Price of Honeyberries?
The price of Honeyberries is the question; everybody wants to know. A pound of Honeyberries sell for how much? Well, how long is a piece of string? We believe the most transparent and perhaps best way to start to answer this is to describe the Honeyberry price premium to strawberries in Ukraine and Russia.
In Ukraine, the price of a kilogram of Honeyberries is 5 to 7 times higher than the prices for Ukrainian strawberries. In Moscow, it is 3 to 5 times greater. Even in the Novosibirsk and Tomsk regions of Russia, where the Honeyberries are commonly found in commercial orchards or the wild. The premium over strawberries is 1.5 to 2.0 times.
The Honeyberry-strawberry price premium
If we convert, this price information and use our local farmer’s market Strawberries as a starting point – $2.70 a pound (Supermarket price $4.00 a pound). A price of local non-organic Honeyberries at the farmer’s market would be –
- Ukrainian premium 5 to 7 times = $13.50 to $18.90
- Moscow premium 3 to 5 times = $8.10 to 13.50
- Tomsk premium 1.5 to 2 times = $4.10 to $5.40
A wide-ranging list of Russian prices from $4.10 to $13.50. We are sure that any one of the prices above would make a new Honeyberry grower triumphal.
Global Honeyberry price trends
So how do these three brackets relate to current global prices? We have listed the currently available prices of Honeyberries for fresh or frozen below. We intend to update this table over the current season. In order, for growers to get a sense of the organic Honeyberry premium and general price trends. We view Quebec as the market price leader, as it has the largest number of maturing planted acres of Honeyberries coming on stream over the next few years. From this year, they will be grading berries into the three traditional brackets of Grade 1 to 3 and Raw unsorted.
As a guide, in Poland, raw and unsorted berries sell for around $2.55 or clean and frozen for $4.15 a pound. In North America, comparable fresh and unsorted sell for $2.75 and commercial clean and frozen sell for an average of $5.00. The driving factor behind this transatlantic price difference is the supply of berries. In the coming years as the 1,000 acres of Quebec Honeyberries (75% of Canada’s planted crop) arrives on the market in the next few years, prices may fall. However we expect demand to rise as consumer’s become more ‘Honeyberry Aware.’
We believe, the Russian Strawberry premium should remain at about of 1.5 to 2.0 times. However, we would encourage new and old growers to grow organically to ensure you take full advantage of the Honeyberry opportunity. What is today’s organic premium? If we use the frozen organic fruit as a guide, natural non-organic fruit sells in the supermarket for an average of $2.50 a pound and organic at $7.00 a pound. Supporting a strategy to sell frozen organic Honeyberries would prove a fruitful and rewarding approach.
We are great believer’s of the frozen organic fruit market, having seen the sales of frozen fruit rise by 67% since 2010 and reached the $1 billion sales mark. The segments growing fastest are – Blueberries, berry blends and tropical fruit. The health trend of homemade smoothies is also helping to drive this market higher. We can strongly recommend a Honeyberry and Kelp smoothie!
World Production of Honeyberries?
Since the 1950’s Honeyberry has gained popularity in Russia as a garden plant, with the release of new cultivars. Many commercial plantations of 20 to 50 acres have been established primarily in western Siberia. Large quantities of these berries are harvested annually from both wild and orchard grown plants in Russia. Sadly there are no official estimates available, but production is primarily for the local and Russian market. However, we are going to guess at around 1,000 acres of older varieties.
In Hokkaido, Japan many berries are also collected from wild plants. Commercial orchards have expanded since the mid-1970’s. After the release of several new cultivars from their Agriculture Experiment Station. It is believed there are about 200 acres under cultivation in this region.
Plantings in Canada have increased dramatically over the past three years, again with the introduction of new highly productive varieties. It is believed that there are about 1,200 acres planted across Canada, with about 75% (approximately 1,000 acres) having been planted in Quebec. There are no large commercial plantings of these newer varieties in the United States. However, we believe this will change dramatically in the coming years.
Honeyberries planted in Quebec
- 2007 – 2,000 plants or 2 acres
- 2008 – 6,000 plants or 6 acres (Total 8 acres)
- 2009 – 30,000 plants or 30 acres (Total 38 acres)
- 2010 – 50,000 plants or 50 acres (Total 88 acres)
- 2011 – 80,000 plants or 80 acres (Total 168 acres)
- 2012 – 90,000 plants or 90 acres (Total 258 acres)
- 2013 – 200,000 plants or 200 acres (Total 458 acres)
- 2014 – 250,000 plants or 250 acres (Total 708 acres)
- 2015 – 300,000 plants or 300 acres (Total 1,008 acres)
The rapid expansion of Honeyberries or Camerise planting in Quebec is very similar to the introduction of Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) into New Zealand in the early 1970’s. More extensive plantings followed in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s in areas of Nelson, Canterbury and Southland on the South Island. The majority of growers are in the Canterbury region.
The number of commercial growers peaked in the 1980’s and then reduced as the Southland region shrank as it proved unsuitable due to its cooler climate. There are currently 37 New Zealand growers with about 680 planted acres (4,000 plants an acre) producing 6,500 to 9,000 tons of fruit a year (5% of the World’s production).
Although there are fewer producers and reduced acreage, yields have continued to improve since the 1990’s. Thanks to plant research and superior varieties. Plant growers main aims were –
- Colour, flavour, acidity, sugar content
- enhancing health-related qualities (e.g. vitamin C, anthocyanin)
- berries for different end products, being frozen whole (IQF) vs. concentrate/juice
- consistently high fruit yield
- natural pest and disease resistance (e.g. Synanthedon tipuliformis (currant clearwing) and Cecidophyopsis ribis (blackcurrant gall mite or big bud mite))
- growth habits for efficient machine harvesting
- lower winter chill tolerance
The export of New Zealand processed product is worth about $17.5 million a year, as shown in the table below.
We can see that Quebec has reached a similar acreage in a similar time frame. The current 1,000 acres (1,000 plants per acre) will reach peak production in 2021 at between 3,500 to 4,500 tons. Giving a farmer’s market value ($2.75 per pound) of around $19.3m to $24.8m or a frozen IQF market value ($5.00 per pound) of around $35m to $45m.
Current market prices have been used as we believe that future high consumer demand will maintain the Honeyberry price premium, in particularly if berries are organic. It is worth also remarking that Honeyberry plantings are only 1% of that of planted Blueberries.
The largest acreage of Honeyberries in Europe is found in Poland, and it is believed there are about 200 to 250 acres. Elsewhere there is growing demand. It is believed the next largest country is the UK, with about 50 acres planted.
If we were are to total these best guestimate figures together, we get a global planted acreage of 3,000 acres – Russia 1,000 acres, Japan 200 acres, Canada 1,200, Poland 250 acres, UK 50 and other 300 acres. So that is only one percent of the current global Blueberry market.
Despite the doubling of planted acreage in more productive Honeyberries varieties over the last three years. Global commercial Honeyberry is still only a ‘David’ of one percent of the current global ‘Goliath’ Blueberry market. Over the next two decades, we believe this gap will narrow dramatically and one day the acreage of Honeyberries will surpass ‘Goliath’.
Honeyberry price to yield comparisons
We have enclosed below a ‘Price to Yield Table’ (per acre) to enable you to forecast your future berry revenues per acre. For example – if your varieties on average yield 6,000 pounds an acre and you are selling at non-organic prices of $2.00 per pound. Your revenues per acre are $12,000. Compared to if you set yourself up as an organic grower and achieved yields of 11,000 pounds an acre at a price of $5.00 or $55,000 an acre.