- Blueberry prices have shot up 60 percent since September, figures show
- Extreme heat in Peru has decimated production – and sent costs soaring
- Cost of a pound is now around $6, according to data tracker NielsenIQ
US supermarkets are suffering a widespread blueberry shortage – sending prices soaring to $6 per pound.
Extreme heatwaves in Peru have sparked a lackluster harvest causing US supply of the berries to tumble by 70 percent.
According to consumer data analysts at Nielsen IQ, retail prices for blueberries have shot up by 60 percent since September. In real terms, it equates to an increase of $2 per container.
Kasey Cronquist, president of the US Highbush Blueberry Council and the North American Blueberry Council told Forbes: ‘People don’t like to not have their blueberries.
‘The enthusiasm for blueberries is still super high, even though there is a low supply.’
US supermarkets are suffering a widespread blueberry shortage – sending prices soaring to $6 per pound
Pery is the largest blueberry exporter in the world and supplies around 1.3 billion globally. Around a third is sent to American grocery stores.
But the El Niño weather pattern this year – which is where warmer ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific can provoke extreme weather phenomena – has been catastrophic for blueberry crops.
The berries need temperatures between 32 degrees and 45 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive – otherwise bushes are less likely to produce fruit. Temperatures in Peru have been ranging between 59 degrees and 81 degrees so far this year.
The issue is compounded by the fact blueberries have become an increasingly popular fruit. American shoppers are competing with shoppers in Europe and Asia for the fruit.
Cronquist told Forbes: ‘They were having an endless summer in Peru, and, for blueberries, that has had a consequence.
Such crises coincide with rampant inflation which is currently hovering at an annual rate of 3.7 percent, having climbed down from its40-year high of 9.1 percent in June 2022
Orange juice has also more than tripled in price over the last few years after Florida’s orange production sunk to lows unseen since 1937
‘This is the first time in this industry’s history where we have had such a large contraction of supply, because of how big Peru has gotten, globally.’
It is the latest in a series of food shortages to have hit Americans this year.
Back in August it was reported that scorching temperatures in southern Europe had decimated olive oil production. Benchmark prices for the oil in Spain, Greece and Italy reached around $4.35 per pound in September – more than triple their level in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Meanwhile heavy rains in West Africa destroyed cocoa production, bringing prices to a 44-year-high, according to AP.
Orange juice has also more than tripled in price over the last few years after Florida’s orange production sunk to lows unseen since 1937.
Such crises coincide with rampant inflation which is currently hovering at an annual rate of 3.7 percent, having climbed down from its40-year high of 9.1 percent in June 2022.