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Berry consumption continues to rise

As consumers continue to search for fresh produce that offers the healthiest fare available, they are increasingly turning to berry consumption.

And this trend also confirms that inclusion of berries as an active ingredient in a host of food items at home continues to grow: they are a do-not-disregard ingredient.BerryOV

One of the rock stars of the berry category is the blueberry, which today is only surpassed by strawberries among consumer berry purchases. Due to their undeniable presence as a superberry and superfood, blueberries have been equally embraced by Millennials who are writing their own formulas for physical fitness as well as seniors, the generation of consumers that continues to embrace food as vehicles of nutrition carefully and naturally packaged to deliver a one-two punch.

According to Josh Borro, author of The Upshot, information released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that blueberry consumption increased 411 percent from 2000 to 2012. Strawberry consumption increased 60 percent during this time frame, and fresh raspberry consumption increased 475 percent.

Borro said that advances on the supply side, which have resulted in delivery of a superior piece of fruit farmed under optimum conditions, give consumers exactly the kinds of berries they are craving.

While the total percent increases show that Americans are loving their berries, there is a sacrificial side to the equation. According to Burro, increases in berry consumption are reflected in decreases in consumption of other fruit such as apples and bananas.

One of the factors influencing increased -- and increasing -– availability of berries is the fact that these categories have been strengthened through increased plantings of superior strains in ever-growing locations around the globe. The berry industry is a global category, and consumers are able to enjoy their berries of choice regardless of the time of year as larger export volumes make their way into the United States during the domestic off-season.

Another factor that has driven berry sales is the fact that they are a perfect fruit to eat “as is.” According to the 2015 State of the Plate report issued by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, 83 percent of all fruit is eaten “as is.”

Berries are a perfect topping for cereal and yogurt. They incorporate readily into today's nutritional drink, the fruit smoothie. They are also a perfect lunchbox item, allowing parents to get something healthy into the hands of their children.

American consumers are a group on the move, and they are increasingly turning to healthy snacking as a way to eat healthy foods. Berries once again fill the bill providing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals with a minimum of fuss.

And the American consumer is yearning to know more about how its food is produced, and how something as seemly humble as the blueberry can be elevated to superstar status. With the flick of a wrist, consumers can visit sites such as the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and discover healthy berry recipes and strategies to promote overall health.

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