What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Food Ingredients Vietnam

The excitement is building for the USHBC participation in the Food Ingredients Vietnam Exposition which will be held May 16-18 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  This is a trade-only event and will bring together food manufacturers and suppliers from throughout the region.  Vietnam has a booming food industry and we will meet some of the largest dairy, candy and baking companies from all over the long country.  Hana, our food technologist in Vietnam has been asked to present a seminar at a beverage conference at  the event!

How are things going in Southeast Asia: Lets take a ride!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Global Pet Expo 2018

So, you did not make it to Global Pet Expo (GPE), 2018 held March 21-23 in Orlando, Florida.  Well, no worry -- check out this video on all of the action.  Blueberries on the labels, in the products and on the minds now of the product developers.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

USA Dried Blueberries - a Hit in India

Raj Kapoor, Our man in Delhi!
Infused dried blueberries are a hit in India!

139,000 kg of infused dried blueberries were legally imported into India in 2017 according to the Fruit and Treenuts Statistics published online by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS)  Screen shots provided as well as the source.  
  • USHBC began market development in India in 2008 when zero were imported.
  • This amounts to 486,000 lbs. of dried blueberries
  • Today at least 25 companies are packing consumer dried blueberries and product is also used in restaurants and foodservice as well as cookie and biscuit manufacturing.
  • It took 1.7 million lbs. of frozen blueberries to produce the dried blueberries which were exported to India. (based on 3.5 to 1)
  • Initially when Raj Kapoor started work on this sector, there was no interest from dried fruit traders.   Now, it is described as hot!
  • Indian packed dried blueberries are now being shipped to countries around the region including the Persian Gulf.
  • Now, one after another -- dry blueberry packers are signing up for use of the real blueberries seal to ensure that the customers know this is authentic.
  • Recently at the Gulfood show in Dubai, I met with dozens of Indian dried blueberry customers and all said they were introduced by Raj!
Congratulations to Raj Kapoor, our man in Delhi for a job well done!

Here is the information from the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service ERS.  They receive their data from US Customs.  Below is the actual screen shot.

Here are some of the actual people who purchase dried blueberries from the USA who were introduced by USHBC! These shots taken at the AAHAR exhibition recently

Monday, April 9, 2018

Beauty and Personal Care New Blueberry Identified or Containing Products 2018

Something is happening here...
Check out the number of new beauty and personal care products around the world which are identified with blueberries!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Food Ingredients China

Food Ingredients China -- FI to all us FoodTechies is the big show of the year in China.  This is a huge country so it is a great opportunity to bring the food manufactures to one place.  The result -- organized chaos.

First off: our Mandy Chen from Taiwan gave an excellent 30 minute seminar to a group of 50 invited by the USDA-Agricultural Trade Office (ATO).  

Next, the exhibit doors open and here is the USHBC booth in the USA pavilion.   Food manufacturers lined up.

This was a very busy week!  We met with some of the leading dairy, baking and snack companies in China and other countries as well.   What's hot?   Ingredient solutions: dried blueberries, freeze dried blueberries, blueberry flakes, blueberry powders, purees, puree concentrates and juice concentrate to name a few.

What's hot?  Ingredients that are ready to use.   We are the ingredient solution!

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's GPE Time Again!

Each year, Blueberry FoodTech attends the World's Fair of Pet Foods in Orlando, Florida -- the Global Pet Expo or as us pet people say -- G P E.

Here is a sneak preview of the many pet-products containing blueberries!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

China Food Technology Seminar

USHBC will participate in a seminar for food manufacturers in Shanghai, China Thursday March 22, 2018.   This is in conjunction with the Food Ingredients China Exposition.   More than 100 attendees are expected from around China.  Mandy Chen will present a 30 minute presentation on Highbush Blueberries for the food industry.

The following is the agenda of the seminar themed “Innovative Application of U.S. Ingredients in Food Processing”. If you have any suggestions for changes, please do let me know as early as possible.

March 22 (Thursday)
Venue: Meeting Room 5-02, NECC

9:00-9:30      Set up and check in
9:30-9:40      Welcome remarks and introduction by Mr. Ryan Scott, ATO Shanghai Director
9:40-10:10    Presentation by Dr. Yi Gong, Consultant for Cranberry Marketing Committee
10:10-10:20   Q &A
10:20-10:50   Presentation by Jing Hagert, Director of Business Development, Milk Specialties Global Ingredients
10:50-11:00   Q&A
11:00-11:30   Presentation by Mandy Chen, Representative of U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
11:30-11:40   Q&A
11:40-11:50   Wrap-up by Mr. Ryan Scott, ATO Shanghai Director 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Back to the Future at Foodex

It seemed like yesterday that NABC team travelled to Japan (1989) on a cigarette smoke filled jet across the Pacific, landing moments after a major earthquake, misplacing our blueberry wine samples in the parking lot of the train station -- and rebounding to start the stir that  drove US blueberries to market success in Japan!

Taoyuan Monkey Mascot greets Visitors

This year, we relived the glory years, and no other than Jack Tomasello of Tomasello Winery in Hammonton New Jersey lugged his new Blueberry Cider 14 hrs on a plane to help promote USA blueberries!

Under Secretary Ted McKinney visits USHBC booth

It was old home week and blueberry customers old and new lined up to visit our USHBC team!

Jersey friends compare notes.

Although we have been around a long time, there is no shortage of enthusiasm for our blueberry promotions, and with new items like blueberry cider and a whole range of new blueberry ingredient solutions -- we are ready to roll!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Raj does AAHAR 2018

Raj with Delight Nuts Team at AAHAR 2018!

Always on the move, our Raj Kapoor in Delhi attends the AAHAR exposition in New Delhi this week.  This is the largest food industry exposition in India.  A few year's back this was no-where's ville for blueberries.  Now, they are all over the event with many of the 900 companies exhibiting carrying frozen and dried items and products made from.  

Here we have Raj working the USDA booth and meeting more "blueberry friends."

More about AAHAR:  The 33rd edition of AAHAR – the International Food and Hospitality Fair was inaugurated by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India on March 13, 2018 at Hall 7 (Lounge), Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.  

The fair will be host to over 900 exhibitors with a wide range of food products, machinery and equipment from India and 18 foreign countries including USA, China, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Oman, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Peru, Norway, Indonesia, Canada, Tunisia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.  

The five-day event will be hosted from March 13-17, 2018 with the support of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority (APEDA) and Association of Resource Companies for Hospitality Industry of India (ARCHII), Hotel and Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (HOTREMAI), All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA), Food & Hospitality Support Association of India (FHSAI), and Forum of Indian Food Importers (FIFI). 

Go get 'em Raj!

Blueberries in Chinese Medicine

Two decades ago, NABC contracted a professor at Wuxi University of Light Industry in East China to conduct secondary research on the Chinese perception of blueberries.   We were surprised that "blue-berries" were listed dozens of times in scientific articles on health and nutrition in Chinese medicine.   The term "blue berry" is a bit different than what we know in North America.    Throughout the far north of China in Heilongjiang province there are huge natural growths of Chinese wild blueberries.   They are normally harvested by hand in the season and utilized in beverages and winemaking.   The same occurs in the border regions of China and North Korea and areas north into the Russian Far East.

Any of you who have tried the traditional Chinese blueberry drinks will attest -- it is strong in flavor.  
Most health citations in China include general information on blueberries for women's health with references to skin care and beauty.  

This love for the medicinal blueberry has led to some interesting developments.

Here is a blueberry offering at a chain of Chinese medicine stores in Hong Kong.  The blueberries are located in the skin care department.

Grab a six pack of blueberry juice from the local convenience store.  This one features 30 percent real blueberry.  

Today, China utilizes its domestic production and has begun to import juices, juice concentrate and puree and puree concentrate.   This will be a very good target for the Real Blueberries
Seal in the future.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Columbia New Blueberry Products!

Our Latin America FoodTech returned from another excellent adventure in Colombia.  What a difference a year makes!   Katia is coordinating the upcoming new products awards which will be held in Bogota in the Fall.   All is set and all we need is new products.   All I can say is WOW!

Check it out!   More to come.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Truenature Blueberry Extract

Thanks to Mandy at the USHBC Folsom office who sent me this interesting link from COSTCO for a blueberry extract.

Below is the link to the product web site.    We have seen a lot of bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus) extracts in the past, but not a lot of "blueberry."   Now that blueberry extracts are produced in the USA, we will see more and more of these products as well as ingredient and cosmaceutical use.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Now this is Real Blueberries™ Optimization

It just keeps getting better and better in Hong Kong where Maxim's bakery continues to promote a full line of blueberry-rich cakes!   This photo above is from one of the hundreds of video billboards in the MRT subway line!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Educating Vietnamese Food Manufacturers

Hana, our Vietnam-based FoodTech representative continues her mission to familiarize her peers with USA blueberries and ingredients.    Already this year, she has attended dozens of meetings, expositions and factory visits to get to know the target audience.

What we learned is -- Real Blueberriesare top of mind!   In Vietnamese food culture, authenticity is everything.   Everyone knows the best pungent "Saigon cinnamon" black peppers from Quan Tri and highland fruits from Da Lat.

One question -- again and again -- how do we know blueberries are real?   Evidently, over the past decades, a number of products have hit the Vietnam market labeled as "blueberry."   Customers know what a fresh blueberry should look like, but when it comes to a flavored milk, muffin or bar -- who knows?

With this in mind, Hana is promoting the Real Blueberries Seal front and center.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Big Time at AFFI in Vegas

Each year, USHBC hosts a booth at the hub area of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI).   The main purpose is to meet up with industry attendees.   It is a great time for all and becomes the blueberry meeting point for all.  This year, we served blueberry cider which was a hit!  
Lots of old blueberry friends old and new.  We had a chance to discuss market development, new ingredients, new products, new markets and all things blueberry!

Continual action in front of the USHBC booth at the AFFI Hub which is the main registration area.

Monday, March 5, 2018

New Tech Brochure

Check out the latest version of the US Highbush Blueberry Technical Brochure.   Better yet -- send me a note: tpayne@tjpmd.com and I will send you a hard copy or copies!

USHBC Tech Brochure

USHBC Format Sheet

When I first started work with the Cultivated Blueberry Group or what we called: C B G -- the first assignment was to develop a single source of information on our product.  At that time, this included fresh, frozen, purees and fillings as well as a new item called: cried blueberries!

Since then -- a lot has changed.   The four page tech brochure is a good item to give your customers and sellers in the field.  The insert with various formats is designed to be a work in progress and we will change, alter as we go to keep up with the new ingredient solution offerings of the highbush blueberry industry.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dubai in 1 min 32 seconds

So, for those of you on the other side of the planet.  Here is a view of blueberry progress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  I remember my first journey when just a very few items could be located.  Take the 1.32 min spin!

Making Things Happen in India!

In 2015 when USHBC made it's first visit to India there were few if any locally made blueberry products.   Almost nobody knew anything about blueberries -- in fact some thought blue colored berries were poison.  Even Indo-Canadians and Americans told us getting blueberries to India was a hopeless cause.

Things have really changed.  How did it happen?  A lot of hard work, train rides, factory visits, seminars and exhibitions in all of the regions of India.   This is an all out campaign to meet, connect and raise:

Trial/Evaluation of US blueberries and blueberry products.

Beam ahead to 2017.

USHBC with the "Blueberry Raj" have met with just about all of the companies in this video.   It involved in -the-field action -- meetings, sampling and followup, followup followup.  These are not meetings by a quick stop trade mission from the USA, but initial contacts and introductions, sampling followup, trials and work to acceptance.

And things have happened.  Each colored bar on the above Mintel Product Chart can be traced to USHBC activities in India.

And activities such as the Real Blueberries
Seal will keep the momentum going!

We are just getting started!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Real Blueberries™ for the Gulf!

Good morning Dubai!  The excitement is building for the start of the Gulfood Exposition which will run from February 11-22.  The big news which will be unveiled at the meeting of the Gulf Purchasers Management Forum (GPMF) will be the regional product launch of "Just Berry" a 1kg foodservice pack for hotels, restaurants and smoothie outlets.

Until now, frozen berries have been a rarity in the region where the outside temperatures are often in double digits.  It is 90F on this beautiful February day in Dubai!

Now this USA product, packed in India by Anusaya Fresh the bill!

Note the identification of the Real Blueberries Seal on the pack.   The seal has become popular with packaged goods users in India, and now the Gulf region.   Daily companies are signing up for use of this beautiful and Gulf Region) culturally acceptable logo.  This product is all American and sure to be a hit in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Beam back five years:  USHBC worked with Anusaya Fresh in Mumbai on importation and distribution of frozen blueberries through the USDA-FAS Quality Samples Program (QSP).  At that time frozen blueberries were almost non-existent in India.   Now Anusaya and others are successfully marketing frozen blueberries all over the country and now the Gulf.

Prior to the QSP program -- India imported zero kg of frozen blueberries.    As of November 2017, India has imported 171,000 kg (377,000 lbs).  This accounts for more than $250,000 in new business for USA blueberry packers to the most improbable market on earth.

Note: India also imports more than 110,000 kg (242,000 lbs) of dried infused blueberries and much of this has gone to fill consumer packs -- also utilizing the USHBC Real™  Blueberries Seal.  This amounted to another $445,000 in new business.   Some of the consumer packs are carrying the USHBC Real™  Blueberries Seal and the queue is lining up for more!  In the last few years since we introduced dried blueberries to India, there have been imposters and now the USHBC Real™  Blueberries Seal has helped remove or renew some of the confusing analogs!

Raj Kapoor, our Indian FoodTech has made the initial contacts, folllowup and numerous night train factory visits, exhibitions and seminars to engineer these new developments.

Let's all salute the Blueberry Raj of India!

Note:  all statistics noted in this post can be verified at the USDA-Economic Research Service Fruit and Treenuts Statistics web portal.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Over the Pole to Gulfoods - Dubai

On the way to the largest food exposition in the Middle East: Gulfood.  (February 18 to 22, 11 to 7 pm daily!)

Ever wonder how fresh blueberries and or the blueberry guy get to Dubai:

The highlight besides seeing the magnificent northern lights over the Arctic -- was the blueberry pastries.  I am told they had fresh blueberries served in the upper deck which on these Airbus 320 aircraft -- is like a flying 5 star hotel!

Emirates was the first airline to fly non-stop from the West Coast to Middle East.   Now these airlines are important linkages for fresh blueberries to this booming region.

Friday, February 9, 2018

LOHAS - Big Time Market in Hong Kong

You have certainly heard the term: LOHAS.

Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability.

In Hong Kong where 7 million inhabit one of the most densely places on earth -- LOHAS is a dream.  Pursuit of LOHAS food has become part of a lifestyle and a natural place for blueberry consumption and product development.

Welcome to LOHAS EXPO 2018 -- Hong Kong.   Enjoy the Ride!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hana visits Hanoi for USDA-APHIS Grand Opening

February 5, 2018 was a great day in the Vietnamese capital city of Ha Noi.  USHBC-APHIS.  The government agency that protects American agriculture at home and opens markets abroad -- opened a new office in Vietnam.  This is a big step for our country and recognizes the importance of Vietnam as a trade partner.  USHBC/NABC  are currently working through APHIS to obtain market access for fresh blueberries.   Our Hana from HCM City in the south traveled to the opening ceremonies and also participated in meetings with APHIS and other US and Vietnamese government officials.   All were delighted to see that USHBC is on ground in Vietnam to promote sales of blueberries.   Currently processed blueberries such as frozen, dried, purees and concentrates are used in the regional food industry.   Fresh also makes it to market, but we see a boom when the market is eventually opened.

Here are some more photos:

APHIS officials from USA and Vietnam as well as US Embassy officials participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new office in Ha Noi.

Here is Hana on the far left along with a group of Vietnam businesspersons at a reception.

Hana made sure that all of the officials knew that USA blueberries are on the move and on the ground in Vietnam!  She reminded all of the importance of market access for fresh blueberries to our growers back home.  They listened!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

North Carolina Blueberry Moonshine

Ten years ago, Dr. Mike Mainland of North Carolina State University handed me a jar of Junior Johnston's Midnight Moon -- Blueberry Moonshine.   This is a legal moonshine bottled at 100 proof, 50% by alcohol volume.   The term "moonshine" is a term for a high proof distilled spirit which has been produced without government authorization or taxation.  Today production of these spirits has been legalized in a number of counties and is a legitimate business.  

As all of you south of the Mason-Dixon line know -- Junior Johnson is a legendary stock car driver -- with "nine lives" as they say in the business.  He honed his fast driving skills in the adult-beverage transportation business.  They call it "Moonshine Running."

Here is the jar of Junior's best. And thank you Mike!

Few family recipes carry a jail sentence.  But, to Junior Johnson's family, it was a way of life.  With the law on his heels, Junior ran the finest moonshine to the dry rural south.  Midnight Moon follows the Johnson family, small batch recipe.  It is proudly made with our very own hands and crafted with all natural blueberries!  

Tom's comment: Sometimes moonshine is pretty harsh.   Definitely strong and flammable!  Keep away from open flames!  The blueberry flavor really came through.   Time to order another jar!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Great Tasting Real Blueberry Cider

Jack and Charlie at Tomasello Winery in Hammonton, New Jersey have done it again.   This fourth-generation winemaking family and blueberry booster from Hammonton, New Jersey offer a wide line of excellent fruit wines including dry and sweet, 100% Blueberry Wines, Sparkling Blueberry Wine, Blueberry Forte' (like a port) and now:  Artisan Orchard Tomasello 4th Generation Blueberry Cider.

Jack sent me a bottle of this wonderful blueberry rich cider.  It contains a lot of blueberry juice and a great flavor!  The alcohol content is 5.7% by volume and I especially like the 22 oz bottle which lasted a whole Super Bowl Sunday!

To Jack at Tomasello Winery, keep 'em coming and we look forward to a Korean Style Blueberry Soju in the future!

Tomasello Winery