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Relentless growth of UK berry sector

Relentless growth of UK berry sector
Photo: British Summer Fruits

The UK’s berry sector has grown 600% in the past 25 years, according to a press release by British Summer Fruits, with the market for fresh berries now worth over £1.5 billion, compared to £206 million in 1996.

Nick Marston, chairman of British Summer Fruits, said: “With increasing calls for consumers to adopt healthier lifestyles and diets, our work to highlight fresh berries as a delicious, healthy snack and ingredient is extremely important. We also need to continue to drive consumer demand to support our UK berry growers and their growth ambitions by providing an ever-expanding market for their crops.”

The berry industry has seen significant innovation, including varietal developments, new growing techniques and the use of new technology. As a result, the self-sufficiency of the British berry industry continues to grow each year and the UK season now extends from May to November.

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Argentina gets ready for the 2020 blueberry season

Argentina gets ready for the 2020 blueberry season
© IDEP /// PRESS RELEASE

 

With productive zones implementing strict healthy and safety protocols and an industry working closer than ever towards common goals, the 2020 blueberry season kicks off in Argentina.

Argentina is one of the main players in the global market, exporting blueberries for over 20 years. Its geographical location gives it the advantage of having counter-season crop, which means it can supply during periods of low production in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere. This is why the main destinations are the U.S., which represents 60% of the total exports, followed by Continental Europe and U.K. with 30%, and Canada and Asia, that together account for 10% of the shipments. In recent years, Argentina’s exports have stagnated at around 15,000 tons, representing 10% of the total blueberry offer in the commercial window from August to December in 2019. This is why Argentina is seeking to position itself in the world’s blueberry industry as a niche player with comparative advantages and differentiation values. “We are committed to presenting a product with very high-quality standards that are reflected in the certifications of the good agricultural and social practices to which we subscribe” said Federico Bayá, president of the Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC).

Federico Bayá, president of the Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC) /// © ABC

 

The differentiation strategy is based in three pillars: taste, organic productions and responsible labor. For the fourth consecutive year, the Argentine blueberry sector is carrying out its “Taste the Sweetness & Enjoy the Difference” promotional campaign to emphasize the sweet acidified taste of the Argentinean fruit that, because it is produced in areas with “cold hours” has a distinctive flavor that differentiate it from the rest of the suppliers. An additional factor is the increasing trend of organic production, which this year will represent one third of the total produced volume.

Blueberry, a responsible crop

In an increasingly competitive world in which decent work is often not valued and the purchase is determined by the cost, Argentina has national labor, social and health and safety laws that are models worldwide. In 2015, Argentina subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN, amongst which Goal Number 8 is promoting sustainable economic growth with decent work and the prohibition and elimination of child labor as one of the main factors to be complied with. In addition to comply to these international guidelines and promote a production based on a triple impact, locally the ABC is part of the Enterprise Network against Child Labor and is governed by the Nacional Plan for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor and Protection of Adolescent Labor.

The ABC has developed a social strategy based on concrete actions in the three productive zones of the country. “As a productive sector, we are increasingly committed to the social issues that surround our cultivation, especially regarding Child and Adolescent Labor. There are a lot of myths around this topic and we want to generate the necessary debates to banish them” emphasized Bayá. “We have been working in a project for the past two years that implicated the elaboration of a protocol named Responsible Agricultural Production (P.A.R.) which will allow us to focus on 3 aspects: preventing, monitoring and attending child labor.”

Higher sea shipments to become more competitive

Given the lack of competitiveness that the Argentine blueberry is facing due to a an increasingly complex and more supplied global market, the sector has been able to make the effort in logistics to reduce costs. “We were used to a market that paid air freight to receive the fruit faster, but today, with an increasing number of players supplying the market constantly, we need to focus on a different way of transport”. This is a trend that has been going on during the past years, where the rate of sea shipments went from 2-3% in 2014 to 35% in 2019. In the middle of the pandemic, where there will be a lower frequency of commercial flights, it is projected that only 30% of the fruit will be exported by air freight.

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Strong growth in Spain’s berry exports

Despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area, production in Huelva – Spain’s leading region for berry production and exports – totalled 294,650 tons last season, up 2% on 2014/15, with sales rising 8% to €395.15 million, according to Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters.

Compared to the same period last year, Spanish export volumes for the the first seven months of this year are up 27% in the case of blueberries and 22% in the case of raspberries.

Analysis of Customs’ export data by Fepex, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruits, vegetables, flowers and live plants, shows that for January to July 2016:

  • Strawberry exports stood at 305,066 tons, up 14% on the same period in 2015, and worth €223 million (+34%),
  • Blueberry exports totalled 33,718 tons (+27%) for a value of €248.5 million (+31%),
  • Raspberry exports came in at 27,751 tons (+22%) for a value of €224 million (+34%),
  • Blackberry exports fell 2% to 1,956 tons but with the sales value up 15% to €13.4 million.

Huelva’s berry sales rose 8% in 2015/16

Despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area, production in Huelva – Spain’s leading region for berry production and exports – totalled 294,650 tons last season, up 2% on 2014/15, with sales rising 8% to €395.15 million, according to Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters.

Source: http://www.fepex.es/news/detail/_continua-evolucion-positiva-frutos-rojos-huelva-organiza-tercer-congreso_en-gb

 

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Huelva strawberry sales up 8%

Spain's strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

Spain’s strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

The increase came despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area.

Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters, also reports €395.15 million in sales for the 2015-16, a figure 8% above that for the previous season.

In a press release, it said data provided by its members showed the average price for strawberries saw a small increase of 1.5%.

Harvesting took place nearly a month earlier than in other years due to a very mild winter, which favoured the quality of the fruit in the early months and an optimal rate of ripening.

The two main export markets for strawberries from Huelva are Germany and France, which take 30% and 20% of its total exports respectively, followed by the UK with 13%.

Despite competing with local production from countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium in European markets during May, the quality of Huelva’s strawberries allowed it remain competitive in these markets throughout that month.

The heat of early June brought about a gradual end to the season in the province’s different production zones as the high temperatures reduced fruit quality.

Raspberry sales see 24% upswing

Regarding other berries, Freshuelva reported raspberry production of 15,800 tons, a rise of 10% on the previous season, from a planted area that was 16% bigger at 1,815 ha. Sales were ​​24% higher at €120 million. About 95% of Huelva’s raspberries are exported.

The average price was up 8.5% overall on last season though in May and early June, due to increased availability and therefore competition from the start of local seasons in Huelva’s top two export markets for raspberries, the UK and Germany, prices dropped at the end of the season.

The blueberry and blackberry seasons were still underway at time of writing but in both cases production was up significantly on a year ago thanks to increases in the planted areas to 1,953 and 130 hectares respectively.

By the end of May, Huelva had exported 17,800 tons of blueberries and 650 tons of blackberries.