Chilean blueberry marketers say the nutritional story behind their product makes it an easy sell.
“Blueberry nutrition continues to be one of the most compelling nutrition stories in the produce section, as it has for nearly a decade,” said Nolan Quinn, berry category director for Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group.
“Blueberries have been linked to everything from healthy aging to reducing fat cells to inhibiting breast cancer tumor growth. Conventional wisdom among consumers seems to be that blueberries are particularly good for them, and a wise choice for their families. With year-round availability, retailers can capitalize on this without interruption.”
Tom Richardson, general manager of Giumarra Cos., Wenatchee, Wash., agreed.
“There is no question that the nutritional value of this fruit has been key in growing the blueberry business, but more consistent supply and better-eating varieties are now taking it to another level,” he said.
Marketers just need to keep telling that story, said Mike Bowe, vice president of Coral Springs, Fla.-based Dave’s Specialty Imports Inc.
“I think it’s very valuable,” Bowe said. “The thing of it is, you want to make sure the nutritional information is on the package. It’s a home run for the category.”
The industry has long recognized the value of getting the product’s nutritional information to the consuming public, said Bob Von Rohr, marketing and customer relations manager for Sunny Valley International Inc., Glassboro, N.J.
“I think it’s extremely important, and I think the blueberry industry has done an outstanding job getting that information out to consumers,” he said.
The work has paid off, but growers have to be vigilant about maintaining quality standards, said Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for North America with the Sonoma, Calif.-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.
“People are conscious of the exceptional nutrition contribution of blueberries, but it needs to be coupled with great taste to make the sale,” he said.
Flavor comes first, agreed Andres Armstrong, general manager of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, Las Condes.
“Research carried out in the U.S. has shown that people buy blueberries mostly because of their great taste and then because of its health benefits,” Armstrong said.
The product combines more attributes the consumer finds compelling than perhaps any other item, said Keith Mixon, president of Sunnyridge Farm Inc., Winter Haven, Fla.