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The U.S. blackberry industry has proposed forming a research and marketing program to promote the health benefits of blackberries, The Packer reports.
According to The Packer, blackberry growers and importers discussed the initiative at the January North American Raspberry and Blackberry Conference, held in conjunction with the 2011 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference.
“The organization would be financed by a penny-per-pound fee assessed on first handlers of all U.S. and Canada-produced and –imported blackberries,” The Packer stated, noting that this move could generate up to $1.5 million to finance the new operation.
“Since I’ve been involved in blackberries, I was shocked to see that there has been no marketer-driven or industry-drive research or promotions,” said Adair Peterson, a Homerville, GA, grower, who noted how similar marketing strategies helped elevate the blueberry industry, according to The Packer.
“I’m sure we have a health message we can develop, and we need to do that,” Peterson stated. “You see this production curve going straight up, but as an industry we have done nothing to increase demand.”