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Blueberries for Export

Strong international demand and consumers’ desire to eat blueberries year-round presents a unique opportunity for local growers and packers to ready their blueberries for export. The growth of the blueberry category is evident in markets such as China, where consumers are particularly interested in the fruit’s health benefits.

Opportunities for Australian growers extends well beyond the Asia Pacific region, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Canada noted as market opportunities by the Berry Export Strategy 2028 report. Exports to the UAE could allow Australian growers to tap into a high-income market where Australian products are already well-established and have a premium positioning. The Canadian market is large and affluent, with short windows of opportunity for premium export that aligns with the Australian growing season.

Selecting the best blueberries for export

A punnet of blueberries is only as good as its worst fruit. Softer fruit may be suitable for the local market, where the time from packing shed to shelf may be measured in hours or days. The time and handling demands of exporting fruit increases the risk of spoiling and an unsatisfactory product reaching the end consumer, therefore, the need to separate the most premium fruit becomes of paramount importance.

Manual grading is prohibitive when working with the quantities required for a successful export operation, and simple yes/no grading equipment lacks the ability to assess the firmness of the fruit. A new way of sorting is required to scale and provide the quality of fruit demanded by international markets.

The solution to smarter sorting

With the success of growers and packers in mind, GP Graders have developed the AirJet Grader with gpVision™ to achieve the results required to meet international expectations. In addition to the ability to sort fruit into soft, medium soft, medium, semi-firm and firm categories, blueberries can be sorted accurately according to size and colour, making for a consistent product in the punnet and representing a quality standard that will set your product apart.

Furthermore, in a relentless quest to reduce labour costs in packhouses the world over, gpVision™ has the ability to identify a range of defects in the fruit and remove them before any degree of manual sorting is required. Defects, such as scaring, bruising, cell breakdown, shriveling and compression damage can all be detected and a number of blueberry packers across the globe are already benefitting from this remarkable technology.

Grading fruit this way allows growers and packers to send softer fruit to domestic markets and firmer fruit to more distant or export markets with the assurance that it will arrive in peak condition.

Export with confidence

As the Hort Innovation team stated:

“It’s an exciting time for the berry sector, a transition point. There is broad industry interest and a strong commercial appetite for export market development.”

With over 60 years of fruit grading experience, we are committed to developing and implementing technology that opens up new opportunities and markets to our clients. The blueberry export market is ripe for the picking, and we are well-placed to support your business goals and aspirations. Get in touch to discover how gpVision™ can benefit you.

Author: gpgraders
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