What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blueberries in Trade Publicity

Here is a good example of the effectiveness of the USHBC Food Tech  campaign at keeping the health message resonating in the food industry trade press.

The following article is from the buyers guide for the Prepared Foods magazine Nutrasolutions Guide.

This is read by product developers around the world who are looking for functional ingredients healthy products.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More Frozen Blue berry Action in Korea

Here is what's up at the Guro store in Metropolitan Seoul.  Note the huge freezer space dedicated to frozen blueberries!  Temperatures outside hover blow 32F in the daytime!   Will frozen blueberries become a Korean Christmas Tradition?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Frozen Blueberry Month In Korea

The fresh blueberry import season ended in August and now USHBC is promoting frozen polybag blueberries in supermarkets throughout South Korea.  Here are some shots of the action at the Gayang E-mart in Seoul.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

USHBC Attends Cosmetic Chemists Conference

Each year thousands of product developers from the cosmetic industry attend the annual conference of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) in New York City.  This includes staff from Loreal, Lancome, Este Lauder and others.

Mission: talk up real blueberry ingredients in mainstream cosmetics.

The big topics:

  • Sun screens
  • Natural ingredients including colors
  • Personalized cosmetics
  • Men's cosmetics
Everyone was talking about natural ingredients, and there were discussions on African botanicals such as Bao Bop!

Blueberries use in cosmetics is attracting attention.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Taiwan Bakery Seminar Success

Master Pastry Chef John Hui of the Lodge at Pebble Beach wowed the Taiwan bakery community last month with his  artisan bakery demonstration.
At the end, the USDA-Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Taipei queried attendees on their opinions of the demo!   US Blueberries were voted the ingredient which they were most likely to use after the seminar!
Great job Chef John and thanks to ATO Taipei!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

USHBC Hosts Taiwan Chef Team

Taiwan, Republic of China is a major market for fresh, frozen and processed blueberries.  From zero back in 2000 -- this loyal customer country has been a laboratory for USHBC Asian market development with successful fresh, food technology and food service promotions year to year.

On January 3, 2016 the winners of the "Millie Award" at the recent United Tastes of America Culinary competition will visit the USA for a week of training and blueberry familiarization with Master Pastry Chef John Hui of the lodge of Pebble Beach, California.

USHBC is very grateful to all of the cooperation and loyalty we have received from the Taiwanese trade and this activity is a small gesture of thanks and investment in market development.

The Taiwan chefs will return home to preach the blueberry message in the Taiwan food business.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

China Retailers Visit Southern California Blueberry Farm

Ten Chinese grocery and online marketers visited USA blueberries on November 24 and saw one of the most unique and beautiful farms in the world!   Thanks to Bill Steed and his crew at Fairfield Farms in Pauma Valley, San Diego California for the wonderful tour and sharing of knowledge.   The visitors included some of the top grocery chains in China from Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai Chongqing and other major cities.   All are anxious for the opportunity to import fresh blueberries from the USA and this familiarization visit sponsored by the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program gave them a unique opportunity to see first hand!

Bill Steed shows group his
blueberry farm with solar electricity generation facility in background.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Millie Award!

The Taipei Contest was held in honor of our long time Taiwan Representative Millie Hsia who was always known as "Blueberry Millie" by her peers.

Here is Millie's daughter Mandy who is carrying on the family blueberry tradition!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Interesting dishes!

Above: Chefs look at their day's work!

Below: This one lost something in the translation!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ingredient Seminar Taiwan

While Chef John Hui was in Taiwan, he cooperated with the USDA Agricultural Trade Office to conduct a seminar for local bakers.  It was a full house at the KaiPing Culinary School in Taipei and attendees learned how to make blueberry cheesecakes, health bars with dried blueberries.  He concluded the days event with an exciting pulled sugar art demo!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More from the Taipei Contest

Here is the team behind the scenes at the United Tastes of America Competition in Taipei!


From Left to right:
Kathrine Lee, ATO office, Mandy Chen (USHBC-Taiwan), Sue-Sun Wong, Consultant to USHBC Taiwan, Mark Ford, ATO Taipei.

United Tastes of America Chef Challenge! Taipei Round!

The USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Asia are conducting the annual Chef Challenge.  The concept:  several of the regional Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) in the region are in the process of hosting country culinary contests.   Teams from hotels and restaurants compete in a one day competition.  The winning team goes to the finals in Tokyo in the Spring.

This year, USHBC became sponsored sponsor of the Taiwan competition and participated in the event.   Frozen blueberries were part of the "black box" of ingredients used by the culinary teams.

Here are some photos from the event.

Chef Judges meet in advance of the competition.   On right is our very own Chef John Hui of the Lodge at Pebble Beach who is a big blueberry booster and friend of our industry!

Judges work with the chefs.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

USA Grown and Processed - Blueberry Extract!

Now this is big news!!!
For years there have been blueberry and bilberry extracts for sale.  Most, if not all are made from European bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus).
Here is a wonderful new product from Futureceutical -- Van Drunen Farms of Momence Illinois.   Van Drunen has been a pioneer in the nutraceuticals area (functional food).   This offering will gobble up a lot of blueberries and give buyers at home and abroad a safe choice of USA blueberries!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Still More from the California School Conference!

Random ET Sightings at the CSNA conference.

Here is an example of a "commodity processor."  Turns frozen blueberries, commodity butter and wheat into McDonalds style fruit pies.

Suppliers provide great gimmicks like this boogie board and skateboard to schools for promotions.

100 percent juice "slushies!"

Sunday, November 8, 2015

More from the California School Foodservice Meeting!

Here are some views of companies selling to the school districts!

Healthy smoothies!

Hooray for fresh blueberries!   

Pizza companies galore!

Kids love frozen yogurt.  Notice all of the health messages on the sign!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Feeding the Kids!

USHBC attended and exhibited at the California School Nutrition Association meeting in Ontario, California (CSNA).   This is the organization which brings together school district managers and workers as well as suppliers and potential suppliers.    (photo: Area 51, Startrek theme for CNSA Meeting, Ontario!   October 5-7, 2015)

  • The blueberry industry participates in what is called USDA Foods which is a system where good-for-you ingredients such as blueberries are purchased by the USDA and distributed to individual states such as California.

  • School districts can receive these blueberries through the state and can use integrate frozen blueberries into items served in the schools.   Amazing what these school districts can do with frozen blueberries.   A number are making smoothies, yogurt parfaits and muffins
  • (Photo above = Action at USHBC booth).   
  • A relatively new option for larger districts is to source finished goods from what is called the Commodity Processing channel.   USHBC is a member and participant in an organization called the American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA).   Large school districts can "divert" shipments of ingredients such as frozen blueberries to approved commodity processors who are either specialized bakeries, dairy, snack and other category companies.   Also, some of the leading major multinational companies operate commodity processing activities to take advantage of their processing capacity to serve the schools.   The concept: companies sell the finished products back to the schools minus the cost of the ingredients and this results in great cost saving for the schools.
  • A brand new concept is the sourcing of fresh produce into the school systems.   The product is sourced through the Department of Defense channels (DOD).School districts and individual schools are also sourcing produce including blueberries from local growers and farmers markets.
What better way to introduce our future customers to blueberries!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Ultimate Blueberry Spread

You know it is a great product when the blueberries are the first ingredient!  This product was introduced in Spain and is attracting a lot of attention around the region!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Americas Food Show

Here is a photo of the America's Food Show in Miami!  Note the exhibitors from all over the region and the globe.   This year 1/3 of the show was comprised of a huge Algerian pavilion.   (don't ask me why?)  Besides attendees, USHBC was able to meet with exhibitors from dozens of countries who produce products in places such as Trinidad, Brazil, Jamaica and others.

Getting Ready for China!

The China market for fresh blueberries is the "Sierra Madre" of the Blueberry world.   China does grow blueberries and not enough to serve the market.   USHBC is currently working with our partners at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) who are working on our behalf to help open the Chinese market to US blueberries.    We are providing the background information and rationale, and APHIS is negotiating directly with their counterparts in China called AQSIQ.

In advance of meetings we provided documentation:

>Currently most Chinese produced blueberries are produced in June-August and with imports from the Southern Hemisphere, there are major market gaps when Chinese grocery chains  not supplied.
>Even during the peak periods of local production, supply of fresh blueberries has not met demand.

We are looking for a win-win situation and everyone will win when US fresh blueberries enter the Chinese market.

Latin America Markets Develop!

USHBC has paid attention to our neighbors to the south with fresh and processed promotions and exhibitions.  This region known as the Caribbean Basin included the big countries of Mexico and Brazil, but also dozens of smaller countries and island nations.   Dominican Republic = 10.4 million
Costa Rica = 4.8 million.  Trinidad and Tobago = 1.3 million.   Besides the local populations -- these nations all have active tourism businesses.   Miami is the central supply center for these countries and since most import just about all of their needs -- the major importers, grocers and food processors on these islands will work with consolidators who buy and warehouse and ship.   These little markets combined do add up!  We estimate more than 4 million lbs of US blueberries to the Caribbean Island Region alone!   We see further growth in Central America with countries like Costa Rica, Colombia and and others developing strong food industries and growing interest in blueberries.

Latin America does matter and here are the current statistics:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

USHBC Meets Latin America

This week, USHBC is participating in the Americas Food Show in Miami.  This includes all of the Americas from Brazil to the Caribbean islands.   Here, USBC Brazil representative Katia Miura meets with a Brazilian manufacturer.