Article by: Hari Yellina
According to a new research from ANZ, the Australian berry sector will have a favourable long-term outlook as production quantities increase. The Australian berry industry has experienced substantial expansion in recent years, according to Madeleine Swan, director of food, beverage, and agricultural insights at ANZ. “While exports have grown steadily, domestic consumption continues to be the principal market, accounting for over 95 percent of total market share,” Swan added. “While increased production has made berries more easily available on grocery shelves, it has also pushed prices lower in the long run as production catches up with demand,” Swan explained.
With over 75% of Australian customers buying fresh fruit and the majority buying multiples, the business has a strong home market to supply. “The average Australian consumer purchases about 4 kg of berries each year.” “Prices have begun to decrease slightly as a result of greater local demand, with both strawberry and blueberry prices displaying less seasonal volatility,” Swan added. “However, recent flooding and international logistics inefficiencies have contributed to a rise in food prices across the board, including berries, with flood events in Queensland and New South Wales affecting blueberry output and forcing prices up.”
Covid-19 has also been a challenge to the sector, and while the pandemic’s consequences are far from gone, the long-term outlook remains positive. “As producers struggle to attract and retain trained labour,” Swan added, “labour scarcity difficulties across Covid lockdowns have also put higher pressure on the cost of production.” “However, in the Australian berry business, there is a clear macro-trend of increased supply and rising investments in production capacity, placing downward pressure on prices.”
All berries crop quickly and don’t take up too much space. With a little work — and a careful choice of varieties — you can be eating homegrown berries throughout temperate and most of “cold” Australia for 10 months of the year. Best of all, most berries produce fruit within a year of planting. Even blueberries should give some fruit in a couple of years, if you feed and water them well.