The harvest for New Zealand blueberry varieties has begun and growers are encouraging Kiwis to buy them as larger volumes come to market, with prices set to drop below $3 a punnet in the lead-up to Christmas.
Last year we consumed 8.6m punnets of blueberries in this country worth over $32m (an increase of 600,000 punnets and $2m on the year before). Blueberries New Zealand Executive Member and Exporter Rep Craig Hall says demand for fruit rich in vitamin C is now soaring around the world thanks to COVID-19, which will likely drive sales up even further this year.
“So far volume has been small on the domestic market, but we’re now getting into the main season and higher volumes are coming through. Both supermarket chains will be promoting blueberries this week and we’ll see the impact of greater supply and lower prices between now and Christmas,” Hall says.
“Post-Christmas, a larger quantity is exported to Australia as their season ends and that can affect New Zealand prices.
“But there should be plenty of opportunities for consumers to get some really good deals on blueberries from all retailers over the next four weeks so people should take advantage.”
Olympian Eliza McCartney is Blueberries New Zealand’s ambassador for the sixth year running and says the health benefits are second-to-none.
“Blueberries are the perfect little snack, full of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and vital antioxidants. They are a lovely burst of fresh sweetness that can go with almost any meal from salad to pizza to dessert,” says Eliza.
“I absolutely love them and summer wouldn’t be the same without a handful of blueberries.”
Blueberries New Zealand Chairman Liz Te Amo says local production of blueberries is due to ramp up significantly in the next few years as different varieties are now being grown that are larger, sweeter, juicier, crunchier and have an earlier harvest window (August – December).
“There’s multiple varieties in the ground now and that really reflects how the international markets are going and growing. There’s been a massive upswing in consumption for blueberries – particularly with COVID-19. People are looking for the healthiest fruit and vegetables available.
“In the coming years we hope to see Kiwis eating a lot more blueberries and to improve our market access for exports to handle this increase in production.”
About Blueberries New Zealand
Blueberries New Zealand Inc (BBNZ) represents the blueberry industry in New Zealand. The group helps growers promote and develop the local industry, comply with regulations, and co-ordinate a research and development programme.
New Zealand’s blueberry industry is rapidly expanding. There are 680 hectares planted at present in both the North and South Islands. BBNZ consists of grower members, exporter members and associate members and aims to further the interests of all blueberry industry participants.