Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries —known as berries or red fruits— are the Mexican product that sold the most during the first two months of 2023 to countries such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Kuwait, China, Guatemala, Japan, Panama and Qatar.
Red berries became the first Mexican food to top the best-seller list between January and February 2023, and left behind other products in high demand and with a greater presence and image in the world such as beer, tequila or avocado, according to data from the Bank of Mexico (BANXICO).
During the first two months of 2023, the berries achieved an accumulated value in sales abroad of 777 million dollars, according to the trade balance of agri-food in Mexico.
The second place was obtained by beer, known as a world icon, with a total of 757 million dollars, followed by tequila, which billed 616 million dollars in that period.
In fourth place is tomato, which also displaced avocado during the first two months of this year after obtaining sales of 574 million dollars. Meanwhile, the avocado reached 545 million dollars, despite the fact that during the month of January and February is when it is eaten the most in the United States, especially due to the high demand it reaches in the Super Bowl.
Even the berries billed more than the meat, since bovine cattle registered sales of 454 million dollars, which left this product as the sixth with the highest sales value for its exports.
The Bank of Mexico specified that in the accumulated to February 2023, the total value of agri-food exports was 8 thousand 252 million dollars, which meant 7.9% more than the value registered in the same period of 2022.
The leap that berries made this first two months over other foods is not surprising, since this growth reflects the dynamism that berries have had in the last two years, since only in 2021 Mexico reported sales of 3,553 million dollars , which placed them as the second most commercialized food abroad, below beer.
“Mexico ranks sixth worldwide in the production of blueberries and in the last 10 years the national production of berries has multiplied 2.7 times,” said María Blanca Martínez Barajas, professor-researcher at the Higher Technological Institute of Ciudad Serdán.
The Business Management engineer added that in Mexico berries are one of the most profitable crops for its producers, since it generates a return of profits from the second year, even when it requires intensive use of labor (900 worker per hectare).
“The national production of berries is destined mainly for export, this is due to the price that these fruits currently have abroad, which is generally not within the reach of the purchasing power of a large part of the population in Mexico, for which they are considered as luxury goods”, stated the researcher.
In 2017, the national volume of blueberry production reported 36,700 tons, of which 26,121 were destined for the foreign market, according to Martínez Barajas.
The production of this fruit was concentrated mainly in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán and Sinaloa.
“In the case of raspberries, the same year there was a production of 120 thousand 184 tons and 70 thousand 250 were destined only for the United States market, the main producing states were Jalisco, Michoacán and Baja California,” she explained.
“Regarding strawberry production, a production of 658 thousand 436 tons was registered, three fifths of this production was destined for the international market, 65.7% corresponds to fresh strawberries and the remaining 34.3% to frozen ones; the main producing states are Michoacán, Baja California and Guanajuato”.
Regarding the production of blackberries, it amounted to 270 thousand 399 tons with a production concentrated in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Colima; only the United States acquired 65 thousand 248 tons.
Basket of berries
Although berries advance together in the ranking of the most valued foods, there are distinctions in the balance of production.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Mexico indicate that blueberries are one of the berries that occupy the largest volume and Mexico ranks as the sixth largest producer worldwide.
At the end of 2021, the commercialization of blueberries reached a record figure of 589.8 million pesos, while in volume it was produced more than 66 thousand tons of this product.
“The country exported 72 thousand 643 tons, of which the United States acquired 96.1%. In 5 years, Mexico has managed to triple the volume consigned to that country, consolidating its participation in the US market. The remaining volume was consigned in 31 markets,” said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER).
The raspberry is the second strawberry with the most important economic benefit. The income derived from its sale reached 1,217 million dollars at the end of 2021, the best year in the commercialization of this fruit.
In terms of production, Mexico ranks second worldwide with more than 165,000 tons of raspberries on average per year.
In the case of strawberries, the volume is higher, only in 2021 around 542 thousand tons were produced, with which the country ranks fourth in the ranking of producers and second in the list of exporters with a 65.6% of the national volume.
“The US market imported 349,428 tons of strawberries from Mexico, being the main buyer. Purchases from the remaining 31 countries of destination meant only 1.8% of the volume offered”, highlighted SADER.