around the Mediterranean, such as Spain and Morocco. Both countries expect to be on the market later than usual, which could potentially create a gap in the market. In North America, volumes threaten to accumulate on the East Coast, while shipments to the West Coast may be reduced due to logistical problems in the port of Los Angeles. In South Africa, volumes on the domestic market are now declining after prices collapsed due to a large supply of domestic blueberries. Netherlands: Turbulent blueberry market According to a Dutch importer, the blueberry market is turbulent at the moment. "We're dealing with delays of many maritime shipments from Chile. Also, big promotions have been organized in Germany which are absorbing a lot of the supply, so the day trade is under pressure. This week is the last one with large shipments arriving from Chile; after that, the supply will rapidly decline. From week 6/7, 50% of the current volume will still be available. Chile is dealing with major labor shortage issues, which means that the fruit cannot always be picked on time. This is reflected in the quality of the arrivals, with many overripe and delicate berries. Chilean blueberry prices range between 5 and 5.50 Euro (bulk)." "Morocco has started the season slowly. Due to the cold, this season has also been delayed somewhat. Consequently, prices are good, reaching about 9 Euro per kilo at the moment," says the importer. "In qualitative terms, we expect the Chilean season to be over from week 7, while Morocco will have good commercial volumes available from week 7/8, so there should be a nice transition between them."

Germany: Shortages and quality problems in the retail The conditions in Germany's blueberry market are very difficult at the moment. Most of the volumes available right now come from Chile, where the coronavirus crisis has led to a shortage of harvest and packaging workers. “As a result, we are seeing clear shortages in the exports to Europe,” said a German importer. “Many volumes are picked too late, which makes them unsuitable for export to Europe, and they cannot be offered to the US, either. We also have problems with shipping freight in Rotterdam. It's not uncommon for our goods to arrive a week late, which is of course also detrimental to the quality of the product.” The demand in the German retail, on the other hand, remains high. “The closure of the catering sector has obviously created a gap in the wholesale trade; however, this is more than offset by retail sales. We have been seeing this high demand for some time. The volumes arriving during the Chilean season are growing every year. This also applies to the demand, so there are no surpluses and the market situation remains broadly the same.” Due to the above-mentioned problems, the Chilean season is ending a few weeks earlier. The last large batches are expected to arrive in the third week of February. Normally there is still plenty of Chilean supply available until well into March. "This means that we will switch to Moroccan and Spanish products much earlier than usual." The prices for Chilean blueberries currently stand at 6-8 Euro / kg, while those for the Spanish and Moroccan productions are expected to start at around 10 Euro / kg.

United Kingdom: Lower exports from Chile than expected The blueberry season had a good start after an early end of the European one. This resulted in high prices in September and well into October, although the market came under some pressure towards the end of October and through November due to the large volumes exported by Peru. In December, the market started showing signs of recovery. So far, January has been quite a month, as Chile has not been exporting huge volumes as we had expected.

France: The demand is low At the moment, Chile is the French market's main supplier. The quality and the volumes arriving are to the satisfaction of the French traders. After Chile, blueberries will arrive from neighboring Spain. However, the demand in the market itself is quite low at the moment.

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