Blueberry FoodTech

What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Friday, June 22, 2018

Food Taipei -- 2018

USHBC exhibits at the Food Taipei June 27-30!  How can I forget my first Food Taipei exposition in 1990s!  We Flew 15 hours on a plane with a smoking section.  (yuck) Took a taxi to the expo center and smacked a crazy motorbike driver.  Arrived just in time for a 6.5 earthquake which re-arranged everything.   (Ask Mark Villata)

It was interesting to see locals -- especially young ladies lined up to taste their first blueberries.  They tasted and pointed to skin with a big smile.

Here we are in 2018!   Taiwanese love fresh blueberries --especially from the USA which is a "brand" they trust.   The biggest change has been the developments in the Taiwanese food industry.  While there have bee ups and downs in fresh, the processed side continues to grow.   Each year, we attend Food Taipei and connect with new food processing companies such as dairy, baking and candy as well as Taiwanese favorites as traditional moon cakes.   Taiwan has a wide based small food industry, has pioneered LOHAS  (Lifestyle Oriented Health and Sustainability) and are also big into organics and just about every food trend that comes from Japan, Korea or the USA. Now Taiwan is a trendsetter for all of "Greater China" including the People's Republic, and all of the countries of Southeast Asia where "overseas" Chinese run many food industries.

Island of Innovation:  The small Taiwanese companies were the first to start innovating with blueberries.   Now the "big guys" like Unipresident (largest food manufacturer in all of Asia), I-Mei and others are stepping into blueberries.  Besides meeting at the conferences, we stay connected with R & D, hold meetings, seminars and stay in touch.   (Taiwan companies are some of the leaders in Mainland Chinese good business)  Some of the most important developments in China are a result of our Taiwan connection.

UNI President - A leader in Asian Food Business

Food Taipei 2018.  The big show runs from June 27-30 at the Taipei Nangang Expo Center.  The excitement is building and USHBC will hold court in the USA Pavilion sponsored by our super-helpful friends at the American Institute in Taiwan(AIT) Agricultural Trade Office. This year we are introducing blueberry ingredient solutions and also focus on frozen and our USA food safety legacy.  We are even constructing a cardboard cutout of Doc Blueberry with QR code to make things interesting.  Wei Yang of Oregon State University is a "rock star" in Taiwan.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Israel-Produced Blueberry Topping -- 70 % Blueberry!

Here is the "Real Deal" from a really innovative company in Israel!  Tnuva is the leading food processors in this state of around 8.3 million.  They are also the world's leading Kosher food manufacturer.   Each year we visit with Tnuva R & D at the Institute of Food Technologist (IFT).   They really are a global company and have a large presence in the USA as well.

Back to the "Real Deal.  Here is a blueberry topping proudly introduced by Tnuva at the recent International Dairy, Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) exposition in New Orleans.  When we think of toppings -- we sometimes think sugar -- but this one is 70% blueberry.  This is now being introduced in the company's Anvey Zion brand.  A wonderful blueberry flavor, aroma and texture!  This is perfect for consumer and foodservice operations who want to show real blueberries!

מזל טוב (congratulations)  to Tnuva!  

USHBC has targeted Israel for market development work in the food industry sector in 2019.   We look forward to meet up with our friends at Tnuva at the upcoming Institute of Food Technologists meeting in Chicago July 15-17.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Taiwan Retailers Proudly Present USA Blueberries

New Advertisement for Wellcome Supermarkets in Taiwan reinforcing the message  that USA Blueberries are available.   The new Wellcome-designed flag logo symbolized food safety!  The Wellcome Facebook is buzzing with positive comments.   

I love it when a plan comes together...  We are into the final week  of retail promotions in a selection of Wellcome and Jason's Marketplace stores throughout the island.  The emphasis: USA Blueberries are available!  The promotion included QR Code links to Doc Blueberry (Wei Yang of Oregon State University) who told of the many precautions and food safety practices used by USA shippers to serve the Taiwan Market.  The message resonated and we have received hundreds of visitors each day to view.  Wei is a "Rock Star!"  

Poster in the blueberry section of the stores continues to link customers with Doc Blueberry!  Signage also includes the USHBC Export logo and American Flag.  This was all designed to perpetuate the small promotion and this extended activity will be in place at 272 stores throughout Taiwan.  (photos later!)  Brief translation -- Want to know more about USA blueberries?  Ask Doc Blueberry!

What next?  Wellcome was reluctant to promote blueberries at the start of the 2018 season.  They are now bullish!  USHBC sampling programs are almost complete, but the store chain is perpetuating the Doc Blueberry campaign in 272 stores island-wide for the remainder of the season.  Wellcome is promoting USA blueberries proudly in their advertising and social media campaigns and have been asking "how long they can expect supplies from the USA?"  That is a good sign!  Other retailers have noticed and Carrefour also wants to connect their customers to Doc Blueberry and USA food safety!

Congratulations to Blueberry FoodTech Mandy--our "boots on the ground" in Taiwan who has worked tirelessly on this innovative campaign.   

I love when a plan comes together!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Arandanos Azules -- Colombia

In Latin America, things aren't always the way they look.  Check out this new product from Bimbo Bakeries in Colombia.  Bimbo is a big supporter of blueberries everywhere they operate.  That would be South America, Central America, China and the USA and beyond  Yes, this Mexico-based company is the largest baking company in the world!

Take a look at this whole-grain bread with blueberries on the label.  Arádano
 is a word which describes a cranberry.  It's complicated.   In some countries in Latin America, the word arádano is also used to describe a blueberry.   When we started work in Mexico, you would find the word arádano used to describe blueberry.  Eventually some began using the term "Mora Azul", which is even stranger as the word mora is a raspberry.  In this case the word for blueberry was literally a "blue raspberry!"  

Are you confused yet?  Luckily we did not listen to the experts and insisted that a blueberry is a blueberry.   After all imported blueberry products like Smucker's jam have been marketing blueberry jam in the region for decades.    Now the word blueberry is the word for blueberry in most --but not all cases.

Back to the new Bimbo bread.  Our local FoodTech Katia was happy to see the big beautiful blueberry on the package of Vital bread.  She contacted Bimbo Colombia and learned that this product was indeed arádano -- arádano rojos (red) and not arádano azules (blue)!

Bimbo is an excellent company and really a great friend of our industry.   They immediately worked with Katia and a local supplier to get some real blueberries into the Research and Development lab -- pronto.  It is not easy to make a quick change in big-time food processing, but he process of evaluation in under way.

This will become a target for our Real BlueberriesSeal!

Muchas Gracias!

Monday, June 18, 2018

IDDBA-2018 New Orleans

International Dairy Deli & Bakery Association.  That's quite a mouthful.   You got the Natural Products Expo for health foods.  You got the Institute of Food Technologists for big food business.  You got the Fancy Foods Show for gourmet foods.

Here is the Expositon for the up and coming food companies.  These are the innovators who have come up with an idea, have had success and are ready to national and international.

USHBC attends this annual exposition to meet the companies who exhibit.  There are rows of bagels.  An entire hall of cheese.  Trendy items like Middle Eastern dips.  Chips, salsas and my very favorite -- perfect pizzas!   Manufacturers are looking for ingredients that are genuine for the discriminating millennial customer of the future.  They found it at the USHBC booth!

Here are a few interesting images from the IDDBA with a blueberry perspective:

Real Blueberry muffins from Sugar Bowl in San Francisco.   Now use highbush blueberries.

Dried Blueberry Toppings for salads.  We talked blueberries with this company last year!  

Optimal blueberry muffins.  The owner of this bakery was so proud of this beauty!

Hispanic bakery goods.  These are empanadas.   Our next door neighbor.

"Home Style" pastries for the bakery case.  With fewer and fewer trained bakers--wholesalers are filling the void with fresh bake items to stock the case.

Asian foods even sushi with blueberries!

From Tnuva, a leading food processor in Israel -- a filling with 70% blueberries!  We will meet them in Tel Aviv next year.  

Local is important and we sampled delicious fresh blueberries from "up the road" in Mississippi.  Over and over again, attendees came back for fresh blueberries and complimented us on having "something natural!"

Ya'll come back this October!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Overseas Visitors Matter

CEO (right)  and Company Director who is also an expert in ethnobotany and Vietnamese medicinal herbs takes the helm of a blueberry harvester.
Just back from: Shanghai, Vietnam, Oregon and New Orleans.   June is a busy month!  The most enjoyable thing about travel is meeting incredibly interesting people!  While at the Food Ingredient Vietnam Exposition, I hit it off with the CEO of Vietnam's largest dairy.  (Largest private company for that matter).  Of course, "stop in and visit when you get to the USA," I said.  Beam ahead to June 15 and it is "we are here..."  A quick trip to the airport and the closest nearby blueberry grower.  The busy visiting executives carved out three hours for me from their busy schedules!  The grower had been up since 2:00 am with the harvest but graciously accommodated.

My new friend, the Director of Marketing, one of the smartest individuals I have ever met!

Mission Accomplished: Besides talking blueberry -- I met some if the most interesting individuals who are in turn interested in blueberries.   Learned about their country, businesses.  We have new friends in this important market of the future!  Look forward to visit them on their turf later this year.

In this era of Social Networks -- one thing is certain -- Hospitality Matters.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Independence Day HCM City Vietnam

Our FoodTech Hana likes fast bikes (essential to get around HCM City)  She met her match with this brand new Harley at the Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Consulate General of the USA in HCM City!
Happy Independence Day from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  One of the great things about cooperating with the USDA in Vietnam is you get invited to a lot of parties!   The theme: We love America!  Hana is on the circuit and has made some of her best contacts at these US Consulate General events!

Of course a lot of speeches.   It is incredible to see the mutual admiration between Vietnam and the USA!

Everyone gets a "Cowboy" hat.

Postcards From HCM
Hana and importer/distributor of blueberries.  Like the "Blues Brothers shades!

Time for friends in the trade to meet, greet and get silly!

Good night from Vietnam!