Fresh New Zealand-grown blueberries are now back on our shelves, with consumption of these nutritional superstars set to soar to new heights thanks to New Zealand Olympian Eliza McCartney.

The popular pole vault champion has signed on to be Blueberries New Zealand’s ambassador for the third year running – an easy choice for her as blueberries are her favourite berry, not only due to taste but also the broad range of nutritional benefits they offer.

More New Zealanders are developing a keen awareness of the nutritional power these little berries hold, with almost half of all households purchasing fresh blueberries last year.

Dan Peach, Chairman of Blueberries New Zealand, expects that trend to continue over the 2018/19 summer. “The main blueberry season runs from December – March but Kiwi consumers will be delighted to know that some early varieties are now in store,” he says.

“A small number of blueberries are grown in glasshouses year round but you can expect a much greater volume and prices to come down as the main season gets underway in the coming weeks.”

Last summer New Zealand families bought fresh blueberries around 3.5 times each, meaning each household consumed an average volume of 730g.

“We expect those numbers to rise significantly this summer, partly thanks to our high profile association with Eliza. She knows blueberries can help nourish and inspire the next generation of Kiwi champions, and people are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of including them in your everyday diet.”

Blueberries contain higher antioxidant levels than just about every other fruit and vegetable. They are often called ‘nature’s lollies’ but blueberries have one of the lowest sugar contents of all fruits.

“They’re low in fat and sodium, contain phytonutrients and are an excellent source of vitamin C, fibre and manganese. Blueberries play a vital role in promoting overall good health, particularly when it comes to gut health, anti-ageing, brain health, heart disease and cancer.

“So when it comes to health benefits, blueberries prove that good things really do come in small packages.”

Blueberries can be enjoyed straight from the punnet or in a variety of delicious ways including smoothies, guilt-free desserts and baking.

“Kiwis can be pretty inventive in the kitchen and they’ve started adding blueberries to things like salads and pizza which is terrific. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you’re only limited by your imagination.”

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