There is a growing trend for raspberries, says Julie Lucido, marketing director for Marketing Plus, Fresno, Calif., on behalf of Well-Pict Berries, Watsonville, Calif.
The company has been heavily promoting raspberries, as well as working to extend the growing season.
“We are growing them under hoops ... It keeps the bushes growing longer so we can have fresh berries through November,” Lucido said.
Well-Pict has offered raspberries for many years, but recently has increased its acreage for the ever-popular berry.
New variety, greater interest
“We’ve developed a new proprietary variety raspberry that is much larger than traditional raspberries,” Lucido said.
Well-Pict uses proprietary varieties for all of its berries.
The berry has a sweet, tart raspberry flavor, which is proving to be very popular with consumers, which makes retailers very happy, Lucido says.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in the category,” she said.
Cat McKenzie, marketing director, Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, says that all berries have seen phenomenal growth over the last couple of years.
“Blackberry sales continue to grow and black raspberries have really gotten so popular,” she said.
Data about health benefits
In fact, black raspberry production is surging.
“Growers are planting many more acres of those because of the health benefits,” McKenzie said.
She is also seeing growth for the red raspberry category and credits the interest in berries to an increase in the amount of information available about their health benefits.
“As research grows, we’re seeing an increase in demand,” she said.
Henry Bierlink, executive director, Washington Red Raspberry Commission, says the commission also has the impression raspberries are gaining in popularity.
“They are in a good spot. They’ve been priced right and we’ve had good quality and good volumes,” Bierlink said.
One important factor to be considered about marketing raspberries is the importance of understanding the market.
“It’s very difficult to do fresh raspberries because they don’t hold up very long and they are delicate, so the processed and the fresh markets are very different,” Bierlink said.
While California production is largely grown for fresh markets, 99% of raspberries grown in the Northwest end up in processing, according to Bierlink.
“You really have to make a choice about which market you’ll produce for,” he said.