What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Chennai US Blueberry Roadshow

Chennai Roadshow Team: USDA-USHBC!
In the field Action - Chennai, Tamil Nadu. USHBC continually takes the highbush blueberry message to the widespread regions of India.  This month we participated in a "Roadshow" event sponsored by the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) India.  Over the past years, they have been extremely helpful with events such as this. Chennai is especially important as it is a trendsetting South-Indian region which is always on the leading edge of food product innovations.

Welcome to the Chennai Roadshow!

Local Connections. Raj talks dried blueberries with visitors from the local trade.  The gentleman with the Real Seal on his shirt is a sales person from a company who is rolling out frozen blueberries in the region.  We always link our activities with local suppliers, as most food companies are not able to export full loads directly.   Currently we have a solid local list of around 50 supplier companies who actively participate with USHBC activities,
Blueberry Ice Cream Sampling.  Ms. Jeanne F. Bailey, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs and  Adam Branson, Senior Agricultural Attaché for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in India. FAS has been extremely helpful to USHBC for the past decade!
Blueberry Innovators!  Mr. K. Thrinath Kumar of Ajantha KTK products in Chennai proudly featured his launched 50Gram pack of dried US blueberries at the event!  It is very important to have local connections.

The Future. Food Science and Technology students from a local university attend and check out the blueberry booth.   We welcome the students as they are the future customers!

New Product Introduction!   We invited a local innovator firm called Berrylicious to share out booth.  This company from the neighbor State of Karnataka is a leader in this region of innovation.   The company is from Bengaluru which was formerly called Bangalore.  This city is known as one of the "Silicon Valleys" of South India.





Meet the new "Super Chef."  Johnathan of the Hotel Taj, Chennai.  USHBC participated in a chef seminar where a local celebrity chef demonstrated items containing blueberries.  It's all about entertainment to get the attention and awareness!   This fellow did a great job!  I especially admired the way he talked down a rude fellow in the audience who continually talked with his buddy.  (midway through the video)











Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SIAL China Update

USHBC exhibited at the recent SIAL China Exposition May 16-18 2018 in Shanghai.  The big news-- six USA blueberry firms were present!  Julia and Mandy staffed the booth and delivered decades of blueberry experience to the attendees!

We had a great booth location and lots of interest.

Here are some of the excellent USA products shown at the SIAL China!

Freeze dried blueberries


 Attractive packaging.  Lan Mei is the Chinese word for blueberry.

 Whole blueberries!  Made in the USA label!

Graceland fruit is available all over China through internet sales

Here is an example of USA origin branding!

One big bag, with small inside bags.  


Take Away: Dried blueberries are hot!



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hana's excellent visit to the Mall of Asia Manila

Hana is ready to shop!

Store Check Time - Manila:  One of Hana's tasks in her Philippine visit is to check out the stores, look for blueberry products and opportunities.   Now here we are at the SM Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping malls in the world!   If you are wondering what SM stands for -- it is "Shoe Mart."  Started out as a shoe shop and now one of the largest retailers in the Philippines!
One of the largest malls in the world and they are in many cities of the Philippines.


>600 shops
>200 restaurants
>at least 500 mascots!




Here is a quick view of the SM hyperstore.  Normally we can get some photos and video, but Hana learned immediately that this could be difficult.  As she said -- all of the guards were carrying machine guns (AK-47s to be exact).   In the Philippines -- wherever there is money, there are armed guards!




What we see: 
>Filipinos love sweets.  You will find jams, jellies and blueberry sweets.  In fact one buyer told us they wanted to see more sweetness in our dried blueberries.  I have never heard this before!
>Most stores have refrigerated produce sections and fresh blueberries can be found from time to time
>Foodservice is massive.  Filipinos like to eat outside of the home.




Mascot Parade!   We have discovered Mascot Paradise.  Never have we seen so many mascots on parade.   Each of the shops and restaurants has a mascot including the Giant blue Elephant mascot of the SM.
Here is an amazing video of the 2018 Mascot Parade.   Take away -- Bring on Blue-Me!!!
(Make sure to skip the ad and go right to the Mascot Parade video link below)

Mall of Asia Mascot Parade

Monday, May 28, 2018

Myanmar - Southeast Asia's Fastest Growing Market


Myanmar - Asia's Fastest Growing Market.  
As the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, Myanmar continues to experience widespread development and is now at the forefront of business plans for international exporters from around the world. The remarkable recent expansion seen in Myanmar’s tourism, retail, hospitality and F&B industries means there is more demand than ever for exporters to focus on their export plans in The Golden Land.

With a forecast GDP growth of over 7% for the next 3 years, and a median age of just 27 years old Myanmar offers a huge number of opportunities to companies focusing on the market now. Continued growth means that the people of Myanmar have more disposable income, which in turn has meant increased demand for restaurants, fast food outlets, coffee shops and bakeries. The young population are educated, tech-savvy and well informed about international cuisine, and eager to see even more international food and beverage products and brands.

Tourism is also a key factor of Myanmar’s forecast growth, as the country sees continued development in its airports, travel infrastructure and hotels in order to accommodate an ever-increasing demand from international arrivals. A result of this is even more international flavors bring brought into Myanmar, and of course a huge injection of outside investment.  

Immediate Action!
Our Southeast Asian FoodTech Hana will visit the upcoming Food and Hotel Myanmar exposition in June to survey the market and make contacts.   We anticipate launching a market assessment and other activities in the new year.  This could be interesting!


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ingredient Evolution - India!

Oops!  Wrong Raj Kapoor
Here is the presentation which Raj Kapoor will give to 100 food manufacturers in Chennai this weekend.  We will also have a super chef giving a demonstration on the perfect blueberry muffin!

Good morning, and welcome to the US Highbush Blueberry Council presentation  The USHBC represents 3,500 blueberry growers in 33 states.  Our mission: to build demand for highbush blueberries.   This includes; research – health, production and marketing; conducting market development activities for consumer, foodservice and food industry.   We also have worked for two decades on building the market for fresh, frozen and further processed blueberries.
Elizabeth White’s dream resulted in the global business .  Today highbush blueberries are produced in more than 38 blueberry states in the USA and two provinces of Canada.  They are also produced in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia.  All of the highbush blueberry varieties produced now in China are a result of Elizabeth White’s work a century ago. 

It all began in 1916 when the first highbush blueberries were brought to market after extensive research and development by USDA Scientist Frederick Coville and Farmer Elizabeth White.   Before this time, highbush blueberries were found only in the forest and took great efforts to obtain and hand pick.   Coville and White experimented and learned how to cultivate the forest blueberries.  Elizabeth gave a bounty to hunters in the area who could bring back big beautiful blueberries for cultivation.   In 1916 Elizabeth’s dream came true and highbush blueberries were shipped to markets.   



Here is a modern blueberry field today in New Jersey.  The berries on the left are from the Pacific Northwest at a farm of the Berry King, who I have personally visited.  Note the high yields of big beautiful blueberries that are on the bushes.  They grow well because of the forest like acidic soils, perfect spacing which allows for mechanical harvesting.  China lacks acidic soils and organic matter necessary to produce large scale blueberry plantations in much of the country.

Here is the general overview of the health benefits: they are low in fat, a good source of fiber, packed with vitamin C  which helps collagen formation and are an excellent source of Manganese which play an important role in bone development and in converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.

Here are the major research areas being pursued at this time including cardiovascular health, brain health, insulin response and cancer research.   Keep tuned to the USHBC web site for more information.

Now to formats.  This is my area of expertise as a food scientist.   Here is a view of the main formats used in the world food industry.   Frozen is a mainstay in the production of jams, jellies and bakery products, fillings and sauces.  Frozen blueberries come in individually quick frozen form where individual berries are required.  They are sized as well to meet product specifications.   Another form is case frozen which is – as the name implies – frozen in the case.  This product is used often in making jams jellies and sauces for yogurts and ice creams.  Next we have purees and puree concentrates.  This is the form that is used most often in dairy applications.  Juice Concentrate is a 65 Brix normally and now there are 70 brix which are shelf stable.  This is the main product used in fruit juices.   Dehydrated blueberries are a major market segment in Asia.   The main product is a sugar-infused dried blueberry which is about 15-18 percent moisture.   Apple juice infused are also available.  It takes about 3.5 kg of frozen or fresh blueberries to make one kg of dried.   Natural, non-infused dried blueberries are also available as well as freeze dried and microwave dried blueberries.   A new area includes diced, sized and “Crumbled” blueberries which work well where smaller size is important.  Finally, we have a booming new category that is certainly of interest to India– powders, fibers and pomace.   Powder is made from milled freeze dried blueberries and contains the whole berry.   Blueberry pomace which is the by product of juice pressing and puree making – is used to further dry to make fiber and also for extraction of pigments.    This is a huge business in Asia and more and more product is available in the future.


Now what is next.  You saw from my bio that I am working on combat rations for the armed forces and also space foods for NASA.   Check out the photo on the right – ae there already blueberries on Mars.  Just a joke.

Blueberry product development is rising all over Asia.  We have technical resources all in place in several countries including India.

We believe that India and other countries in the region will continue to appreciate blueberries and the new product statistics are impressive.

We have seen impressive growth of US blueberry imports to India -- especially with dried and frozen product.

Video of new products - Below

Here is the first nationwide frozen polybag -- note the Real Seal!

You know your product is a success when you get Mr. Bollywood to endorse!

Throughout Asia, a major demand determinant is a consumer perceived attachment to beauty and skin care.



One problem we have with success is that others will imitate.  This is why the Real Seal is so important.  If you have a blueberry containing product -- tell the world that it is real.

Here is our advertisement back in the USA!

Here is where to reach me!  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hana Goes to Manila


Mabuhay from Manila.  Southeast Asian dynamo Hana is on the move this week to the Sunny Islands of the Philippines.  She is attending the IFEX exhibition in Manila and meeting with local importers, suppliers and end users of blueberries.  The Philippines has a massive food industry and more and more companies are connecting for blueberries.
IFEC 2018

Hana makes a new friend in the Philippine food industry

Some initial observations:

>Filipinos like it sweet!  The Philippines are a major sugar producing country and they like their products sweet.  They love the sugar infused dried blueberries.

>The Philippines are a vast country and food manufacturing is spread out all over the hundreds of islands.

>Best prospects so far are for dried and case frozen blueberries for jams and jellies.  

>Filipino foodservice brands are spread out all over Asia with Jollybee, Chow King and others growing in popularity and are even found in the USA.

Go get 'em Hana!









Friday, May 25, 2018

Seminar Tamil Nadu

The red spots are bettlenut juice -- a local favorite!

Just in case you happen to be in South India on May 28, stop in and attend a USHBC seminar in Chennai.  The event sponsored by the USDA in Mumbai, this event will bring in food processors from all over the booming province of 68 million.   The ever-popular Raj Kapoor will wow the crowd with his blueberry magic and serve Blueberry Dosai!


Each month Raj visits food processors in his home in Delhi and to regions all over India.  The Southern states have developing food industries and home of many of the largest food companies in all of India.






Thursday, May 24, 2018

QR Code Instore connects with Doc Blueberry and Friends

Wow!  It works.  Here is the QR code which Taiwanese shoppers see when they visit the fresh blueberry space at their local Jason's or Wellcome!   Pull out the smart phone and scan and you are immediately linked to the USHBC Taiwan website and a greeting from our very own Doc Blueberry, Wei Yang of Oregon State University.  


Wei tells the customer about the great are we take in the USA to ensure that our blueberries are safe as well as sweet!   Doc Blueberry is a celebrity of sorts in Greater China.   He is the inventor of the name Chinese apply to blueberries -- "Lan Mei!"

蓝 莓

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Retail Promotion Taiwan

We are off and running in Taiwan to promote USA fresh blueberries!   Check out week # 1 at Jason's Marketplace.