Cranberries are the most common fruit in the US, but the fruit’s popularity has surged since a global pandemic began in December 2015.
While the fruit is grown in Canada, the majority of the US market is now dominated by white, red, purple and blue varieties.
As a result, the number of varieties in the market has jumped by more than 70 per cent in just three years, according to a recent report from market research firm Euromonitor International.
“The demand for cranberries has exploded in recent years, with the US now the leading market for cranberry exports, surpassing Canada and Japan,” said Craig Prentice, Euromonitors’ senior vice-president of international business.
“Cranberry exports grew to $1.8 billion in 2016 and the number is expected to reach $2.8 trillion in 2021.”
“The number of products sold by Canadian companies alone is estimated to grow to $11.8bn by 2021,” he said.
“Canada’s cranberry boom is the biggest growth market in the world.”
The US has also been the top export market for the cranberries, with exports growing by 40 per cent between 2016 and 2021.
The US is now Canada’s second-biggest market after the US.
Canada’s market for imported cranberries is growing at twice the rate, according the report.
While there are no official figures, experts say it is likely the market for domestic cranberries grew by 20 per cent a year over the past decade.
“It’s probably around $600 million per year, depending on what you want to measure,” Dr Prentice said.
Dr Prentices data shows that cranberries are growing at double the rate in the last three years compared to the first three years of the pandemic.
“There is a very good possibility that this is not an aberration,” Dr David Stearns, a research fellow at the University of Adelaide, told ABC News.
“We’ve had this kind of market expansion for a long time.
It’s certainly not the first time this has happened, it’s definitely not the last time it will happen, but it’s certainly a significant one.”
Dr Stearnes said there were other reasons for the growth of the cranberry market.
“I think the US cranberry growers have been able to use the current price that’s on the world market to their advantage,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“They’ve had a long period of time to sell at the current prices.”
While the pandemics’ impact on the cranbours market has been limited, there have been a number of high-profile incidents that have prompted cranberry farmers to close their farms.
One of the most notable was the recent collapse of a large cranberry farm in California.
“In the US they are still growing the fruit,” Dr Stears said.
While many growers in the United States have moved their operations to China, the trend is set to continue.
“If you look at the crop in the UK, it seems to have been really affected by the pandems,” Dr Burt said.
“I’ve heard that the cranby crop in Canada is actually going to be affected in the same way, because it’s being sold in China.”
Dr Piersen said the market had been a success.
“Most of the fruits are still being sold, they’re selling in large quantities, they’ve been able, if we’re lucky, to avoid a significant decline,” he explained.
“But you could see the price increase in the second half of the decade as a result of the market expansion.”
“In Australia, the price of the fruit has gone up because they’re now producing the product on a bigger scale,” Dr Schoen told ABC.
“As a result we have more people going out and buying them.”
The growing demand for white, purple, and blue cranberries in the developed world has also led to an increase in production capacity.
The industry is in the midst of a revival after the end of the global pandemias, but there is no indication the demand will continue at a faster rate in coming years.