In a towering $271.3 billion fruit and vegetable market, the perception of the teeny tiny blueberry remains quiet in the portfolio of investors around the globe.
However, even quieter is the fact that the blueberry has been deemed the fastest growing fruit category, according to Euromonitor, with a growth rate of 9% which is triple the rate of all fruits.
You may think, “wait, what about the massive wine industry? Surely, the mighty grape is a better bet!” While grapes still vastly outsell the blueberry, it also comes with the brand recognition that makes investment opportunity scarce. It’s pretty much tapped out. But here’s the thing: between 2008 to 2013, global fresh grape volume sales rose by 14% while cranberries/blueberries grew by a whopping 32%.
Health nuts already know about the many health benefits of the blueberry and coupled with the downtourn in fruit juice consumption (read: sugars are bad for you), fitness fanatics are turning to blueberries as their fruit of choice.
Don’t believe it? Check out what’s happening to OJ. The drink, not the white Bronco driver:
Canada, the largest blueberry exporter in the world, has been steadily increasing production over the last 10 years with the fruit now accounting for about 20% of all fruit produced. 2013 values totaled over $188 million while the much more ubiquitous apple was the only other Canadian fruit ahead at $191 million.
Then you have parts of South America, South Africa and China entering the fray. It is predicted fresh cranberry/blueberry volumes will rise by close to 40% over the 2013-2018 forecast period globally.
Beyond the raw uses of the blueberry, there’s also neutraceutical companies such as NeutriSci that has managed to harness the chemical of the blueberry and put it into a patented pill form. What NeutriSci’s product has managed to do is straddle the line between the health/fruit industry and also put itself as a competitor of energy-based drink products such as Red Bull.
While none of this changes the fact that blueberry will be tiny, what the investment world is beginning to realize is its potential to enter the stratosphere of the orange, apple or banana is larger than anyone thinks.
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