Topics in this issue of Behind the Blue:
- Virtual Conference & Expo
- Global Demand for Frozen, Dried Blueberries Surges
- USHBC Launches Market Development Programs in the Philippines, China
An action-packed week of industry-driving vision, innovation and collaboration is right around the corner! Join the over 500 participants who have already registered for the FREE NABC/USHBC Virtual Conference & Expo, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, to pioneer blueberry innovation.
We’ll be showcasing industry leaders and gathering up the most important people in innovation, marketing, genetics, health research, tech and more for this industry-uniting event. We’ll also be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of USHBC and honoring legendary leaders. Register now!
Keynote speakers include:
As the global pandemic spread around the world, demand for blueberries in all forms has grown internationally, especially in the frozen and dried fruit categories.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau Trade data, U.S. highbush blueberry exports (all forms) through July 2020 have increased 98% by volume and 105% by value compared to the same period in 2019. The highest growth has been in the dried blueberry market, mostly to Middle Eastern markets in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In the global frozen blueberry market, South Korea has emerged as the largest buyer of frozen highbush blueberries from the U.S. According to retailers, preference for frozen fruit is rising because of its convenience, longer shelf life and health benefits. One leading retail buyer predicts frozen blueberries are poised to become the leading frozen fruit choice among Korean consumers. In fact, according to the South Korean Animal, Plant & Fishers Quarantine & Inspection Agency, imports of U.S. frozen highbush blueberries to date have increased 20% compared to the same period 2019, due in part to USHBC’s global efforts.
Exports of all blueberry forms have steadily increased to South Korea, especially since the implementation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) in 2007 and the gradual phaseout of blueberry tariffs. As of 2020, U.S. frozen and dried blueberries enter South Korea duty-free, while the tariff on fresh blueberries will phase out by 2021.
Earlier this year, the U.S. highbush blueberry industry gained access to the Philippines and China for fresh blueberries, both emerging and high growth potential markets for imported fresh fruit.
In China, USHBC is working with a Chinese-based communications firm to coordinate with importers and distributors, and identify promotional opportunities. However, due to the high tariff on U.S. blueberries, initial exports to China have been minimal.
Program activities in the Philippines include in-country representation and trade communication, online retail promotion and advertising, media outreach and social media influencer partnerships. On July 30, as part of a virtual international event series, USHBC hosted an event with trade and government officials in the Philippines. Sixty-five participants representing 15 import and retail companies, and 10 U.S. suppliers, engaged in the program, resulting in direct contact between buyers and suppliers and sales.
So far, USHBC projects approximately $500,000 worth of U.S. fresh blueberries have been sold in both supermarket and online shopping formats, and distributed to hotels, foodservice and convenience stores.
Do you want more information and insights on USHBC’s efforts across the globe?
USHBC Vice President Alicia Adler continues to lead the charge for the industry’s market development across the globe. You can stay in touch and receive the most recent and relevant information on these efforts by subscribing to her monthly updates, “Global Perspectives.” And for regulatory updates from Bryant Christie Inc., click here.