OZblu® makes more record-breaking waves with class-leading blueberries

PERTH, Australia, 2 June 2021 –  United Exports is proud to announce that OZblu®’s world-class genetics have broken yet another world record. A container of fresh OZblu® blueberries transited the Pacific ocean – from the port of Manzanillo in Mexico to the port of Hong Kong  – spending 51 days at sea and arriving fresh and ready for sale in Hong Kong, on 20 May 2021. This was one of several containers sent to Asia from OZblu-Sun Farms’ first harvest in Mexico, and has set a new record for blueberries.

Diagram 1: Summary of 51-day Sea Freight Voyage.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the berries had retained their size, sugars were excellent and they were firm and ready for sale as fresh blueberries. They had all the crunch and taste that OZblu® blueberries’ customers and their consumers are accustomed to and the premium and exceptional eating experience that fresh OZblu® blueberries deliver.

Co-founder of OZblu®, Roger Horak, said, “These were OZ Julieta™ and OZ Magica™, freshly picked, packed and shipped in normal refrigerated containers with a controlled atmosphere, but with no post-harvest fumigation nor any modified atmosphere bags which are widely used in the blueberry industry. This is the pioneering life work – spanning almost 30 years and millions of dollars of investment – of the breeders, Dave and Leasa Mazzardis, and United Exports. This work has been enhanced with countless research trials and innovation in post-harvest processes that ensure these evergreen blueberries can deliver.”

The OZblu® fruit left Mexico with a green QC (quality control) score and arrived Hong Kong in the same exceptional condition, receiving a green QC on arrival too, as detailed in the independent QC inspection reports below.

This particular fruit was produced by OZblu-Sun Farms, a joint venture with United Exports in Mexico, and was sold by United Exports’ OZblu Marketing LLC.  United Exports is expanding its planting in Mexico and its existing footprint in Peru and the United States, as well with its grower in Chile.

Peru has built an incredible blueberry industry in a little over 10 years. This year it is forecast to export in excess of 200,000 metric tonne. With market access to all key consumption markets – North America, United Kingdom, European Union and China – it is estimated that Peru will be responsible for almost 60 percent of all blueberries exported from the southern hemisphere this coming season.

“This dwarfs South Africa’s expected exports of approximately 25,000 metrics tonne expected this coming season, and will be a driving inspiration going forward,” says Horak. United Exports, together with its funding partners, investors and joint venture partners, has invested just over a R1,5 billion (± U$110 million) into OZblu® production in South Africa, most of which is direct foreign investment. It has generated over 790 new permanent jobs in the past 5 years and over 4,400 seasonal jobs (and this is expected to exceed 5,000 in 2021).

“In addition we are partnered with very committed and quality focused contract growers, who have also invested close to half-a-billion rand (± U$40 million), and have created 300 permanent jobs and approximately 3,100 seasonal jobs,” says Horak.

United Exports is therefore hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before South African-produced OZblu®s are making their own record-breaking waves around the world.Diagram 2:  OZblu® Blueberries QC Prior to Departure.Diagram 3: OZblu® Blueberries QC on Arrival after 51 days at Sea.

Commenting on this, Australian resident Horak says, “I love South Africa, and would like to continue investing in new production units in South Africa for so long as we are able to effectively do so.”