SHENZHEN, China — Consumers in China can finally enjoy fresh blueberries from the United States.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) teamed up with Pagoda, a leading fruit retailer in China, on Thursday to hold a ceremony celebrating the arrival of fresh U.S. blueberries to mainland China, the first-ever promotion of USA fresh blueberries in China.
The United States is a leader in global blueberry breeding and cultivation. In 2020, growers in the U.S. produced an estimated 149.6 million kilograms of fresh blueberries and another 136.2 million kilograms of processed blueberries, ranking it first worldwide in blueberry production. The U.S. exports millions of kilograms of both fresh and processed blueberries each year to markets all around the globe.
To gain access to the China market, the U.S. government and the USHBC worked together with China’s customs authorities to develop export phytosanitary protocols for fresh blueberries, a process which took years of patient legwork. The breakthrough came in May of 2020 when fresh U.S. blueberries received final approval for import into China from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).
“I’m excited and honored to join the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, our great friends at Pagoda, and consumers here in Shenzhen today to celebrate this inaugural promotion of USA blueberries to China,” said Lindsay Malecha, Deputy Director of the Guangzhou, China office of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO). “It highlights the collaborative work between our countries that benefits U.S. blueberry farmers and makes it possible for distinguishing Chinese consumers here and across China to enjoy delicious U.S. blueberries for years to come.”
“Opening the Chinese market was a major milestone for the U.S. highbush blueberry industry last year, and we are excited to celebrate the successful arrival of USA fresh blueberries in China this season,” said Alicia Adler, Vice President for Global Business Development at USHBC. “On behalf of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the growers exporting to China this year, and express gratitude to the importers and retailers in China for their commitment to growing blueberry demand.”
The blueberries in Pagoda’s three-pallet inaugural shipment were grown by Norris Farms in the Umpqua River Valley in Oregon and sent to China by air freight. They were supplied by Superfresh Growers, a Washington State-based company with deep experience supplying fruit from the northwestern United States to markets around the world.
With over 4,700 stores across China, Pagoda is China’s largest fruit shop chain and well-suited to marketing this inaugural shipment of U.S. fresh blueberries to China this year. The berries in this shipment were specially selected to match Pagoda customers’ demand for large and sweet berries. The berries will be sold in a limited number of Pagoda stores in the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas as a premium grade product due to the size and sweetness level.