(FOLSOM, CA.) ― New research from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) shows Americans are nearly twice as likely as they were nine years ago to buy blueberries in the coming year, and the number of households saying they’ve purchased blueberries within the past month (69 percent) has nearly doubled since 2008. In alignment with the industry’s goals of continuing to grow consumption, today’s blueberry consumers are also trending younger and more diverse; they’re more likely to be 35-44 year-olds (often parents with kids at home) and minorities than they were in 2004.
“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.”
Blueberries: ideal for modern lifestyles
The survey findings suggest that marketers should continue to position blueberries as an ideal fit for modern lifestyles.
• 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) – evidence they see them as a simple yet beneficial addition to their diet
• 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) – all ideal options for busy families or individuals
• The favorite way to use frozen blueberries is in smoothies. Forty-nine percent of the general population and 54 percent of women 25-44 say they like to use frozen blueberries in smoothies, which have become a popular source of fuel for the health-conscious and time-pressed
As the blueberry’s ‘Health Halo’ grows, so do purchases
Consumers associate blueberries with health, which is good news for marketers because awareness of the fruit’s nutritional benefits is closely tied to propensity to purchase.
• 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
When consumers see blueberry items on menus
• 58 percent perceive the specific dish as being healthier
• 24 percent perceive the restaurant as offering healthy fare
• Nearly 20 percent say they order that specific dish
The web holds ample opportunity for blueberry marketers
As they seek to convey the health and lifestyle benefits of blueberries to more consumers, marketers have much to gain from web-based communications.
• 57 percent of consumers report having seen news stories about the healthiness of blueberries and more than 50 percent say they found the news online
• Nearly 60 percent say they are very likely to purchase blueberries based on information they’ve seen on their preferred social media channels
To view an executive summary of the research and learn more about the USHBC’s strategies for reaching new customers, visit http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/blueberry-marketers.
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and work to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments.
Methodological notes: The research was conducted by Hebert Research on behalf of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council in May 2013 among 3,765 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over. Data was collected via a combination of online, mobile and telephone surveys. Respondents were categorized into a general population group of 1,797 primary shoppers and an oversample of 1,968 women ages of 25 – 44 who also identify themselves as primary shoppers. The general population group was used as the baseline for all comparisons with 2004 and 2008 data.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.
Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council