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New report looks at global fresh produce industry challenges, trends


Weather, labor shortages and geopolitical challenges are complicating the global fresh produce trade, but technological innovations and new products signal ample opportunities ahead, a new report says.


Called "The State of the Global Fresh Produce Industry," the RaboResearch report was authored by global strategist Cindy van Rijswick.

In the report, she noted that the many weather extremes affecting supplies and prices around the world were one of the main topics of discussion at the International Fresh Produce Association’s 2023 Global Produce and Floral Show in October.


“Some of the many fruits impacted by recent weather disruptions are blueberries, table grapes, and stone fruit,” the report said. “While visitors of the show were offered a range of the finest berries, blueberries were absent in many U.S. supermarkets during the month of October. After years of growth, Peru’s shipments have declined significantly in the marketing year 2023-24 due to a warm winter that negatively impacted yields.”


While the blueberry shortfall is one of the many outcomes of El Niño, the report said the long-term growth of blueberry shipments to the U.S. will continue.

Imports also must meet rising quality expectations, the report said.


“As the speed of demand growth in the main markets — the U.S. and the European Union — slowed down in recent years, quality has become more important,” the report said. “At the show, various blueberry players showed their new bigger blueberries.”

Jumbo-size berries are expected to quickly gain market demand because of consumer preferences and production efficiency gains.


For strawberries, the report noted the growing number of branded greenhouse-grown strawberries exhibited at the IFPA show.


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