The health value of blueberries have been promoted and I eat them with relish. Anyone who lives in Scotland is acutely aware that eating such luxury items comes at a high cost. The supply is currently sourced from Peru. Previous supplies have been mainly Poland, but also Chile, from where I also know my prunes are sourced. A small amount of blueberries are grown in Scotland, but they are not as big as those grown in more appropriate climates.
I investigated online. I looked at Produce Business UK.
It seems the UK love eating blueberries to the point of raising demand to such an extent the Peruvian growers hope to treble their output. In the UK, 11.3 million households bought blueberries in 2014 compared with 4 million in 2006. I suppose we have all become more educated about the harm processed foods have done to us and are seeking the detoxifying Super Foods to aid our recovery from lifelong poor eating habits. The canny producers have noticed the luxury market in food supply by retailers such as Marks & Spencer. They have wisely targeted the high end market.
I have become vegan, and find what I don’t spend on processed foods leaves me more to spend on quality foods like blueberries. Peru has managed to get their blueberries to us this month, filling the window left by other producers until Argentinean and particularly Chilean blueberries arrive. However, they enjoy ideal conditions for growing along the desert coastline and could continue supply into March or April. They cover the northern hemisphere supply in September /October and then target the Southern Hemisphere in March/April. Peru mostly targets the US and Asia-Pacific, but I am so pleased they have kept me happy during September! If there is a shortage from competitors, they believe they could fill the gap. They have a stable climate (except for years like 2016 when El Niño is active) as conditions are usually dry and no fungus is present. Fungus is a massive problem in Scotland. Peru is on course to export 17,000 tonnes of blueberries by 2020. The main growers are Campusol – part of the United Nations Global Compact, and Tal SA.
The strong El Niño of 2015 to 2016 has declined, but it has been tough for the growers. The warming of the ocean at the equator off the coast of Peru and Ecuador was strong enough to change ocean currents and weather patterns globally. See Discovery Organics. This was the strongest El Niño recorded with ocean temperatures at the peak of 3.4C above normal across a vast swath of the central Pacific. That amplified global warming during January and February. These temps are now above the ‘tipping point for bad stuff to happen’. So for how much longer can we expect to increase productivity, and escalate the carbon footprint for export to little me, here in Scotland. The blueberries detoxify me, but the whole earth suffers at my demand for these pleasurable fruits.