What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Saturday, June 2, 2018

India Blueberry Developments 2018!

It is pretty incredible to see blueberries usage in India on the rise.  In 2008 when we began work in India, there were few supermarkets.   Indians had staple foods delivered to their door with an almost "telepathic" ordering system.  Several supermarket chains attempted to break into India.  Almost all failed.   Now in 2018, India has caught up in a hurry.
>The country has maintained its traditional food distribution system with bustling wholesale markets and neighborhood deliveries.  
>Modern grocery chains such as Hyper City, Food Court, Big Bazaar and others have popped up in the affluent suburbs and in areas close to high tech businesses and call centers.  
>High quality foodstuffs for gifting and prestige are on the rise.
>Products for health and beauty continue to evolve from traditional to trendy with companies capitalizing on beauty-associated ingredients like collagen and blueberry.

What does this mean.  The ten years of hard work raising awareness, interest, trial and evaluation has led to acceptance.  Here are some of the latest developments in the past three months of 2018.

The big surprise has been dried blueberries.   Traditionally, dried fruits are marketed in steamy dark wholesale markets or bazaars in the major cities.   For centuries, dried fruit merchants from Kandahar have brought imported goods for sale.  Local kismis (raisins) figs, apricots and other items are sold in burlap sacks.   When we started we were told that dried blueberries were too expensive.   Now they are packed in attractive and costly foil pouches and sold in grocery stores, pharmacies and even movie theatres.   Many are labeled "American."  The Blueberry Real Seal will be on more and more products in the near future.  

India has a "Biscuit" culture from British times.    Afternoon is tea time and a biscuit is a must.  Traiditonally these biscuits have been ines=xpensive and sugary confections, but now more and more Indian companies are adding value with dried blueberries.   They are delicious and exported all over the gulf region.  

Indians have their own natural medicine and health food concepts called Ayurveda.  It is complicated but simply put -- certain foods have specific benefits associated with the Earth's elements.  For centuries, natural remedy shops have operated all over India and specially designed products are mixed and formulated with health and beauty in mind.  They may look like mud, but they are packed with health associated substances like saffron, gold foil and dried fruit pastes.  This year we are seeing the first introduction of blueberries into this realm.  These products are not cheap and per capita consumption of these products remains high.  Even a little blueberry will make a big difference.  Below is another example of a traditional remedy.

For the past ten years, more and more Korean made blueberry cosmetics have ended up in India.   Men and women are interested in skin care and the concept of natural functional ingredients is part of the culture.   Here is an example of one of the many natural cosmetic products launched in India.   This one uses a blueberry see fiber.    We are also seeing blueberry masks similar to the Korean phenomena.

India is a dairy consuming society. The Mother's Dairy and others have some of the largest herds in the world and milk consumption is a daily ritual especially with tea, lassi and other uses.  New flavored versions of milk are now in vogue and we are seeing more and more blueberry flavors.   The key to these developments has been the availability of blueberry-based fruit preparations.   Also new western style yogurts with fruit on the bottom are being developed, imported and marketed across India.

Meet the "Nutty Yogi!"  I was told long ago that Indians did not like breakfast cereals.   But, at the same time they have a snacking culture for grains called "Chicky" as well as multi shaped and textured snack mixes called Namkeen.   Many returning Indians from Europe and North America are consuming imported breakfast cereals, and now we are seeing more and more local products.  Many are placed in bottles or jars to control moisture.

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