Industrywide, preliminary estimates from the North American Blueberry Council, Folsom, Calif., indicates that growers in the U.S. and British Columbia will produce 523 million pounds of blueberries this year — 320 million pounds of fresh and 203 million pounds of processed. Last year, growers produced 489 million pounds, 296 million pounds of fresh and 193 million pounds of processed.
“We’re seeing continued strength in fresh demand,” said Mark Villata, executive director,
U.S. per capita consumption of blueberries is 33.7 ounces — 17.8 ounces for fresh and 15.9 ounces for processed — he said. Five years ago, fresh consumption was about 20 ounces and processed was 12.8 ounces.
Adding to demand is increased interest in U.S. blueberries from Asian markets. The U.S. currently is working to develop a protocol for exporting fresh blueberries to South Korea, where demand for frozen berries already is impressive, Villata said.