Blueberry and soft fruit market trends 2024 – TOP5

Soft fruits

As an experienced player in the fruit industry, Milbor is committed to understanding and anticipating the trends shaping the market in 2024, in addition to providing the highest quality packaging and grading technology solutions. In today’s dynamic world of soft fruit production, the key elements for success are precisely the right knowledge and adaptation to current trends emerging in the industry. Our roots in blueberry production and our many years of experience working with customers in the industry provide a strong foundation for the specialist know-how we would like to share. So, what are blueberry and soft fruit market trends in 2024?

  1. Rising staff costs

Soft fruit producers in 2024 will be challenged by rising labour costs due to wage increases in many European countries. We have already seen 13-24% wage increases in central and eastern European countries in recent years. Currently, the governments of these countries are announcing further wage increases for 2024, of the order of up to 17% in Poland, for example. The announced wage increases are prompting fruit producers to look for alternatives to save money in the long term. An effective solution to the problem increasingly turns out to be an investment in modern automation technologies production. With these, producers can minimise the impact of the aforementioned costs on the fruit harvest and ultimately on the final product. Based on our experience and that of our customers, we can state that the investment in automation of fruit packing and sorting lines amortises in the 3rd year after purchase – this time may vary slightly depending on production volumes and other variables.

Soft fruit market trends 2024 Monthly minimum wage

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  1. Soft fruit market trends 2024: further labour challenges

The last decade has also seen a shortage of skilled labour in Europe. According to some growers who have not yet automated their packing and sorting processes, in order to prepare around 300 kg of blueberries for sale in five hours, it would be necessary to employ around 50 workers (!). In comparison, with an automated packing and sorting line, we need one machine operator and four to eight other workers. The growing shortage of production workers caused by changes in the demographic structure, resulting in fewer young people entering the labour market, and the mismatch between the education structure of young people and the actual needs of the labour market, will force some of the producers in 2024 to consider investments that may prove to be the only right solution to the challenge of the lack of availability of workers in the market.


  1. Export dominance, high-quality requirement

The export of soft fruit, including blueberries, is becoming a multi-million dollar business in the food industry. In the context of dominant exports, the priority is to focus on supplying fruit of the highest quality. According to Oliver Wyman’s report “Taking Fresh to the Next Level”, the fresh products category plays a key role in achieving success in the retail industry. The results of the conducted research, with a sample of 17,000 consumers in 14 countries, clearly confirm that customers indicate quality-first in their product selection process. Understanding the requirements of the foreign market can help to build lasting relationships with customers and strengthen the position on the international stage. On the other hand, the highest quality fruit with exact specifications in terms of colour or size can only be achieved with the right equipment.



soft fruit market trends 2024

Based on the data from

  1. Strengthening of the position in the domestic and foreign markets

Another soft fruit market trends 2024 is globalisation. To make the business of fruit production and trade profitable, in the vast majority of cases it is not enough to operate only on the local market. Soft fruit producers must strengthen their position in both domestic and foreign markets. Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of companies in the blueberry industry that have decided to expand into foreign markets. Many companies, seeing the potential for global demand for soft fruit, especially blueberries, have made efforts to strengthen their position internationally.

The specific number of companies entering foreign markets varies from region to region, but the general trend is upward for most producers when it comes to expansion into foreign markets. According to the report, Blueberries Around the Globe – Past, Present, and Future prepared by the US Department of Agriculture, the leaders in terms of expansion into foreign markets are producers from the country with the largest exports, i.e. the USA, the Netherlands, and Poland. However, this trend is also visible to a much lesser extent in other European countries, i.e. Serbia, Georgia and Romania.


  1. Opening up of new markets – opportunities and challenges

The specifics of the blueberry and soft fruit market can vary considerably from region to region, which is well illustrated by the example of the Romanian and English markets. Romanian consumers emphasise the “being local” and freshness of products, often preferring to buy food products straight from local producers due to their strong connection to tradition and their expectation that these products will be free of artificial additives. Interestingly, fruit is often packaged in bulk and is distributed for sale in this form.

In England, by contrast, retail chains may place additional demands on packaging, delivery logistics, and meeting quality standards. Consumers in England often pay attention to organic and sustainable production, which may influence preferences for eco-packaging and growing practices.

Adapting to these specific requirements can be crucial to success in a given market. A blueberry and soft fruit producer must therefore take into account not only local taste preferences but also ecological and sustainable production aspects. Opening up to new markets therefore requires both product adaptation and a marketing and logistics strategy to meet the expectations of different consumer groups in a given area.

In conclusion, we can see that 2024 brings some major challenges for fruit producers: producers should focus on minimising labour costs, managing their workforce efficiently, maintaining high-quality standards, expanding into new markets, and strengthening their position in the domestic market.

If you are looking for an in-depth blueberry trends analysis, feel free to download the report given below and gain even more knowledge.

The full version of the report includes:

  • An overview of industry trends for 2023
  • Expert analyzes of demand for blueberries
  • Descriptions of the latest technological solutions
  • Summary of current figures regarding the blueberry market

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