United Fresh News > Knowledge Officer Update – Blueberries

2 March 2021

Knowledge Officer Update – Blueberries

Blueberries have quietly increased in relevance within the range of produce grown in New Zealand. Fresh consumption is increasing in New Zealand, as well as offshore. The health benefits of blueberries are well understood, and new value add opportunities are opening up for commercial blueberry producers.

This also means that blueberries are attracting attention from other quarters, such as government agencies and academia. Here are two relevant links to two different blueberry related reports.

In July 2020, Coriolis, a commercial research organisation with a history in producing primary industry sector focused assessments, published “Opportunities in the New Zealand Blueberry Industry”. This report was commissioned by MBIE, NZTE, and MPI.

In December 2020, Massey University published an e-book entitled “A Scholarly Review of Supply Chain Integration within the New Zealand Blueberry Industry”.

This e-book is also a worthwhile read for anyone looking to understand broader supply chain principles in the supply chain industry better. The book has been reviewed by Tiago Inacio, Project Officer at The AgriChain Centre, and a contributor to United Fresh TAG activities.

The key points below highlight concepts that are transferable to other produce supply chains:

  • An overview of what is an integrated supply chain, its advantages and what is needed in order to achieve it. The e-book highlights that the effectiveness and efficiency of the whole supply chain improves when its members can learn to work together closely. Benefits such as reduced costs & waste, improved response & production times and prevention of production delays usually occur when achieving integration of a supply chain.

  • Outlines methods used by the supply chain in order to better assess and manage the inherent risks associated with the operations within the supply chain, such as, assessing the probability of something happening against the possible consequences.

  • In order to achieve integration of a supply chain, the culture, values, and ethics of the participants needs to be taken into account when assessing the risks for the supply chain in question. Certain supply chains reach across multiple countries and various cultures, which requires businesses to align their values, ethics, and compliances with those of their partners.

  • Regardless of what food product a supply chain is dealing with, robust food safety is paramount in maintaining that supply chain. This allows supply chains to maintain access to export markets and to increase its value by adhering to HACCP principles and ISO22000:2018 accreditation. The paper highlights that a single food safety incident is enough to “obliterate” a brand, since consumers will associate that incident with that product and brand.

  • Planning and coordination within a supply chain becomes a necessity as soon as more than one entity is involved, and it is treated as “an exercise established by a business to advance and develop its capability, capacity and competence to specifically and accurately couple the supply and demand for its goods and services” (Chopra and Meindl, 2007). Taking part in such planning helps to overcome the ordeals that are misaligned objectives, inaccurate & delayed information sharing, lack of trust, and so on.

  • Outlines some methods used by supply chain participants to help the supply chain grow and be more effective. One of these methods is benchmarking the business, or supply chain, to others of similar calibre. In this instance comparing New Zealand’s Blueberry Industry supply chain to that of Australia and not to that of Peru.

As similar documents on other crops become available, we will provide similar updates.


Dr Hans Maurer

Chair, United Fresh Technical Advisory Group