Flavor, versatility emerge as big berry selling points - The Packer

Flavor, versatility emerge as big berry selling points

05/04/2012 12:54:00 PM
Susie Cable

People also like strawberries because they feel emotionally connected to them, Jewell said. Many people remember their grandparents growing strawberries in their backyards, or eating strawberry shortcakes at family celebrations.

Berries also are a sign of spring, Jewell said. Once strawberry season hits the U.S., spring and summer are right around the corner.

“It’s (the strawberry is) a positive, happy fruit,” Jewell said.

As with strawberries, many people fondly remember picking blueberries when they were children, Curry said. The taste of a blueberry can evoke those good memories.

Strawberries and blueberries are undeniably popular, but what about blackberries?

“As growers, we have worked hard to improve the taste profile for blackberries and we feel this has an impact on demand and consumption,” Castaneda said.

Pure Fresh’s growing operations are Guatemala-based Planesa S.A. and Pure Fresh Chile. Castaneda said the company works closely with the University of Arkansas to develop new blackberry varieties. Its newest variety, Stella, is a supersweet and firm blackberry that Planesa grows in Guatemala.

Blackberry varieties have improved and availability of the fruit has increased. Retailers and consumers can be more confident when buying them now, Jewell said.

Curry said that as blackberry production grows, so does demand for the fruit. It’s popular for the same reasons other berries are: convenience, nutrition, flavor, versatility and availability, he said.

Year-round availability of blackberries strengthens demand, Castaneda said. Consumers can buy blackberries anytime. He also said he credits retailers for building demand by promoting fresh blackberries.

“When you look at the consumption curve, blackberry consumption is increasing more than any other berry,” Jewell said.

She said there have been double-digit increases in consumption over the past few years.

“People are finding all different ways to use them and incorporate them into recipes,” Jewell said. “That’s my favorite berry.”

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