The Chilean blueberry industry is planning a major UK promotional push in a bid to boost sales and establish a long-term market for the fruit.

'Eat the Blues - You Have to Eat Them to Beat Them' is being launched by the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association this month and is aimed primarily at the over-50s - and the people of Yorkshire.

The over-50s are being targeted via a national print and online push after market research showed the age group represented a huge untapped market for the fruit. Fewer people in the Yorkshire region, meanwhile, eat blueberries than in any other area of the UK.

Campaigners aim to boost demand for the fruit in the county by conducting a three-week tour of nine city centre shopping areas, during which consumers will be encouraged to sample the fruit and leaflets carrying key nutritional messages will be handed out.

Local Michelin-starred chef Jeff Baker will also be creating a Chilean blueberry-based Yorkshire dish, and there will be a PR campaign targeting local media.

Both planks of the campaign will promote blueberries on the basis of their flavour and health-promoting properties.

The association said it hoped the campaign would generate a sales uplift across the UK.

Exports of Chilean blueberries have grown rapidly in recent years on the back of promotion of the fruit's health qualities, with exports to the UK alone rising from 1,440 tonnes in 2005/06 to 2,307 tonnes the following year.

"There's a growing market for fresh berries in the UK, and in the short term we want to take advantage of that," said Christian Carvajal, marketing manager Europe-Asia for the Chilean Exporters Association.

"In the long term we want to increase consumer penetration to secure a future market for the increased production of blueberries in Chile in the coming years."