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U.S. consumers are nearly twice as likely to purchase blueberries in the coming year compared to nine years ago, and the number of households who’ve purchased blueberries within the past month (69 percent) has nearly doubled since 2008, according to new research from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC).
Additionally, today’s blueberry consumers are trending younger and more diverse, as they’re more likely to be 35-44 and minorities than they were in 2004.
When asked what they like best about blueberries, consumers cite a variety of attributes including health (84 percent), taste (81 percent), convenience (61 percent) and versatility (44 percent). The majority of consumers (84 percent) choose fresh blueberries over other forms, preferring to eat them “out of hand” as a snack (60 percent), over yogurt (54 percent), in smoothies (49 percent) or over cereal (48 percent).
“With the mom market representing $2.7 trillion in annual spending in the U.S. and the Hispanic market expected to hit $1.5 trillion in buying power by 2015, this shift represents a step in the right direction for the blueberry industry,” said Parm Bains, chairman of the USHBC. “Connecting with the next wave of blueberry purchasers will continue to be a key strategy in driving demand, and this research shows our promotion efforts to date have been on target and are paying off.”
The Blueberry ‘Health Halo’
As consumers place more emphasis on health and wellness, the purchase of blueberries is likely to rise, according to the study, as the fruit is heavily associated with nutrition -- 99 percent of consumers believe blueberries to be a healthy food; 68 percent state awareness of specific health benefits, a 115 percent increase over 2004.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market blueberries in the United States and work to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry.