(WJW) – A shortage of blueberries has hit American supermarkets.
According to Forbes, Peru’s blueberry harvest suffered from the effects of this year’s El Niño weather pattern.
Compared to the same week last year, nearly half as many blueberries from Peru reached American stores last week, with the supply dropping as much as 70% in the past month.
Peru, the largest blueberry exporter globally, has been severely impacted by the extreme heat left behind by the El Niño weather pattern.
This phenomenon, characterized by higher sea surface temperatures forcing warm air to rise into the winter atmosphere, has proven disastrous for Peru’s blueberry crop.
Blueberries require cooler temperatures to grow successfully.
As the U.S. relies on Peru for approximately one-third of its total blueberry supply of 1.3 billion pounds, sourcing blueberries for American grocery stores has become challenging.
The scarcity has led to a significant increase in prices. Since September, retail prices have surged by 60%, reaching nearly $6 per pound, according to NielsenIQ.
Over the past two months, the cost of blueberries has risen by $2 per container, resulting in 27 million pounds fewer sales compared to the previous year.
Analysts don’t know if next year’s harvest will be affected by El Niño as well.