HOLLISTER, CA – Blueberries continue to be a rising star for retail produce sales and are gaining their place in the consumer’s weekly basket of goods. Demand is seeming to keep up with larger volumes on the horizon for grower-shippers like Berry People, and with the summer blueberry season ramping up, I reached out to Jerald Downs, President of Berry People, to see what we can expect from the company this summer.
“Retailers are taking stronger positions with blueberries, due to their increasing quality and year-round continuity,” he explained. “For the retailer, it ultimately comes down to ‘yield per linear foot,’ and blueberries are stacking up to deliver above and beyond other fresh produce items on that key metric.”
This year, Berry People completed its year-round blueberry offering by adding Peruvian supply to its bases of production in British Columbia, Chile, Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest. Noteworthy is the company’s growth in acreage out of British Columbia, which segues nicely into its Peruvian volumes, allowing Berry People to hold onto the distribution gained from its Mexican supply share.
“As a company, we have expanded and improved packing and cooling facilities in British Columbia, and we are now working with our Peruvian growers to mitigate COVID-related challenges for a reliable Peruvian supply,” Jerald told me. “Our grower base in Peru is representative of the industry’s broader stride toward newer and better varieties, further improving the consumer eating experience and increasing consumption.”
With Peru now filling the September through December gap, retailers and consumers can find regular supplies of reasonably priced and good eating fruit throughout the year, allowing the commodity to gain further traction against other items in the produce department.
“Blueberries, and berries in general, hit most of the consumer criteria for increased consumption, including convenience, nutrition, and eating quality—especially as new genetics come into production,” Jerald noted. “Blueberries are also a nutritional and palate-pleasing accent to carb-conscious diets such as keto and paleo.”
There’s much in store for Berry People this season, and the company is already looking toward future growth as Jerald shared, “The Berry People team is excited to see the fruits of our combined efforts to deliver on our brand promise of a year-round, branded, balanced portfolio of organic and conventional berries. As we increase our volumes and improve our mix, our hopes and efforts are to play a more important role as category partners to the many retail and wholesale customers who have supported us to date.”
Keep an eye out for substantial promotional opportunities on the horizon for Berry People, with British Columbia blueberry ads starting to break the week of July 22 and continuing through August 12. The company then plans a smooth transition into Peru over the weeks of August 19 through September 2.
Take it from us here at AndNowUKnow: Retailers looking for an impressive summer berry lineup should get in touch with the team at Berry People.
As summer heats up and the berry industry follows suit, we at ANUK will continue bringing you the hottest produce news.