U.S. consumers prefer to buy Florida blueberries

Growers of Florida blueberries are fortunate to begin their marketing efforts during a unique window, from March to May, when Florida blueberries are the first and only domestically grown blueberries available to U.S. consumers. In order for Florida growers to receive the benefits of this unique marketing window, consumers must first specifically demand Florida blueberries when they make purchases during this season.

As part of a Specialty Crop Block Grant funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) in Agriculture and Natural Resources conducted an online survey of consumers in 31 states to determine the demand and knowledge that exists for Florida blueberries.

Consumers reported they would prefer to buy blueberries from Florida more than they would prefer to buy from any other of the Top 10 blueberry-producing states, including Georgia and California. However, almost all of the consumers reported wanting to buy blueberries during the summer months when Florida blueberries are no longer available. When consumers were asked to identify the Florida blueberry season, only 16% believed they could do so correctly. Of this 16%, most did not know to begin looking for Florida blueberries in March. Half of that very small group knew Florida blueberries are available in April and March.

Eighty-six percent of the surveyed consumers were unsure of the season overall. These consumers also were unsure if they had ever seen Florida blueberries in stores and many people reported not looking for Florida blueberries at all when making purchasing decisions.

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